The Evolution of Computer Technology Introduction Fifty years ago, the U. S Army unveiled the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer the world's first operational, general purpose, electronic digital computer developed at Moore School of electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania. Of the many scientific developments spurred by World War II, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computers ranks one of the most influential and persuasive. Hardware o Processors In 1971, responding to a request for a chip for a new calculator, and incredible overkill, Intel built the worlds first single chip general-purpose microprocessor. The 4-bit Intel 4004 ran at a clock speed of 108 kHz and contained 2300 transistors. It processed data in 4 bits, but its instructions were 8 bits long.

The 4004 addressed up to 1 KB of program memory and up to 4 Kb data memory (as separate entities). It had sixteen 4-bit (or eight 8 bit) general purpose registers, and an instruction set containing 46 instructions. o The 386 processor The 80386 heralded the beginning of a new age for the IBM PC. The 386 was the first 32 bit x 86 processor.

As such it was capable of breaking the 640 KB memory barrier and running the software written for graphical user interfaces. The 386 introduced a 32-bit architecture while maintaining a full backward compatibility with earlier x 86 processor. This was accomplished by using two operating modes: "real" mode, which mirrored the segmented memory of the older x 86's, and "protected" mode which took full advantage of the 386's 32 bit enhancements. Unfortunately it was several years before PC operating systems could make use of its 32 bit capabilities. o The Intel Pentium processor It began shipping in late 1993, and swept through the Pc industry faster than any of Intel's previous processors. Although Intel's 80486 (1989) included a built FPU and was much faster than the 80386, it was the Pentium that introduced the next leap forward in the x 86 micro architecture: super scalar pipelines.

Skeptics said CISC architecture couldn't do it, but the Pentium proved otherwise. The Pentium contained 3. 1 transistors and initially ran at 60 MHZ. It was called the Pentium rather the 80586 to avoid confusion with the copycat names of x 86 processors from AMD and Nexgen (such AMD 386 and Nx 586). o Hard drives In 1973, IBM developed what is considered to be the first true sealed hard disk drive. The drive was called the "Winchester" after the rifle of the same name.

It used twp 30 MB platters. Over the following decade, sealed hard disks (often called Winchester disks) took their place as the primary data storage medium, initially in mainframes, then in minicomputers, and finally in personal computers starting with the IBM PC/XT in the 1983. By the late 1980's hard disk capacity had improved by almost a thousand fold, with single hard disk able to store Gigabytes of data. Moving on into the 21 st century now hard drives of personal computers may reach up to 256 Gigabytes of data Software o C Programming language In the 70's two talented programmers at AT&T Bell laboratories (Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie) invented the c programming language. C was far from being the first high level language, but its pointer arithmetic and low-level approach made it the first language, which could completely replace assembly language programming, even for most of the internals of an operating system. C was the first Systems programming language which no longer did an operating system need to be tied to a particular piece of hardware.

o Word Perfect In 1984, Satellite Software International introduced Word Perfect, a powerful new word processor for the IBM PC. Despite having a relative bland and unfriendly character cell user interface, Word Perfect soon became the dominant word processor for the PC market, especially in the business and secretarial world. The ability to use Word Perfect became an essential skill for most secretaries. o Operating Systems CP/M developed by Gary Kilda ll in 1974, CP/M stood for Control Program for Microcomputers. It was the first operating system to run on machines from different vendors. It also became the preferred operating system for software development on small systems.

In the mid 1970's, CP/M looked like it would rule forever, but unfortunately the early personal computers chose not to use CP/M, electing instead to provide BASIC interpreter as their primary " operating system".