History of computing hardware

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 History of computing hardware Empty History of computing hardware

Post by kosovohp on Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:00 pm

In 1936, mathematician Alan Turing published a definition of a theoretical "universal computing machine", a computer which held its program on tape, along with the data being worked on. Turing proved that such a machine was capable of solving any conceivable mathematical problem for which an algorithm could be written.[3] During the 1940s, Turing and others such as Konrad Zuse developed the idea of using the computer's own memory to hold both the program and data, instead of tape,[4] but it was mathematician John von Neumann who became widely credited with defining that stored-program computer architecture, on which the Manchester Mark 1 was based.[5]
The practical construction of a von Neumann computer depended on the availability of a suitable memory device. The University of Manchester's Small-Scale Experimental Machine (SSEM), the world's first stored-program computer, had successfully demonstrated the practicality of the stored-program approach and of the Williams tube, an early form of computer memory based on a standard cathode ray tube (CRT), by running its first program in June 1948.[6] Early electronic computers were generally programmed by being rewired, or via plugs and patch panels; there was no separate program stored in memory, as in a modern computer. It could take several days to reprogram ENIAC, for instance.[7] Stored-program computers were also being developed by other researchers, notably the National Physical Laboratory's Pilot ACE, Cambridge University's EDSAC, and US Army's EDVAC.[8] The SSEM and the Mark 1 differed primarily in their use of Williams tubes as memory devices, instead of mercury delay lines.[9]


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