The history of computer hardware and software

History of Computer Hardware and Software The essential of importance of computer hardware and software in the contemporary world cannot be overestimated. Today computers span the range of forms, from hand-size iPhones, to laptops, and large-scale government mainframes. However, the 20th century witnessed great change and evolution in the development of computer technology. This essay considers the history of computer hardware and software.
There is much debate surrounding the beginning of the computer. In large part, researchers agree that, early forms of computer technology began with efforts to develop counting mechanisms, such as abacuses (Ifrah, p. 9). This technology would later evolve to calculators and then primitive forms of computers. The first computer is believed to be the United States Army’s Ballistic Research Laboratory ENIAC, which was developed in 1946. This machine was extremely large and would evolve into more widely functional forms of computer technology, as vacuum tube machines gave way to transistor-based machines. Still, it wasn’t until the late 1970s and early 1980s that the modern computer emerged. The emergence of modern computer technology was allowed by a number of hardware developments. In these regards, the development of integrated circuit technology, and the later development of microprocessors, allowed the previously bulky and cumbersome dimensions of computer technology to be streamlined and formed into the personal home computer (Lavington, p. 98). In addition to these hardware components, the main historical shift between traditional computer technology and the modern computer has been identified as the ability of modern computers to be programmed. While this is a nebulous concept, the main understanding is that an individual is able to tell a modern computer to process a task and it will be able to carry out the command. Ultimately, these advancements in computer hardware technology have allowed the contemporary pervasive influence of computer technology.
While the development of computer hardware is primarily essential to the evolution of computer technology, software developments have made significant contributions. Perhaps the first computer software program was proposed by philosopher Alan Turing. John Turkey first used the term ‘software’ itself in 1958. In terms of the actual development of computer software, the first emergence occurred in 1946 with the ENIAC Army computer. In terms of software development, two major contributors in the late 20th century were IBM and Bill Gates. The 1980s publication of, the specification for the IBM Personal Computer was a pivotal development in the spectrum of software technology (Stoke, p. 32). The next major contribution to software came in the form of Bill Gates and Microsoft’s development of Windows. In addition to the significant computer gains, this development launched the division of computer hardware and software technology that has persisted to the contemporary market.
In conclusion, this essay has examined the historical development and evolution of computer hardware and software technology. In these regards, it has indicated that computer technology emerged with the ENIAC in 1946 and with future developments changed into modern computer technology. In terms of software the essay demonstrated that software also emerged in 1946, and witnessed significant changes in the late 20th century with contributions made by IBM and Microsoft.
References
Ifrah, G. The Universal History of Computing: From the Abacus to the Quantum
Computer. 2001. New York: John Wiley amp. Sons.
Lavington, S. A History of Computers (2 ed.). 1998. Swindon: The British Computer
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Stokes, J. Inside the Machine: An Illustrated Introduction to Microprocessors and
Computer Architecture. 2007. San Francisco: No Starch Press.