The twentieth century has seen tremendous advances in technological field and the invention and development of computer is one of them. The first computer is one of them.
The first computer named as ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator) came into existence in 1946. it was developed by Dr. John Nouchly and J.P. Eckert of the University of Pennsylvania, USA. Since then the growth of the computer has been very rapid and the main areas of development were in the fields of information, storage methods for both data and instructions, programming, computer logic, electronics and principles.
The first generation computers were huge in size and contained 18,000 valves, 79,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors and 60,000 switches. It contained 150 kw of power and heat so generated had to be taken away by a running stream of water. The second generation computers came into being with the development of transistor. Huge valves were replaced by tiny transistors. Computer memory become a reality and the size of the computers got reduced considerably. The third generation computers saw the introduction of integrated circuits or ICs. The ICs not only reduced the size of computer drastically but also delivered the goods at a much higher efficiently. The fourth generation computers had such an improved technology that computers could be held in hands. The fifth generation computer also called “thinking computers” will be bestowed with the blessings of Artificial Intelligence. The key to artificial intelligence lies in the newer method of computing. These computers will contain bits of information and will be able to think and make decisions to some extent in a better way than human beings.
The computer has given a new work culture to modern man making inroads in almost all the areas of human activity from entertainment to heavy industrial operations. In business, it has taken over most of the clerical work like calculation and preparation of pay bills, maintenance of accounts, preparation of tax and tariff bills, collection of money from customers and so on. Similarly heavy industries are using computers in a big way for operational controls. Thus, delay in work and laxity in various operations are completely ruled out.
Computers have also revolutionized railways and airways in various countries. Computers provide guidance to rail travel in so far as routing, braking, acceleration and deceleration of speed is concerned. Computer is also providing railway or air reservation besides providing information regarding reserved seats or berths, arrival and departure of a particular train or flight, list of fares etc. Aero planes are also helped by computers for a safe course of flight and landing. Computers have even won over the foggy and stormy weather to facilitate safe landing of an aircraft.
The medical profession has got immense benefit from computer as it provides accurate data of heart beat, pulse rate etc. and if there is any abnormality, it warn about is so that the medical staff become alert about the condition of the patient. Various medical histories, associated cases and advises of the experts are easily being stored in the computers. Networking is the latest development in the field of computers. A network is system where computers are electronically linked to one another through a cable or satellite. At the tap of key board you can get a whole lot of information on retail data outlets, air line schedules, the day’s news etc. in a system like this the user has access to a large amount of data information and knowledge on a single amount of data information and knowledge on a single point. Some of the examples of networking are
(a) Video text – it is a service which displays all the information desired on a TV screen. This information is stored in an up-to-date DATABASE in the central computer.
(b) Email – (Electronic mail) a letter prepared and edited through a word processor can be sent to the addresses, through this network. The letter will get displayed on the screen of the addresses and in the event of the addressee not being available, it will automatically get stored in a receiving computer.
(c) Tele-conferencing – This is a system which saves money, time and energy of the participants in a conference. The participants can sit at terminals in their own locations and conduct the proceedings, thought the network.
Computer wizardry and special effects have made a revolutionary impact in the production of films. The roaring success of Jurassic Park is the result of it. The latest and most exciting concept that is doing the rounds in the computer industry worldwide is the concept of multimedia. in essence the concept aims to integrate computers and communication technology which might make air, road and sea trend for business meetings, seminars and conferences superfluous! The harbinger of this revolution is the proposed integrated services digital network (ISDN/Broadband ISDN), popularly referred to as multimedia communication networks.
The distinguishing feature of this net technology is interaction or interactivity. While television has both audio and video facility there is hardly an element of interactivity Multimedia attempts a harmonious integration of video, audio, text and graphics for greater impact. But before this latest technology is introduced computer communications can become a reality. This is essential because the main feature of this new concept is a complete synchronization of audio, video, text, graphics and data traffic.
The advent of computers has really revolutionized the life of man and the pace and rapidity with which computers have developed and developing every day is simply mind boggling.