History of computers

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[1] Let us take a look at the history of the computers that we know today. The very first calculating device used was the ten fingers of a mans hands. This, in fact, is why today we still count in tens and multiples of tens. Then the abacuswas invented, a bead frame in which the beads are moved form left to right. People went on using some form of abacus well into the 16th century, and it is still being used in some parts of the world because it can be understood without knowing how to read.

[2] During the 17th and 18th centuries many people tried to find easy ways of calculating. J. Napier, a Scotsman, devised a mechanical way of multiplying and dividing, which is how the modern slide ruleworks. Henry Briggs used Napiers ideas to produce logarithm tablewhich all mathematicians use today. Calculus,another branch of mathematics, was independently invented by both Sir Isaac Newton, an Englishman, and Leibnitz, a German mathematician.

[3] The first real calculating machine appeared in 1820 as a result of several peoples experiments. This type of machine, which saves a great deal of time and reduces the possibility of making mistakes, depends on a series often-toothed gear wheels. In 1830 Charles Babbage, an Englishman, designed a machine that was called The Analytical Engine. This machine, which Babbage showed at the Paris Exhibition in 1855, was an attempt to cut out the human being altogether, except for providing the machine with the necessary facts about the problem to be solved. He never finished this work, but many of his ideas were the basis for building today’s computers.

[4] In 1930, the first analogcomputer was invented by an American named Vannevar Bush. This device was used in World War II to help aim guns. Mark I, the name given to the first digitalcomputer, was completed in 1944. The men responsible for this invention were Professor Howard Aiken and some people from IBM. This was the first machine that could figure out long lists of mathematical problems, all at a very fast rate. In 1946 two engineers at the University of Pennsylvania built the first digital computer using parts called vacuum tubes.They named their new invention ENIAC. Another important advancement in computers came in 1947, when John von Newmann developed the idea of keeping instructions for the computer inside the computers memory.

[5] The first generation of computers, which used vacuum tubes, came out in 1950. Univac I is an example of these computers which could perform thousands of calculations per second. In 1960, the second generation of computers was developed and these could perform work ten times faster than their predecessors. The reason for this extra speed was the use of transistorsinstead of vacuum tubes. Second-generation computers were smaller, faster and more dependable than first-generation computers. The third-generation computers appeared on the market in 1965. These computers could do a million calculations a second, which is 1000 times as many as first-generation computers. Unlike second-generation computers, these are controlled by tiny integrated circuits and are consequently smaller and more dependable. Fourth-generation computers have now arrived, and the integrated circuits that are being developed have been greatly reduced in size. This is due to microminiaturization, which means that the circuit fare much smaller than before . as many as 1000 tiny circuits now fit onto a single chip.A chip is a square or rectangular piece of silicon, usually from 1/10 to 1/4 inch, upon which several layers of an integrated circuit are etched or imprinted, after which the circuit is encapsulated in plastic, ceramic or metal. Fourth-generation computers are 50 times faster than third-generation computers and can complete approximately 1,000,000 instructions per second.

[6] At the rate computer technology is growing, todays computers might be obsolete by 2015 and most certainly by 2030. It has been said that if transport technology had developed as rapidly as computer technology, a trip across the Atlantic Ocean today would take a few seconds.

X. Which statement best expresses the main idea of the text? Why do you think so?

1. Computers as we know them today have gone through many changes.

2. Todays computers probably wont be around for long.

3. Computers have had a very short history.

XII. Say True or False. If False”, correct the sentence. Rely on the information from the text.

1. The abacus and the fingers are two calculating devices still in use today.

2. The slide rule was invented hundreds of years ago.

3. During the early 1880s many people worked on invent­ing a mechanical calculating machine.

4. Charles Babbage, an Englishman, could well be called the father of computers.

5. The first computer was invented and built in USA.

6. Instructions used by computers have always been kept in­side the computers memory.

7. Using transistors instead of vacuum tubes did nothing to increase the speed at which calculations were done.

8. As computers evolved their size decreased and their de­pendability increased.

9. Todays computers have more circuits than previous computers.

10. Computer technology has developed to a point from which new developments in the field will take a long time to come.

XIII. Match the words in column A with the statement in column B.


1. abacus

2. calculus

3. analog computer

4. digital computer

5. vacuum tubes

6. transistors

7. chip

8. microminiaturization

9. slide rule

10. logarithm table


a. instrument used for doing multiplication and division

b. used in the first digital computers

с an instrument used for counting

d. used in mathematics

e. circuitry of fourth-generation computers

f. invented by Americans in 1944

g. made computers smaller and faster

h. used to help aim guns

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i. the reduction of circuitry

j. a branch of mathematics

XIV. Complete the following table.

Primitive times  
  Abacus invented
17th &amp .18th centuries  
Henry Brigges produced logarithm table
  Charles Babbage designed
  First use of in
  Second-generation computers using

UNIT 2 “Charateristics”

I. Read and guess the meaning of the following international words:

Characteristic, electronic, function, concept, schemati­cally, fundamental, component, peripheral, disk, limit, person­nel, compact, portable, internal, manipulation, aspect, period, extremely.

