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THE HISTORY OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

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THE BEGINNING OF THE ELECTRONIC AGE

Some of the first attempts on creating the first computer was in the early 1940’s.  Two gentlemen that were key in succeeding in this task were J. Presper Eckert and John W. Mauchly.  They were a part of the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) team that essentially created the world’s first computer or electronical number calculator.  This project was created at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania and was funded by the U.S. Army.  This device was constructed with vacuum tubes and could not store its information.  (No hardrive)

The first computer (mark 1)It wasn’t until June 1948 until the first computer was able to store its information.  The machine was called The Manchester University Mark I.  These first generation machines were very large nearing the size of a grand piano.  Rotating magnets were used to create the first internal hardrives and vacuum tubes for their main logic elements that transmitted information.  Punch cards were also used to input the results of the data.  This was an exciting time for these early scientists when the British had surpassed the Americans. 

The second-generation computers were created in 1959.  Many elements in the first generation were replaced by new and improved items such as vacuum tubes were replaced by transistors.  Magnetic tape and disks replaced the old punch cards.  These were essentially the first circuit boards creating high-level programming languages.

The third generation of computers were created in 1964 and lasted all the way until 1979.  Some of the bigger milestones on these third generation machines were creating advanced programming languages.  Bill Gates and Microsoft got started during this period.

The first mac computerFourth and most important generation of electronic computers.  The birth of the personal computer.  1979 – present.  New circuits and microprocessors that allowed to contain memory on one single chip lead to the first personal computer PC.  This sparked a whole new market for these once colossal machines. Stephen Wozniak and Steven Jobs created the Mac II in 1977 and shortly after was IBM’s PC in 1981.  Bill Gates at Microsoft created the first operating system called MS-DOS which led to many smaller companies to create secondary software.  The first personal computer to be sold widespread to American homes was the Apple GUI, which debut in 1984.  Microsoft Windows took many attempts at a successful operating system and it wasn’t until the 3rd generation in 1990 that they saw their success.

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