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What is a computer?

A modern computer is basically just a complex adding machine. At first a computer was a person who did calculations or computations. Now when we say a computer we mean a programmable device that is capable of a variety of tasks such as creating text documents, completing calculations, graphics design and entertainment.

History

Charles Babbage

Charles Babbage (26th December 1791 – 18 October 1871) was an English Polymath, this means his knowledge spanned a number of subjects, Babbage was a Mathematician, Philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer. Charles babbage is most famous for creating the first mechanical computer. The difference engine was his first computer and then he created the analytical engine using ideas from this he went on to create the difference engine number 2. Although he never actually created any of the machines his ideas helped create the modern programmable computers.

 Colossus

Colossus was the world’s first programmable electronic digital computer. They were originally created for use by the code breakers in WW2. Without the colossus the British government would have been deprived of the information that they could glean from the German communication. The colossus was designed and created by Tommy Flowers in response to a problem set by Mathematician Max Newman.

 LEO

The LEO 1 was the first computer designed for commercial use. It was first designed to help with administration at Lyons. When Lyons realised the success and use of the LEO 1 it went on to form the LEO computers ltd in 1954. The LEO spawned many computers such as LEO 11, LEO 111 and eventually the company went on to form Fujitsu.

 1980

In the 1980’s the first Personal Computers became popular and as demand increased the technology leapt forwards as companies such as IBM, Apple and Sinclair sold and created new computers for the public and companies alike. In 1981 the first GUI PC was released and was known as the Xerox 8010 star information system which was followed by the Apple Lisa and then Apple Macintosh. GUI stands for Graphical user interface which is the type of interface we have now with pictures and text.

 Modern

Since 1980 computers have come a long way and now although we still use GUI they have come a long way and now we have virtual reality, realistic games and can complete complex equations in milliseconds. From computers the size of rooms we now have the ability to carry computers round in our pockets and use every day. Computer technology has come a long way since 1834 but technology is improving every day.

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