II. Translate the following word combinations:

Manipulating the information, adding information, mak­ing comparison, electronic devices, storing data, complex cir­cuits, internal operations, basic concepts, to show schematically, fundamental components, internal memory, peripheral devices, secondary memory, extremely large, routine task, creative work.

III. Memorize the following False friends.

1. actual — 1) фактический, действительный, реальный .

2) текущий, современный

2. complex -1. 1) сложный, запутанный .

2) комплексный, составной И. комплекс

3. basic-1) основной .

2) элементарный .

3) стандартный (об элементе)

4. figure –I. 1) цифра, число .

2) рисунок, чертеж, фигура

II. обозначать цифрами

IV. Phrases with prepositions for you to remember:

1. to make up — составлять, собирать

2. to be capable of.- быть способным, восприимчивым

3. to have smth in common — иметь что-то сходное с

4. to be at work or at play — за работой или игрой

5. to respond to — реагировать, поддаваться

6. to think of- придумать

7. to be attached to — быть привязанным к, присоединен­ным к

8. irrespective of— не взирая на, не считаясь с

V. Define the function of Participle I in the following sentences and translate them:

1. Having improved this device they could use it for many purposes. 2. When making the experiment he made notes. 3. The vibrations of a voice speaking into the microphone of a telephone cause vibrations in an electric current. 4. This varying current is carried along a wire to a receiver. 5. Electronics in our country has developed into hundreds of research institutes and laboratories employing tens of thousands of people. 6. Our power engineering develops much faster than that of the other developed countries, including the USA. 7. Having been discovered many years ago this metal found a wide application in industry only last year. 8. While being checked the motor showed good performance. 9. The man introducing this famous scientist is the dean of our faculty. 10. Cybernetics is gaining a growing importance.

VI. Change the complex sentences given below according to the examples and translate them into Russian:

Example A: While she was preparing for her physics exam she looked through all the notes of the lectures.

While preparing for her physics exam she looked through all the notes of the lectures.

1. When he was translating the article he used a dictionary. 2. While the student was working at the problem he made many experiments.3. When the scientist was carrying out research in the field of nuclear physics he came to Dubna to work there. 4. When the worker was applying the new method of work he got better results. 5. While he was experimenting with this substance he was very careful. 6. When the en­gineer was improving the design he made many calculations. 7. While the man was describing this phenomenon he illustrated it with numerous examples. 8. When these scientists were working in our laboratory they obtained good results.

Example B: The scientists who are carrying out research into nuclear physics deal with most difficult problems.

The scientists carrying out research into nuclear physics deal with most difficult problems.

1. The scientist who is working at the method is well known. 2. The students who are listening to the taped lesson study at the evening fa­culty. 3. These postgraduate students who are watching the experiment work in our laboratory. 4. The worker who is repairing the machine is very skilled. 5. The engineer who is carrying out these investigations is a well-known inventor. 6. The students who are doing the laboratory work are from various faculties. 7. The workers who are building this house will soon finish their work.

VII. Choose the sentences with Participle I from the ones given below, translate them:

1. The falling water has kinetic energy. 2. While testing the motor we put down the results. 3. There is no simple explanation of the func­tioning of transistors. 4. Obtaining new data engineers can improve their knowledge. 5. Look at the reading of the device. 6. Robots are helping research scientists to answer many difficult questions. 7. By the beginn­ing of the 20th century man had learned something of the structure of the atom. 8. When applying these automatic devices we shall be able to control automatic lines. 9. The applying of lasers enables us to ampli­fy electromagnetic waves. 10. A person beginning some experiment should be very careful and attentive.

VIII. Find -ing Forms in passage I and define their functions. What is the meaning of the word whether in passage 2? X. Read and translate the text.

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Поделиться статьей(Выдержка из Чемпионата Днепропетровской области по «Что? Где? Когда?» среди юношей (09.11.2008) Редакторы: Оксана Балазанова, Александр Чижов) [Указания ведущим:

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