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A Very Short History of Information Technology (IT)

Published: 2017.06.08 - 11:54:38   /  web@renciclopedia.icrt.cu  /  Juan Blas Rodríguez  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /luis.amador@renciclopedia.icrt.cu
  

The origin of the calculating machines result from the Chinese abacus, which was a tablet divided into columns in which the first, counting from the right, corresponded to the units, the next to the tens, and so on. Through their movements you could perform addition and subtraction operations.

Another important fact in the evolution of computing is placed in the 17th century, where the French scientist Blas Pascal invented a calculating machine. This only served to add and subtract, but this device served as the basis for the German Leibnitz to develop - in the 18th century - a machine that, in addition to performing addition and subtraction operations, could perform product and quotient operations.

Back in the 19th century, the first calculating machines were commercialized. In that period the English mathematician Babbage developed what was called "Analytical Machine", which could perform any mathematical operation. It also had a memory capable of storing 1000 numbers of 50 figures and even used in auxiliary functions. However, it still had the limitation of being mechanical.

Only in the first third of the 20th century with the development of electronics did the technical problems of these machines begin to be solved, replacing the gear and rod systems by electrical impulses, establishing that when there was an electric current, it would be represented by *1*, and when there was no current it would be represented by *0*.

With the development of World War II, the first computer was built, which was called Mark I and its operation was based on mechanical switches.

In 1944, the first computer for practical purposes was called Eniac. Then, in 1951, Univac I and Univac II were developed (it can be said that it is the starting point in the emergence of the real computers, which would be of common access to the people).

Generations

1st Generation: It developed between 1940 and 1952. It was the time of the computers that worked through valves and the use was exclusive for the scientific / military scope. In order to program them, the values of the machine circuits had to be modified directly.

2nd Generation: It developed between 1952 to 1964. It appeared when the valve was replaced by the transistor. The first commercial computers appeared, which already had a previous programming that would be the operating systems. These interpreted instructions in programming language (Cobol, Fortran), in that way, the programmer wrote his programs in those languages and the computer was able to translate it into machine language.

3rd Generation: It developed between 1964 and 1971. It is the generation in which they began to use the integrated circuits; on the one hand, this allowed for the reduction of costs and increase processing capacity by reducing the physical size of the machines. On the other hand, this generation was important because there was a notable improvement in programming languages and, in addition, utilitarian programs arose.

4th Generation: It developed between 1971 and 1981. This phase of evolution was characterized by the integration of electronic components, and this resulted in the emergence of the microprocessor, which was the integration of all the basic elements of the computer into a single integrated circuit.

5th Generation: From "1981" until today (although some experts consider this generation finished with the appearance of Pentium processors, we will consider that it has not yet finished). It is characterized by the emergence of the PC, as it is known today.

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