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The History of the Computer

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The History of the Computer

"This reminds me of a revelation I had a few years ago, after getting my first CD-ROM drive. I'd manage to misplace a CD containing a multimedia encyclopedia and eventually found it sitting on the floor under my desk. I realised then that never before in human history had it been possible to lose an entire 28 volume encyclopedia by dropping it behind a piece of furniture. Now that's what I call progress!" (Computer Quotes) The information age is marked by the widespread use of the personal computer. Beginning with Ed Roberts’ first computer through to the development of the world’s fastest computer in Japan, the use of the personal computer has revolutionized our country, and in fact, our world.

Although Roberts created the first computer, there were many stepping stones that led up to its conception. For instance, he negotiated with Intel to use their silicon chips. These chips were an uprising in their own creation. Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore created them. This in turn was modified to become a single-chip microprocessor. This was very important because it could be programmed, and memory could be added onto it. Thus, using Intel’s chip as a foundation, Roberts created the first computer, the Altair 8800. His company, Model Instrumentation Telemetry Systems (MITS), marketed these machines as a last hope strategy to decrease debt within the company. Little did they know that the demand for the Altair 8800 would never die down, nor that it was a great rise in modern technology.

Because of the rise in interest in computers, there formed a group, Homebrew Computer Club, which discussed how to build computers. One of its members, Steve Wozniak, soon created another version of a computer, the Apple I. Other computers also built around 1977 were the IMSAI 8080, built by IMSAI, Radio Shack’s TRS-80, and the most advanced thus far that year, the Commodore PET. This machine, contrived by Commodore, had a monitor, keyboard, and cassette player, as opposed to antecedent devices, which had switchboards and lights to indicate signals. Apple soon was influenced by this computer, and decided to make their next computer, the Apple II, a more consumer-friendly machine, in 1979. Thus, it was enclosed in a plastic casing and came with a video monitor, keyboard, cassette interface (which stored data), and game paddles. It was also capable of having stored programs, or installing programs onto it.
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