The Evolution Of The Computer From The 1950s To 1970s

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The Evolution of the Computer from the 1950s to 1970s

Many changes occurred regarding the design of computers between the years 1950 and the 1970s. Computers went from being gigantic machines that took up an entire room to smaller models that we more commonly associate with modern day computers. The main technologies that allowed this change in design were the subsequent inventions of the vacuum tubes, transistors, integrated circuits and finally silicon computer chips that are still used today. Without this progression in hardware, computer design could have not progressed either. The 1950’s and 1970’s were a very important twenty years for the evolution of how computers looked and how we used them. In those two short decades computers went
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John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert were the creators of the ENIAC. Although the ENIAC still used a punch card input and output system, it was a pioneer for the way in which computers worked because it was the first to incorporate 18,000 vacuum tubes (Campbell-Kelly, Martin). These vacuum tubes were seen as a huge risk because they were not very reliable and burned out quickly that its upkeep was tedious. In addition, the vacuum tubes took up so much space that the computer as a whole filled an entire room. This gigantic computer relied on people to reprogram the computer each time it needed to perform a different task or problem. The ENIAC needed to be rewired because its instructions were not a part of the computer itself (Campbell-Kelly, Martin). It was still considered one of the first electronic digital computers because it did perform its programs at a high-speed and certainly quicker than the methods used prior to its …show more content…
William Shockley of Bell Labs invented this new device that would cast out the need for vacuum tubes in computers (Basset). IBM introduced the IBM 702 in 1955 which was rented out monthly for $15,000 and allowed IBM to venture into the large-scaled computer market and still used William’s Tubes (Campbell-Kelly, Martin). Many more models of IBM mainframe computers were produced in the late 1950’s and were used for commercial computing. In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s bulky mainframe computers were becoming more common among larger corporations although they were big, expensive and difficult to use. IBM was the primary producer of these large mainframe and minicomputers used for large-sized businesses (Campbell-Kelly, Martin). Slowly computers began to take up less space although they were still fairly large and occupied a medium sized room. In 1956 MIT researchers began to test keyboards as input options for a computer, which is standard for the way we input computers today (Campbell-Kelly, Martin). Previously, computers relied on punch cards to be input in order to tell the computer program what to do (Campbell-Kelly, Martin). The addition of keyboards was a major change to the design of computers because of their practicality. The third generation of computers was manifested by the invention of the integrated circuit. In

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