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Paper Four A Computer History Webquest by Ivette Collado, Aricka Mitchell, Celita Mitchell, Laurelynn Morrison-Young, and Monique Paramore EDL 550 50631 Electronic Tools for Educational Leaders Nova Southeastern University July 27, 2014
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Introduction Computers have undertaken major transformations every decade beginning in the 1940s. It is rather remarkable how computers have developed over the past five generations. With computer usage taking place every second of everyday, technology has become a key component of our lives. It is important to fully understand the progressive process and the advancements that have occurred in the computer’s development to gain a better appreciation for technology. The following paper describes this process. A Brief History of Computers Computer Hope (2014) proposes that the term "computer" was first used in 1613. The term "computer" was originally used to describe a person who performed computations. This definition for the term was used up until the end of the 19th century. At this point, “computer” was then defined as a machine that performed calculations. In 1617, a device called “Napier’s Bones” was introduced by John Napier. It was composed of ivory and bones and was used to add, subtract, and multiply (Computer Hope, 2014). Following Napier’s design, Wilhelm Schickard invented the first mechanical calculator in 1623. More changes were made during the 1700s with Gabriel Fahrenheit creating the Fahrenheit standard in 1724, “punch cards” being used in fabric looms in 1725, and Benjamin Franklin capturing an electrical charge of lightening in 1752 (Computer Hope, 2014). In addition, Claude Chappe created an early form of a telegraph, called the semaphore in 1792 (Computer Hope, 2014). Charles Babbage invented the first automatic computing device in 1822. It was called the difference engine and was able to make calculations using several numbers and make copies. In 1837, Babbage created the first mechanical computer called the Analytical Engine. Due to funding issues, Babbage was unable to finish building the machine before he passed away.
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However, his son finished it in 1910 (Computer Hope, 2014). In 1936, Conrad Zuse created the Z1, a digital binary machine controlled through a punch tape (Computer Hope, 2014). During the same year, the Turing machine was created by Alan Turing and serves as one of the first concepts of what we know as today’s computer. The machine was able to print symbols on paper. The Five Generations of Computers Computers’ evolution has spanned so many years that it became necessary to divide the time into segments where the advances would more readily identified and organized. The segments of time have been divided into five generations where “each generation is defined by a significant technological development that changes fundamentally how computers operate – leading to more compact, less expensive machines…” (Burns, n.d.).
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