We explain what a computer is, the elements that compose it and its invention. In addition, how it evolved and its different parts.
What is a computer?
A computer, computer, computer, an electronic operating machine, capable of processing data at high speed and in large quantities, turning it into information It is useful that it will then be represented in convenient terms (payable, understandable) by a human operator or user.
Computers are the most versatile and common tools of our time, and are manufactured from numerous integrated circuits, support components and extensions, which are operated under the coordination n of a program called operating system (OS).
They usually receive and issue information through different mechanisms and protocols, whether they are used alone, or that they are intercommunicated through a network.
All computers are made up of a vast number of elements, grouped into two broad categories: hardware and software .
- Hardware This is the physical part of the computer, that is, its electronic physical components, intended for various functions, from information management to power supply. n electrical and base calculations. It will be equivalent to the body of the device.
- Software This is the intangible, digital part of the computer, where all the operations of conceptual or abstract type occur, and that normally operate in a simulated virtual environment: in a representation. The software consists of the programs, both the base ones (OS) and the applications subsequently installed. It will be the equivalent of the device.
Few are the areas of life in the 21st century that do not use these machines for their organization and operation. Even technological devices as everyday as cell phones, calculators or the microwave oven consist of some kind of computer.
See also: Output Devices.
Who invented the computer?
The invention of the computer cannot be attributed to a particular individual, not even to a set of them at a given time, but is the result of the information automation needs of the human being . For its initial development, numerous previous advances were needed in electronics, electricity, mechanics, semiconductors, logic, algebra and programming.
The first recognizable computer as such was invented in 1938 by the German engineer Konrad Kuse and operated based on perforated tapes. It was called Z1 and was the first model of the first autonomous computer, the Z3, which were basically programmable electromechanical calculators.
The first industrial-scale computer was developed in 1953 and was the IBM650 . The first personal computer sold on a large scale would appear in 1977: the Apple II, of the newly created American corporation of Steve Jobs.
The first predecessors of the computer were primitive and ancient tools that allowed to facilitate the work of calculation, say, grandparents of school calculators such as abacus (invented in 2700 BC).
The development of mathematics and the invention of algorithms (830 AD) or calculation rules (1620 AD) would be the conceptual basis for a long scientific evolution that would crystallize in the 19th century, with the invention of the first calculating machines, such as the "analytical machine" by Charles Babbage (1833) or the tabulation machine by Hermann Hollerith (1890).
The next step occurs in World War II, when the mathematician Alan Turing, among others, collaborated to develop automatic systems that deciphered German military codes . At the same time, on the other side, the Z1 and its later versions were invented, which due to war would go largely unnoticed.
The first generation of computers appeared in the 1950s and were nothing more than bulky calculation machines, which consisted of transistors and control programs based on punch cards.
Its replacement by valve systems that same decade meant the birth of the second generation, and the third generation came from the invention in 1957 of integrated circuits, thanks to which the processor and microprocessor would be originated in 1971 .
From then on the evolution of the computer would be vertiginous, appearing in 2000 the first laptops and the first PDAs, and in 2007 the iPhone, the first smart cell phone or S martphone .
Commonly, a computer is made up of three parts:
- CPU Acronym for ` ` Central ' ' Processing Unit (Central Processing Unit), is the brain of the computer, where all the logical operations are carried out and the microprocessors are found, as well as fixed memory and storage units, known as `` rigid drives '' or `` hard drives. '' The CPU also includes an ALU (Arithmetic-Logical Unit), a UC (Control Unit) and a series of data or records.
- Primary memory . Known as Random Access Memory (RAM: Random Access Memory ), is a sequence of storage cells that is temporarily occupied by the calculations necessary for the operation of the computer. This memory can be rewritten thousands of times, unlike your read-only companion (ROM: Read Only Memory ) which is already registered at the factory.
- Peripherals The non-core components of the computer are so called, which allow the entry and exit of information, that is, the exchange between the computer system and the outside, including of course the operator or user.