A Brief History of the Modern Computer

First programmable computer

The Z1 originally created by the German Konrad Zuse in his parents’ living room between 1936 and 1938 is considered the first electric programmable binary computer.

The first digital computer

Abbreviation for Atanasoff-Berry Computer, ABC began to be developed by Professor John Vincent Atanasoff and graduate student Cliff Berry in 1937 and continued until 1942 at Iowa State College (now Iowa State University). On October 19, 1973, U.S. Federal Judge Earl R. Larson signed his decision that Eckert and Mauchly’s ENIAC patent was invalid and named Atanasoff inventor of the electronic digital computer.

ENIAC was invented by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly at the University of Pennsylvania and began construction in 1943 and was not completed until 1946. It occupied about 1,800 square feet and used about 18,000 vacuum tubes, weighing almost 50 tons. Although the judge ruled that the ABC computer was the first digital computer, many still consider the ENIAC to be the first digital computer.

Because of the judge’s ruling and because the case was never appealed like most, we consider the ABC to be the first digital computer. However, because the ABC was never fully functional, we consider the first functional digital computer to be the ENIAC.

The first stored-program computer

The first British computer known as EDSAC is considered the first electronic computer program stored. The computer performed its first calculation on May 6, 1949, and was the computer that ran the first computer graphics game.


The first personal computer

In 1975 Ed Roberts coined the term personal computer when he introduced the Altair 8800. Although the first personal computer is considered the Kenback-1, which was first introduced for $750 in 1971. The computer was based on a series of switches for the input and output of data by turning on and off a series of lights.

The Micral is considered the first commercial non-assembly computer. The computer used the Intel 8008 processor and sold for $1,750 in 1973.

The first workstation

Although the first workstation was never sold, it is considered to be the Xerox Alto, introduced in 1974. The computer was revolutionary at the time and included a fully functional computer, screen, and mouse. The computer worked like many computers today, using windows, menus, and icons as the interface to its operating system.

The first PC (IBM-compatible)

In 1953 IBM shipped its first electric computer, the 701. Later, IBM introduced its first personal computer called “IBM PC” in 1981. The computer had a code sometimes called “Acorn” and had an 8088 processor, 16 KB of memory, which could be expanded to 256 and used MS-DOS.

The first PC clone

The first PC clone was developed by Compaq, the “Compaq Portable” was released in March 1983 and was 100% compatible with IBM computers and software running on IBM computers.

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