The evolution of computers accompanied the evolution of society during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. However, the history of the computer did not begin only in modernity.
Remember that computers are electronic devices that receive, store and produce information automatically.
They are part of our daily lives, and the number of computers used in the world is increasing.
The word “computer” comes from the verb “compute” which, in turn, means “calculate”.Thus, we may think that the creation of computers begins in the old age, since the relationship of counting already intrigued men.
Thus, one of the first computer machines was the “abacus”, a mechanical instrument of Chinese origin created in the 5th century BC.
Thus, it is considered the “first computer”, a kind of calculator that performed algebraic operations.
In the 17th century, Scottish mathematician John Napier was responsible for the invention of the “slide rule”. It is the first analog counting instrument capable of performing logarithmic calculations. This invention was considered the mother of modern calculators.
Around 1640, the French mathematician Pascal invented the first automatic calculating machine. This machine was refined over the next decades until it came to the concept we know today.
The first pocket calculator capable of performing the four main mathematical calculations was created by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.
This German mathematician developed the first modern binary numbering system known as the “Leibniz Wheel”.
The first programmable mechanical machine was introduced by the French mathematician Joseph-Marie Jacquard. It was a type of loom capable of controlling the making of fabrics through punch cards.
George Boole (1815-1864) was one of the founders of mathematical logic. This new area of mathematics has become a powerful tool in the design and study of electronic circuits and computer architecture.
Already in the nineteenth century, the English mathematician Charles Babbage created an analytical machine that roughly compares with the current computer with memory and programs.
Through this invention, some scholars consider him the “Father of Informatics.”
Thus, computing machines were increasingly including the variety of mathematical calculations (addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, square root, logarithms, etc.).
Currently it is possible to find very complex computer machines.
Evolution of Computers
The computer, as we know it today, has undergone several transformations and has been improving over time, following the progress of the areas of mathematics, engineering, electronics. That is why there is not only one inventor.
According to the systems and tools used, the history of computing is divided into four periods .
First Generation (1951-1959)
First-generation computers operated by means of electronic circuits and valves. They had restricted use, besides being huge and consuming a lot of energy.
An example is the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC), which consumed about 200 kilowatts and had 19,000 valves.
Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC)
Second Generation (1959-1965)
Still very large, second-generation computers were powered by transistors, which replaced the larger, slower valves. In this period commercial use is already spreading.
Second generation computer with transistors
Third Generation (1965-1975)
Third generation computers operated by integrated circuits. These replaced the transistors and already had a smaller size and greater processing capacity.
It was during this time that the chips were created and the use of personal computers began.
Third generation computer with integrated circuits
Fourth Generation (1975-present day)
With the development of information technology, computers decrease in size, increase speed and data processing capacity. Including microprocessors with decreasing power consumption.
In this period, more precisely from the 90’s, there is a great expansion of personal computers.
fourth generation computer
In addition, integrated software comes along, and from the turn of the millennium, handheld computers begin to emerge. That is, smartphones, iPod, iPad and tablets, which include mobile connection with web browsing.
According to the above classification, we belong to the fourth generation of computers, which has revealed an incredible evolution in information systems.
Note that before the evolution of computers occurred more slowly. With the development of society we can see the evolution of these machines in days or months.
Some scholars prefer to add the “Fifth Generation of Computers” with the emergence of supercomputers, used by large corporations like NASA.
In this generation, it is possible to evaluate the evolution of multimedia technology, robotics and the internet.
Digital inclusion is a concept that determines access to contemporary digital media and tools, just like the internet.
Thus, it aims at the democratization of technology from the possibility of production and diffusion of knowledge to all citizens.