Научная электронная библиотека
Монографии, изданные в издательстве Российской Академии Естествознания

Unit 2. HISTORY OF COMPUTERS

WARM-UP

1. Who invented the first computer?

2. When did it happen?

3. Can we say that we are in the middle of the history of computer development?

SPEAKING ACTIVITIES

«Who invented the computer» is not a question with a simple answer. The answer is that many inventors contributed to the history of computers and that a computer is a complex piece of machinery made up of many parts, each of which can be considered a separate invention.

1. Look through the table. It covers some of the major milestones in computer history. Study the table and find some extra facts on computer history surfing suggested online resources. Then present your report in class using the phrases in the LANGUAGE BOX to help you.

Table 1. Computer history

Years

Inventors and inventions

Description

1936

Konrad Zuse, Z1 Computer

First freely programmable computer

1944

Howard Aiken & Grace HopperHarvard Mark I Computer

Performed calculations including addition, subtraction, multiplication

1946

John Presper Eckert & John W. Mauchly, ENIAC I Computer

20,000 vacuum tubes later...

1948

Tom Kilburn

Manchester Baby Computer & The Williams Tube

Baby and the Williams Tube used a stored program

1947/48

John Bardeen, Walter Brattain & Wiliam Shockley

The Transistor

Transistor is not a computer, but this invention greatly affected the history of computers

1951

John Presper Eckert & John W. Mauchly, UNIVAC Computer

First commercial computer able to do complex computations

1953

IBM

IBM 701 EDPM Computer

Storage tubes for memory and magnetic tape to store information

1954

John Backus & IBM

FORTRAN Computer Programming
Language

First successful high level programming language

1958

Jack Kilby & Robert Noyce

Integrated Circuit

Otherwise known as chip

1962

Steve Russell & MIT

Spacewar Computer Game

First computer game

1954

Douglas Engelbart,

Computer Mouse & Windows

Interactive, user-friendly information access systems

1969

ARPAnet

Original Internet

1970

Intel 1103 Computer Memory

World first available dynamic
RAM chip

1971

Faggin, Hoff & Mazor

Intel 4004 Computer Microprocessor

First microprocessor

1971

Alan Shugart & IBM, Floppy Disk

Nicknamed floppy for its flexibility.

1973

Robert Metcalfe & XeroxThe Ethernet Computer Networking

Networking

1974/75

Scelbi & Mark-8 Altair & IBM 5100

First consumer computers

1979

Rob Barnaby, WordStar Software

Word Processors

1981

IBM PC

Personal computer revolution

1981

MS-DOS Computer Operating System

Operating system of the century

1983

Apple Lisa Computer

First home computer with a GUI, graphical user interface.

1984

Apple Macintosh Computer

More affordable home computer with a GUI

1985

Microsoft Windows

Microsoft begins a friendly war with Apple

1991

WWW

First Web server

 

To be continued

 

Suggested online resources:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v = iK0PT5q7GlE&feature = related

http://inventors.about.com/library/blcoindex.htm

http://www.historyofthings.com/history-of-computers

http://www.computerhistory.org/

http://www.ideafinder.com/history/category/computing.htm

http://www.compustory.com/

http://www.hpmuseum.org/

http://www.computer.org/portal/web/guest/sitemap?uri = http://www.computer.org//history/development/early.htm

http://www.pbs.org/nerds/timeline/

LANGUAGE BOX

GIVING A PRESENTATION

Opening

Let me first introduce myself.

I am…/ My name is…

I would like to tell/ present/ introduce ….

I’ll begin with …

I’m going to be covering…

Let’s start with …

Introducing other points

If I could now turn to…

Now, turning to…

Let me move on to…

Introducing graphs

I’d like you to look at this graph/ diagram/ pie chart/ slide.

It shows / presents / illustrates …

Comparing
factors

First of all…

Firstly…, secondly,… thirdly…

On the one hand…, on the other hand…

Concluding

So, to sum up / summarize…

That completes my overview of…

Questions

Please, don’t hesitate to interrupt me if you have any questions.

