History Of The Computer Industry In America

3303 words - 14 pages

Intro Sample...



Only once in a lifetime will a new invention come about to touch

every aspect of our lives. Such a device that changes the way we work,

live, and play is a special one, indeed. A machine that has done all

this and more now exists in nearly every business in the U.S. and one

out of every two households (Hall, 156). This incredible invention is

the computer. The electronic computer has been around for over a

half-century, but its ancestors have been around for 2000 years.

However, only in the last 40 years has it changed the American society.

>From the first wooden abacus to the latest high-speed microprocessor,

the computer has changed nearly every... View More »

Body Sample...


By modern standards the punched-card machines were

slow, typically processing from 50 to 250 cards per minute, with each

card holding up to 80 digits. At the time, however, punched cards were

an enormous step forward; they provided a means of input, output, and

memory storage on a massive scale. For more than 50 years following

their first use, punched-card machines did the bulk of the world's

business computing and a good portion of the computing work in science

(Chposky, 73).

By the late 1930s punched-card machine techniques had become so

well established and reliable that Howard Hathaway Aiken, in

collaboration with engineers at IBM, undertook construction of a large

automatic digital computer based on standard IBM electromechanical

parts. Aiken's machine, called the Harvard Mark I, handled 23-digit

numbers and could perform all four arithmetic operations. Also, it had

special built-in programs to handle logarithms and trigonometric

functions. The Mark I was controlled from prepunched paper tape.

Output was by card punch and electric typewriter. It was slow,

requiring 3 to 5 seconds for a multiplication, but it was fully

automatic and could complete long computations without human

intervention (Chposky, 103).

The outbreak of World War II produced a desperate need for

computing capability, especially for the military. New weapons systems

were produced which needed trajectory ...

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