Makes the life history of the computer accessible to students and the lay reader.
The computer is the great technological and scientific innovation of the last half of the twentieth century. It has revolutionized how we organize information, how we communicate with each other, and even the way that we think about the human mind. Computers have eased the drudgery of such tasks as calculating sums and clerical work, making them both more bearable and more efficient. The computer has become ubiquitous in many aspects of business, recreation, and everyday life, and the trend is that they are becoming both more powerful and easier to use. Computers: The Life Story of a Technology provides an accessible overview of this ever changing technology, giving students and lay readers an understanding of the complete scope of its history from ancient times to the present day.
The volume includes a glossary of terms, a timeline of important events, and a selected bibliography of useful resources for further information.
Highlights • Demonstrates how, just as the invention of the steam engine in the 1700s stimulated scientists to think of the laws of nature in terms of machines, the success of the computer in the late 1900s prompted scientists to think of the basic laws of the universe as being similar to the operation of a computer • Provides a worldwide examination of computing, and how such needs as security and defense during the Cold War drove the development of computing technology • Shows how the computer has entered almost every aspect of daily life in the 21st century
Series Foreword Preface Before Computers The First Electronic Computers The Second Generation: From Vacuum Tubes to Transistors The Third Generation: From Integrated Circuits to Microprocessors Personal Computers: Bringing the Computer into the Home Connections: Networking Computers Together Computers Everywhere Chronology Glossary Bibliography
Reviews Swedin and Ferro provide a compelling history of computer technology. Beginning with mathematical and technical innovations ranging from the abacus to the Internet and beyond, they take the reader on a fascinating journey through the inventions that lead to the IBM and Cray supercomputers, as well as the desktop personal computer and PDAs. A time line from 35,000 BCE to 2003 CE offers the reader a broad overview of mathematics and inventions such as the abacus, printing press, typewriter, and television, which were precursors to the computer. This book will be most useful for readers desiring to learn about computer history and the people who developed the inventions leading to the current level of computer technology. A fascinating, enjoyable book. Highly recommended. All levels.—Choice
For high-school students and general readers, Swedin and Ferro recount the origin and development of electronic computers, with an initial chapter on how people have sought and found mechanical aids to computation through the ages. World War II provided the impetus for the development of the electronic digital computer, they say, and the Cold War security and defense needs of the US drove the development of computing technology.—SciTech Book News