Technology at Its Roots: The Evolution of the Computer

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Technology at Its Roots Everyday we continue to invent new things to help technology march forward and evolve into something better. Computers need to be quicker, phones need more features, pictures need more clarity, and calls need to be clearer. No matter what the subject, if technology is involved, someone always desires to reinvent it and make it better. This idea is true when it comes to all forms of technology. We constantly want to improve our devices so they may fulfill our needs with more efficiency. However, where did it all start? What caused our rapid explosion of technology and our constant need to improve on the latest model? Simple, it all started with the computer. The first computer was very primitive when compared to…show more content…
Instead, the ENIAC was put to use performing calculations for the hydrogen bomb, weather predictions, cosmic-ray analysis, thermal ignition, random number generation and wind-tunnel design ("Computing" 28). The ENIAC was the first multi-use computer that inspired thousands to think of new ways to invent and use these electric behemoths. Operating the ENIAC was no easy feat either! In order for the ENIAC to run all these tasks, it had to be "programmed" to do so. Input was made possible from an IBM card reader, where punched cards would be fed into the reader and the machine would interpret the data and get to work ("Computering" 28). Once that data entered the ENIAC, there was no interface or software to interact with like today's computers have, all it had was wiring and switches (Sobel 28). So in order to get answers to many complex calculations, six operators configured the 18,000 vacuum tubes and 3,000 switches to "program" the device so that they may compute the correct answer (Sobel 28). Without these "programmers" operating the ENIAC, not a single calculation would have occurred. Also from Eckert and Mauchly came the first commercially used computer, the Universal Automatic Computer, or the UNIVAC for short. Invented in 1951, the UNIVAC was still huge when compared to today's standard for computers. It had 5,000 vacuum tubes and took up about a 25- by 50-ft. room (Betts 20). The key difference between the UNIVAC and the ENIAC is that the UNIVAC was

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