The computer is an electronic system made up mainly of a CPU (central processing unit) , which is its “brain”, and consists of a microprocessor made of a chip (consisting of a piece of silicon that contains millions of electronic components ). The computer is capable of receiving a set of commands and executing them by performing complex calculations, or by grouping and correlating other types of information. This device is also known as a computer.
What is the computer?
The computer, whose etymology comes from the Latin “computare” (which means to compute, calculate, price or evaluate), is an electronic device that contains multiple circuits , through which it complies with instructions that the user orders with a specific function. These guidelines are known as “input”, and the process is called “programming”.
The programmer is in charge of providing the computer with the information it needs to carry out actions regarding calculation or analysis of computations , the results of which are called “output”. The instructions entered are carried out through formal language, which allows the programmer to indicate what physical and logical behavior the machine must have.
For information processing, the computer has a central processing unit or CPU for its acronym in English, which is its brain, where the circuits and connections that unite it with the rest of the devices are found, which together , make up the computer. These devices can be input, storage and output devices.
The computer has the capacity to store, receive or transmit information , which can be created or edited in it. It works as a digital information file and as an office, since it has multiple programs that replace functions of other devices that would be in one.
Since the beginning of time, man has used rudimentary methods to perform addition and subtraction calculations, which led to the invention of the abacus back in the 2,700 BC, by the Chinese and Sumerian civilizations.
But, it was not until many years later in history, when advances were developed in the knowledge and application of the same for calculations and data computations . In approximately 830 AD, the Persian mathematician Musa al-Juarismi ( 780-850) , created the algorithm, which is the set of ordered rules that allows solving a problem or carrying out some activity, which is one of the fundamental bases of the current schedule.
Machines similar to computers were made, such as the one created in 1822 by the mathematician and scientist Charles Babbage (1791-1871), which was a first automatic calculation engine . Later, and with the development of multiple mechanical devices and other discoveries, generations of these devices were reached; In these stages it is possible to observe how the timeline of computers has been.
Generations of computers
The generations of computers represent the stages in the evolution and changes that have arisen in the technology of these machines, in which the latest advances in science have been incorporated and have made them more effective. According to the type of source, there are between five and eight generations. Eight generations of the evolution of the computer will develop here:
1. First generation of computers (1940-1956)
In the first generation of computers, great discoveries for the storage and sending of information were evidenced, such as the use of electronic valves , mercury tubes whose crystals emitted electronic signals, keys, wiring, among others.
In addition, storage was started in binary form , displacing decimal storage; a printer was incorporated; The first commercial computer emerged; data processing began in real time; and the output on video monitors.
2. Second generation of computers (1956-1964)
In this generation the transistor replaces the valve used in the previous one; the speed of its operations increased and its size decreased, so large cooling systems were not required, as in the first generation.
Magnetic core networks were used for primary storage. The COBOL language was developed as a universal programming language that could be used on every computer, so that programs could be transferred from one computer to another. High-quality video monitors and sound output devices were also developed.
One of the most important advances was the creation of the integrated circuit, created by the American electrical engineer and physicist Jack Kilby (1923-2005), which allowed computers to gain incredible speed in calculating their operations.
3. Third generation of computers (1965-1971)
Integrated circuits take center stage, to which thousands of electronic components have been adapted in minute ways. Its size was further reduced , giving off less heat and being more energy efficient.
In this generation the term software was born , so companies specialized in it emerged. Integrated circuits allowed applications to be combined for different purposes, such as business and math applications, thereby providing greater flexibility in their programs, and acquired the ability to run simultaneous programs (multiprogramming). Developed the virtual memory and complex operational systems.
Connection to TV and magnetic cassette recorder was successful; adapt AC to DC transformers; rechargeable batteries with autonomy of 5 hours; spreadsheets and word processors. Compatible programming languages such as BASIC, FORTRAN, PASCAL, ALGOL, C, FORTH, among others, emerged .
Towards the end of this generation, the INTEL company developed the microprocessor, which started microcomputers and accelerated computational technological advances.
4. Fourth generation of computers (1972-1982)
It was basically distinguished by replacing the memories of magnetic cores with silicon chips , in addition to the integration of more components in it, which was possible thanks to the miniaturization of the circuits, which led to the existence of personal computers or PC (Personal Computer).
