Unit 1 – Brief History of Computers
Items In This Unit
- Important Computer Events
- The Rise of Transistors
- Computer Processors (CPUs) and Number of Transistors
- Video Lecture
- Further Research
Important Computer Events
The rise of computers and computing devices dates back to the thirties of the 20th century. When we take a look at the computer history we can observe some of the most important events depicted in the diagram below.
The very first transistor was made in 1947 and was much bigger in size then today’s transistors. As the transistor size shrunk with the advancements in computer technology the computing power grew exponentially.
The Rise of Transistors
The rise of computers and computing devices dates back to the thirties of the 20th century.
In the digital context, a transistor is a binary switch and the fundamental building block of computer circuitry. Like a light switch on the wall, the transistor either prevents or allows current to flow through. A single modern CPU/processor can have hundreds of millions or even billions of transistors. Think of a transistor as an ON / OFF switch and memory (RAM) of the size of 1 bit (1/8 of a byte)! The transistor is the most basic unit of computing It represents 2 states ON or OFF. The ON state represents a numerical value of 1. The OFF state represents a numerical value of 0.
Computer Processors (CPUs) and Number of Transistors
Computer power typically grows with the number of transistors. The following table depicts various generations of computer processors (CPUs).
|Processor||Year||CPU Bits||Max Memory||# of Transistors|
|Intel® Pentium® Processor||1993||32||64GB||3,100,000|
|Intel® Pentium® II Processor||1997||64||64TB||7,500,000|
|Intel® Pentium® III Processor||1999||32||64GB||9,500,000|
|Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor||2000||64||64TB||42,000,000|
|Intel® Itanium® Processor||2001||64||18EB||25,000,000|
|Intel® Itanium® 2 Processor||2003||64||18EB||220,000,000|
|…and so on|
To learn more about transistors, please watch this amazing video by Gokul J. Krishnan titled “How transistors work”.
Assignment: Enhance your knowledge
- Watch the following video and answer the question below:
- What was the name of the first ever video game?
- Search on Google or DuckDuckGo when the first “Floppy Disk” or “Floppy Drive” was made?
- What was the purpose of the Floppy Disk?