If you don’t mind we’ll leave the questions to the end

Finishing

That’s all I have to say.

Thank you for your attention.

2. Read and translate the text about Charles Babbage.

Charles Babbage is widely regarded as the first computer pioneer and the great ancestral ure in the history of computing. He is often called the «father of computing» for his detailed plans for mechanical Calculating Engines, both the table-making Difference Engines (1821) and the far more ambitious Analytical Engines (1837), which were flexible and powerful punched-card controlled general purpose calculators, embodying many features which later reappeared in the modern computer.

3. Visit the Web sites and create a timeline of milestones of Charles Babbage life.

Suggested online resources:

http://www.cbi.umn.edu/about/babbage.html

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/onlinestuff/stories/babbage.aspx

http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Babbage.html

1791 –

1821 –

1837 –

1811 –

1827 –

1856 –

1816 –

1832 –

1871 –

1820 –

1833 –

 

4. Visit the Web sites and create an Internet Scavenger Hunt of Charles Babbage life. Create a list of questions for classmates to answer with the help of these Web sites.

Charles Babbage: Pioneer of the Computer

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0691023778/thegreatideafind

The Charles Babbage Institute

http://www.cbi.umn.edu/about/babbage.html

Science Museum – Charles Babbage

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/onlinestuff/stories/babbage.aspx

Welcome to the Babbage pages

http://projects.exeter.ac.uk/babbage/

The Analytical Engine

http://www.fourmilab.ch/babbage/

Inventor of the Week

http://web.mit.edu/invent/iow/babbage.html

Babbage Printer Finally Runs

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/710950.stm

Babbage’s Other Inventions

http://ei.cs.vt.edu/~history/Babbage.html

Charles Babbage

http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Babbage.html

5. Surf the Internet and create an Internet Scavenger Hunt of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs lives. Create a Hot List of Web sites. Make a list of questions for classmates to answer with the help of these Web sites.

6. A lot has changed since Charles Babbage introduced his Analytical Engines. Today, computers are extremely powerful and extremely small. In fact, the computer has been a tremendous engine in worldwide growth and becomes more and more sophisticated.

Work in small groups. Present your report in class about modern computers.

LISTENING ACTIVITIES

You are going to watch video on the history of computers. We can’t imagine living without a computer yet few people know the history of how this came to be.

1. Watch the video «History of computers» and answer the following questions.

Suggested online resource:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v = NbhbssXWDAE

1. What was the first calculation device?

2. What was the main concept of Quipu? What was it used for?

3. What device has made an industrial revolution? What was its advantage?

4. Why was punch card technology very important? What was Herman Hollerith famous for?

5. What was the major concept of his calculation device? What was the «dark side» of his device?

6. When were code machines developed? What for? What was their function?

7. What was the most important step in computer history?

8. What was the first programmable electronic computer?

9. What was the reason to develop such a computer? What sphere was the first programmable electronic computer used after the Second World War?

10. Why was computer communication system developed?

11. When did Arpanet appear?

2. Speak about the first computer communication net work.

3. Watch the BBC video on Alan Turing activity and answer the following questions.

Suggested online resource:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v = NbhbssXWDAE

1. Prove that first calculating machines had powerful calculation capacity.

2. When did Alan Turing publish his paper “On computable numbers”? What was the key idea of his paper?

3. Why was Alan Turing’s work kept in secret?

4. What was Enigma famous for?

5. When did the first electronic digital computer, Colossus, begin to operate?

6. Compare the key concepts of ENIAC and Colossus?

7. What did Prof. Donald Michie, Codebreaker at Bletchley Park in 1942-45, say about Alan Turing?

8. What project did Alan Turing try out at Manchester University?

9. When did Alan Turing commit suicide?

10. Which of Alan Turing’s dreams have come true?

4. Comment on the following statement: Today computers are universal machines.

5. Agree or disagree with the following statement: Colossus has an insignificant impact on development of computers. Use the phrases of agreeing or disagreeing to help you.


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