Computers - History of Computers

Computers

We use computers almost every day. We use computers at school and work. We have computers in our cell phones and in our cars. Most young children learn how to use computers very early. They have toys that include a computer, and young children learn how to use tablets made for kids.

This has not always been the case. There was a time when there were no computers! Even after computers were invented they were not small and they were not owned by everyone. It wasn't until the mid-1980s that children began to have computers to use in elementary schools. Let's take a look at the history of computers.

In 1822, Charles Babbage invented a calculating machine that could perform mathematical calculations using steam power. He also had the idea that one day a machine could be invented that performed other types of calculations as well. While his calculating machine is sometimes called a "failure," the idea of having a machine perform calculations took hold.

In 1890, Herman Hollerith created a punch card system that helps the US government calculate the results of the census. His company would eventually become IBM, which still makes computers today. In 1937, J.V. Atanasoff, a professor of physics and mathematics at Iowa State University, built the first computer without gears or shafts. By 1941, he had helped to build a machine that could store information in its "memory." This machine could also solve 29 equations at the same time!

In the 1940s and 1950s, professors and inventors continued to work, building the first "digital" computers-which also took up a lot of space and room. In 1953, Grace Hopper developed the first "computer language," or the first "code" for programming computers. By 1958, the computer chip is invented, and by 1964, the first desktop computers were being developed.

Computers, though, still were not common in every household. They were large and expensive. In the late 1900s and early 2000s, computer technology advanced. Computers got smaller and cheaper over time. The "desktop" computer has slowly been replaced by laptops and tablets. What's amazing is that many people now carry a "computer"-their smart phones-in the palm of their hands.

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