Computers in society.

Essay by ucef December 2005

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My report is on the development of the computer for personal use by home consumers and their impact on society. Computers were being developed as early as the 1800's and were more of a machine than a computer. The first digital computer that worked electronically was built by Clifford Berry and Dr. John V. Atanasoff in the late 30's and early 40's. The first computer as we know it was designed by Howard Aiken and built by IBM in 1944. This first computer was called the Mark I and was eight feet high and over fifty five feet long. It was made of steel and glass and was very unreliable and extremely noisy.

The beginning of the commercial computer age was in June of 1951. This was when the UNIVAC (universal automatic computer) was delivered to a client. The client was the U.S. bureau of the census and was to be used for calculating the previous years census.

This was the first time that a computer had been built for a business application rather than for the use of the military or for scientific or engineering use. These first computers came to be known as the first generation computers and used vacuum tubes, which were electronic tubes about the size of light bulbs as the internal computer components. However, due to the fact that literally thousands of these tubes were required, they generated enormous amounts of heat that caused many problems in the temperature regulation and climate control inside these computers. In addition every tube had to be working simultaneously in order for the computer to function and due to the short tube life (one failed every couple of hours) the computer operators didn't know if the problem was due to a programming error or the machine itself. These first...