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Unformatted text preview: hecking these tables. Soon he became dissatisfied and exasperated with this type of
monotonous job. The result was that he started thinking to build a machine, which could
compute tables guaranteed to be error-free. In this process, Babbage designed a
"Difference Engine" in the year 1822 which could produce reliable tables. In 1842,
Babbage came out with his new idea of Analytical Engine that was intended to be
completely automatic. It was to be capable of performing the basic arithmetic functions
for any mathematical problem and it was to do so at an average speed of 60 additions per
minute. Unfortunately, he was unable to produce a working model of this machine
mainly because the precision engineering required to manufacture the machine was not
available during that period. However, his efforts established a number of principles,
which have been shown to be fundamental to the design of any digital computer. In order
to have a better idea of the evolution of computers, let us now briefly discuss about some
of the well-known early computers. These are as follows:
1. The Mark I Computer (1937-44). Also known as Automatic Sequence Controlled
calculator, this was the first fully automatic calculating machine designed by Howard A.
Aiken of Harvard University in collaboration with IBM (International Business
Machines) Corporation. Its design was based on the techniques already developed for
punched card machinery.
Although this machine proved to be extremely reliable, it was very complex in design
and huge in size. It used over 3000 electrically actuated switches to control its operations
and was approximately 50 feet long and 8 feet high. It was capable of performing five
basic arithmetic operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and table
reference. A number as big as 23 decimal digits could be used in this machine. It took
approximately 0.3 second to add two numbers and 4.5 seconds for multiplication of two
numbers. Hence, the machine was very slow as...
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This document was uploaded on 04/07/2014.
- Spring '14