In this generation, numerous advances emerged in a short period:
- The inclusion of the standardized operating system MS-DOS (MicroSoft Disk Operating System).
- The creation of the ICLSI (Integrate Circuit Large Scale Integration), which allowed increasing the number of components on the same circuit (up to 300,000 on the same chip).
- The CPUs reached capacities of up to 40 KB, being able to host a 5”1 / 4 360KB diskette and accommodate a similar one or a hard disk of up to 10MB
- Distributed processing arises.
- Cache usage.
- Monitors with higher quality, which allowed to run more advanced graphic software.
- The 72-pin memories emerged which gave it a higher processing speed compared to the previous 30-pin.
5. Fifth generation of computers (1983-1989)
The decade of the eighties served as the basis for the fifth generation of computers, which was a project launched in Japan, characterized by the development of microelectronics and software, artificial intelligence , multimedia systems, among others.
The information storage medium begins to be realized in magneto-optical devices, whose capacity exceeded tens of Gigabytes. The DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) appears , which allowed storing video and sound; and overall storage capacity grows exponentially.
6. Sixth generation of computers (1990-1999)
This generation has been divided into three by other sources, since there are those who assure that there is a seventh and eighth generation.
The development and launch of the Internet throughout the world, forever changed the ways of communication of man, as well as work. In the sixth generation created the first SUPERCOM puter with parallel processing, which can work simultaneously with multiple microprocessors.
Computers of this generation can recognize voice and images and can communicate with natural language and acquire the ability to make decisions according to acquired learning based on expert systems and artificial intelligence itself. The latter aims to provide the computer with human-like intelligence , in which the machine is capable of solving problems without human intervention, using reasoning based on the behavior that a human would have in such a situation.
7. Seventh generation of computers (2000-2016)
The sixth generation is considered to have ended in 1999, kicking off the seventh with the appearance of LCD screens , leaving out cathode rays and displacing optical hard drives and DVDs; A data storage capacity that exceeds 50GB is created.
In this generation, the computer replaces the television and the sound equipment , since they integrate the functions performed by these by distributing movies, programs, music and other resources through the Internet. The well-known desktop computer is displaced by laptops. Later, the arrival of smartphones or smartphones, smart watches, among other devices, allow the user to carry a computer in their pocket.
8. Eighth generation of computers (2012-present)
There is talk of an eighth generation characterized by the gradual disappearance of physical and mechanical devices . The basis of its operation is nanotechnology and electromagnetic impulses, although it has not been massively marketed nor has it become used to the market.
Parts of computers
Computers are made up of multiple elements that make it up or that fulfill the function of extending their functions. According to their state (physical or virtual), they are divided into:
It is the intangible part of the computer, and refers to the set of programs through which tasks can be run on it. Among them are operating systems, applications, the Internet, games, among others.
From the aforementioned, a vital software for the operation of a computer equipment is the operating system, since it is like the consciousness of the computer and without which, the machine would be useless. It is with which the user will have direct contact and depending on the type of system, its interface will be different.
It refers to the tangible part of the computer: “the body” of it. Each hardware will depend on its type, since a desktop computer will need at least a monitor, a CPU, a keyboard, a mouse and its wiring to function; A gamer computer will need other elements; And a laptop is a full body computer, which will only need the power cable .
Parts of the hardware or elements of the computer can be: the motherboard or motherboard, keyboard, mouse or mouse, monitor , CPU, speakers, microphone, headphones or earphones, DVD drive, printer , joysticks, webcam, among others.
Importance of computers
Its benefits are not few:
- It is ecological, since thanks to the digitization of information, it has been possible to have countless documents “written” virtually, without using paper.
- Its speed, with which the work that could take years to researchers, thanks to these devices, can be carried out in days or weeks.
- They also make it easier to do design work and project planning.
- Communications, with the use of internal networks and the Internet.
- Solving mathematical and other problems; through them, man can keep himself informed of the local or world situation.
- With various computer programs, the different professional areas can complement and support each other.
- They are able to throw statistics with the correct data entered into them.