in this article, we will discuss which invention allowed computers to become smaller in size. Computers have become smaller and smaller over the years. Companies have developed countless technologies that made this possible to make smaller computers.
In the early days of computing, computers were heavy and bulky with casings that had to be sealed to keep dust and other external contaminants out which made them very expensive.
The first computer was built in the late 19th century by Charles Babbage. Even though he never finished his design, his notes and blueprints are what we know today as the first working mechanical computer known as “the Analytical Engine”.
From the early computers to modern smartphones and laptops, these inventions have had a significant impact on our daily lives as they have made it easier to perform tasks in less time. We are going to discuss different inventions that led to computers becoming smaller.
Which invention allowed computers to become smaller in size?
The invention of the transistor, the Integrated Circuit (IC), the microprocessor, the Turing Machine, and Computing Theory allowed computers to be smaller in size enormously over time.
6 Inventions which allowed computers to be smaller: A Quick Guide
It’s important to be aware of these inventions and clear your concepts lets to define all.
In 1947, Bell Labs researchers John Bardeen and Walter Brattain invented the transistor, which would later revolutionize computing by replacing the vacuum tube as the method of switching electronic signals.
Transistors are semiconductor devices that can be used to amplify or switch electronic signals and power. Transistors operate on the principle of “electron flow.” This means that electrons are controlled and manipulated to create a binary output. Before the transistor, all computers relied on an analog process.
An analog computer is a system that uses continuous variables. In an analog computer, signals are transferred by connecting and disconnecting discrete units of a computer system called resistors and capacitors. With this technology, computers could be designed with only discrete values and transitions.
This Transistors technology made it possible to design smaller, faster, and more powerful computers. They replaced the electromechanical relay as the main component of computers in the 1950s. This chip singlehandedly changed everything about the way computers were built and made it possible to reduce the size of computers. Companies started using transistors in second generation computers.
The Integrated Circuit (IC)
The integrated circuit, invented by Ted Hoff in 1958, would revolutionize computing. Prior to the integrated circuit, computers used components like the integrated circuit, discrete transistors, and a clock to create an electronic computer.
A computer would then construct a circuit using discrete parts and a clock to create a larger system than what was physically built on a piece of silicon. To make things worse, computers of the time relied on vacuum tubes that were susceptible to radiation damage. Simply put, the integrated circuit changed everything.
The integrated circuit allowed computers to be made much smaller and faster than ever before. It also made designing computers much simpler. With transistors being the same size as the pins on a microprocessor, designing a computer became much simpler.
In 1971, Intel released the first commercial microprocessor. The microprocessor, like the transistor, operates on the principle of “electron flow,” but this time the electrons are controlled by a switch.
A microprocessor is the smallest and most basic computer element. With the microprocessor, computers became smaller and faster. However, the microprocessor still relied on the integrated circuit for some of its main functions. It takes all of the electronics necessary to power a computer and compacts it into a single chip.
For example, the microprocessor does not create its own memory. Instead, it accesses the memory of the integrated circuit that contains the memory. The microprocessor is also what makes a computer truly “small.” Modern smartphones and laptops are microprocessors.
Turing Machine and Computing Theory
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, British mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing created the Turing Machine. This is the model that is used to define modern computers.
The Turing Machine consists of a finite number of “states” that are connected by “transitions” that govern which “states” the Turing Machine will be in next. In 1952, Turing published a paper that laid the theoretical foundation for modern computing.
Turing also played an important role in the theory of computing. In 1950, Turing published a seminal paper known as “Computing Machinery and Intelligence.” Turing’s paper was groundbreaking for the world of computing because it proposed the idea of a finite set of instructions for a computer.
In this paper, Turing attempted to answer the question: “If a computer can produce a certain type of output given a certain set of inputs, what does its internal state look like?” In other words, what is the computing equivalent of an equation? Turing proposed that a computer is a Turing machine that runs on finite symbols.
Like Babbage, Turing was one of the pioneers of computer science and computing theory. Computing theory is the process that tries to answer the question “What does the world look like if we have a computer?” These are the questions that computer scientists try to answer when designing computers.
Babbage’s Difference Engine
In the mid-19th century, mathematician and computer pioneer Charles Babbage designed and built a mechanical numerical calculator called the Difference Engine. Babbage designed the Difference Engine with the intent of calculating and processing large amounts of numerical data.
This machine was not capable of performing operations like subtraction, or division. Only addition and multiplication were possible. The Difference Engine used modular components that could be changed or substituted to allow the machine to perform other arithmetic functions.
Babbage was one of the first people to try to build a machine that could perform large-scale calculations and process large amounts of numerical data. Babbage’s Difference Engine was the first electronic computer. It was not, however, the first computer. There had been attempts to build computers as far back as the 1890s.
The Instruction Set Computer
The Instruction Set Computer (ISC) is the first computer model introduced in 1961 by John W. Backus. It was a very simple and basic model that used binary code as its programming language. This means that all instructions are either “true” or “false”, which makes it easier for computers to understand and process.
It also helps to make computers faster, since it uses code that is more compact than other programming languages. The ISC is still used in some modern computers today, especially those that require a high level of security.
The ISC was a major step forward for computing technology because it opened the door for future advancements in computer programming.
The United States government awarded Intel Corporation a patent in 1974 for the integrated circuit, which was one of the most important inventions of the 20th century. Thus, it is fair to say that the integrated circuit helped to reduce the size of computers immensely. Computer technology is going more advanced and smaller in the future because of artificial intelligence.
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