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Реферат Dawn of the digital information era



Текст реферата Dawn of the digital information era

Dawn of the digital information era.
Successive waves of computing technology over the past 50 years have
led to huge changes in business and social life. But the internet
revolution is just beginning, writes Paul Taylor.
Thomas Watson, who founded one of the giants of the information
technology world, could not have been more wrong. In 1946, the head of
International Business Machines, said: "I think there is a world
market for maybe five computers." Today, half a century later, as we
head towards 1bn people with access to the internet, the true scale of
his miscalculation is apparent.
Computers, and the semiconductors that power them, have invaded
almost every aspect of our lives and become the engine for perhaps the
greatest changes since the industrial revolution the dawn of a digital
information era based upon the ones and zeros of computer binary code.
The last 50 years have seen at least three phases of computing, each
building on, rather than replacing, the last.
These "waves" have included mainframes and departmental
minicomputers, the PC era and client/server computing and, most
recently, the emergence of the internet computing model built around
the standards and technologies of the internet.
Each wave has enabled a shift in business processes: mainframes have
automated complex tasks, personal computers have provided users with
personal productivity tools and internet computing promises to deliver
huge gains in productivity and efficiency, as well as the ability to
access huge volumes of information.
The technological foundations for these changes began to be laid more
than 350 years ago by Blaise Pascal, the French scientist who built
the first adding machine which used a series of interconnected cogs to
add numbers. Almost 200 years later, in Britain Charles Babbage, the
"father of the computer", begun designing the steampowered analytical
engine which would have used punched cards for input and output and
included a memory unit, had it ever been completed.
But the modern computer age was really ushered in by Alan Turing who
in 1937 conceived of the concept of a "universal machine" able to
execute any algorithm a breakthrough which ultimately led to the
building of the codebreaking Colossus machine by the British during
the second world war.
In 1946, the Electronic Numeric Integrator and Calculator (ENIAC)
computer which contained 18,000 vacuum tubes was built in the US. Two
years later scientists at Manchester completed "Baby", the first
stored program machine and ushered in the commercial computing era.
Since then, computer architecture has largely followed principles
laid down by John von Neumann, a pioneer of computer science in the
1940s who made significant contributions to the development of logical
design and advocated the bit as a measurement of computer memory.
In 1964, IBM introduced the System/360, the first mainframe computer
family and ushered in what has been called the first wave of
computing.
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