How Computers Have Changged Society Essay

1960 words - 8 pages

Mason Buckmaster
Mrs. Molzahn
American Literature
May, 21, 2014
How Computers Have Changed Society
People in todays age could not function without computers. Computers are in everything from one's car to one's cell phone. Computers are everywhere. Computers had their start in 1822. It was an inefficient machine. It used the decimal system where modern computers use the binary system. The only thing that it was capable of doing was computing numbers. and copying the results. It was far from what people call computers today. The history of computers is fascinating. It started in 1938. Through time computers have evolved from the size of a room to small and handheld, with this downsize computers have become faster and made more of an impact on society.
The first computer to use the binary system was invented in 1938, it was called Z1. Computers before the Z1 were much slower and used the decimal system. The Z1 computer was invented by a German named Konrad Zuse. He built the computer in his parents living room. It took him 2 years to complete it. This computer and almost all of the computers after it use the binary system. The binary system consists of a series of zeros and ones. The concept of a system of two values to represent a set of numbers and letters has been around since 1666. Unlike the decimal system which has to recognize nine different values, the binary system only has to recognize two different values. This makes computing easier and more simple. The only down side to the binary system is that it takes much more space to store something than in the hexadecimal system. The hexadecimal system consists of the decimal system, and six letters. This system allows for more efficient storage but slower computing speed.
The first computer to use diodes, which is what are used in computers today, was finished in 1946. It was developed to aid World War II. Its first task was to help in the calculations in the invention of the hydrogen bomb. It was called Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, or ENIAC for short. The diodes in ENIAC were over 1,000 times greater than they are today. In ENIAC there were over 18,000 electronic vacuum tubes. This computer alone cost the government over 400,000 dollars. Since there were 18,000 vacuum tubes the computer took up a room that was over fifty feet wide and 30 feet long. Along with the 18,000 vacuum tubes there were approximately 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors, 6,000 switches and about 1,500 relays. That was a small number compared to todays computers. Still ENIAC had little effect socially on the general population. ENIAC was an extremely slow computer. It was so slow because it used the hexadecimal system to save storage. ENIAC was almost impossible to operate. It took a patient person with quite a bit of knowledge to operate this machine. The next thing that computers needed to do was downsize. If computers did not downsize there would be no way that...

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