# Historyof computer

                               HISTORY OF THE COMPUTER'

out line: 1. introduction
2. classification of computer
3. classification of technology
4. classification of capacity
5. the computer evaluation
6. institute in gottingen
7. conclusion and recommendation

INTRODUCTION


The word ‘computer’ is an old word that has changed its meaning several times in the last few centuries. Originating from the Latin, by the mid-17th century it meant ‘someone who computes’. The American Heritage Dictionary (1980) gives its first computer definition as “a person who computes.” The computer remained associated with human activity until about the middle of the 20th century when it became applied to “a programmable electronic device that can store, retrieve, and process data” as Webster’s Dictionary (1980) defines it. Today, the word computer refers to computing devices, whether or not they are electronic, programmable, or capable of ‘storing and retrieving’ data. The Techencyclopedia (2003) defines computer as “a general purpose machine that processes data according to a set of instructions that are stored internally either temporarily or permanently.” The computer and all equipment attached to it are called hardware. The instructions that tell it what to do are called "software" or “program”. A program is a detailed set of humanly prepared instructions that directs the computer to function in specific ways. Furthermore, the Encyclopedia Britannica (2003) defines computers as “the contribution of major individuals, machines, and ideas to the development of computing.” This implies that the computer is a system. A system is a group of computer components that work together as a unit to perform a common objective. The term ‘history’ means past events. The encyclopedia Britannica (2003) defines it as “the discipline that studies the chronological record of events (as affecting a nation or people), based on a critical examination of source materials and usually presenting an explanation of their causes.” The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (1995) simply defines history as “the study of past events.…” In discussing the history of computers, chronological record of events – particularly in the area of technological development – will be explained. History of computer in the area of technological development is being considered because it is usually the technological advancement in computers that brings about economic and social advancement. A faster computer brings about faster operation and that in turn causes an economic development. This paper will discuss classes of computers, computer evolution and highlight some roles played by individuals in these developments.

CLASSIFICATION OF COMPUTERS

Computing machines can be classified in many ways and these classifications depend on their functions and definitions. They can be classified by the technology from which they were constructed, the uses to which they are put, their capacity or size, the era in which they were used, their basic operating principle and by the kinds of data they process. Some of these classification techniques are discussed as follows:

Classification by Technology

This classification is a historical one and it is based on what performs the computer operation, or the technology behind the computing skill. I FLESH: Before the advent of any kind of computing device at all, human beings performed computation by themselves. This involved the use of fingers, toes and any other part of the body. II WOOD: Wood became a computing device when it was first used to design the abacus. Shickard in 1621 and Polini in 1709 were both instrumental to this development. III METALS: Metals were used in the early machines of Pascal, Thomas, and the production versions from firms such as Brundsviga, Monroe, etc IV ELECTROMECHANICAL DEVICES: As differential analyzers, these were present in the early machines of Zuse, Aiken, Stibitz and many others V ELECTRONIC ELEMENTS: These were used in the Colossus, ABC, ENIAC, and the stored program computers.

This classification really does not apply to developments in the last sixty years because several kinds of new electro technological devices have been used thereafter.

Classification by Capacity