When did the computer appear?

The exact time of the invention of computers is very difficult to determine. Their predecessors – mechanical computers, such as abacus, were invented by man long before our era. However, the term “computer” itself is much younger and appeared only in the 20th century.

Along with machines with punched cards IBM 601 (1935), the first inventions of the German scientist Konrad Zuse played an important role in the history of the development of computer technology. Today, many believe that there are several first computers invented around the same time.

1936: Konrad Zuse and Z1

Model of the Z1 computer at the Deutsches Technical Museum Berlin
Model of the Z1 computer at the Deutsches Technical Museum Berlin

In 1936, Konrad Zuse began to develop the first programmable calculator, which was completed in 1938. Z1 was the first computer with binary code and worked with punched tape. But unfortunately, the mechanical parts of the calculator were very unreliable. A replica Z1 is in the Museum of Technology in Berlin.

1941: Konrad Zuse and Z3

The Z3 is the successor to the Z1 and was the first freely programmable computer that could be used for anything other than computing. Many historians believe that the Z3 is the world’s first functioning mainframe computer.

1946: First generation data processing systems


In 1946, researchers Eckert and Mauchly invented the first fully electronic computer ENIAC – Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (electronic digital integrator and computer). It was used by the US Army to calculate ballistic tables. ENIAC knew basic mathematical operations and could calculate square roots.

1956-1980: 2nd to 5th generation data processing systems

Programma 101
Programma 101

During these years, higher-level programming languages ​​were developed, as well as the principles of virtual memory operation, the first compatible computers, databases and multiprocessor systems appeared. The world’s first freely programmable desktop computer was created by Olivetti. In 1965, the Programma 101 electronic machine became available for purchase for $3,200.

1970-1974: Computer revolution

Xerox Alto
Xerox Alto

Microprocessors became cheaper, and during this period of time quite a lot of computer equipment was released to the market. The leading role here was played, first of all, by Intel and Fairchild. During these years, Intel created the first microcomputer: on November 15, 1971, the 4-bit Intel 4004 processor was introduced. In 1973, the Xerox Alto came out – the first computer with a graphical user interface (monitor), mouse and built-in Ethernet card.

1976-1979: microcomputers

Microcomputers became popular, new operating systems appeared, as well as floppy drives. Microsoft has established itself in the market. The first computer games and standard program names appeared. In 1978, the first 32-bit computer from DEC entered the market.

IBM 5100
IBM 5100

IBM developed the IBM 5100, the first “portable” computer weighing 25 kilograms. It had 16 kilobytes of RAM, a 16×64 display, and cost over $9,000. It was such a high price that did not allow the computer to establish itself in the market.

1980-1984: The first “real” PC

Atari 800XL
Atari 800XL

The 1980s saw the rise of “home computers” such as the Commodore VC20, Atari XL, or Amiga computers. IBM had a major impact on future PC generations with the introduction of the IBM PC in 1981. The IBM designated class of hardware is still valid today: the x86 processors are based on subsequent developments of the original IBM design.

There were many technical devices and manufacturers in the late 1970s, but IBM became the dominant supplier of computer hardware. In 1980, the company released the first “real” computer – he set the direction for the development of computer technology to the present. In 1982, IBM also brought Word, NetWare, and other applications we know to this day to market.

In 1983, the first Apple Macintosh appeared, focusing on user convenience. In 1984, the serial production of PCs in the USSR began. The first domestic computer that went into production was called “AGAT”.

1985/1986: further development of computer technology


In 1985, the 520ST came out. It was an extremely powerful Atari computer for the time. In the same years, the first minicomputer MicroVAX II was released. In 1986, IBM introduced a new operating system (OS/2) to the market.

1990: Emergence of Windows

On May 22, 1990, Windows 3.0 appeared, which was a big breakthrough for Microsoft in those years. In the first six months alone, about three million copies of the operating system were sold. The Internet began to be seen as a global means of communication.

1991-1995: Windows and Linux

As a result of progress, initially very expensive computers have become more affordable. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint applications have finally been merged into the Office package. In 1991, Finnish developer Linus Torvalds started working on Linux.

In many companies, Ethernet has become the data transmission standard. Thanks to the ability to connect computers to each other, the client-server model became more and more popular, allowing you to work on the network.

1996-2000: The Internet grows in importance

During these years, software scientist Tim Berners Lee developed the HTML markup language, the HTTP transfer protocol, and the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) to give each site a name and transfer content from the web server to the browser. Since 1995, many web editors have been available, allowing many people to create their own websites.

XXI century: further development

PowerMac G5
PowerMac G5

In 2003, Apple released the PowerMac G5. It was the first computer with a 64-bit processor. In 2005, Intel created the first dual-core processors.

In subsequent years, the main course of development was directed towards the development of multi-core processors, calculations on graphic chips and also tablet computers. Since 2005, they began to take into account environmental aspects in the further development of computer technology.

Latest technology: quantum computer

Today, scientists are working on quantum computers. These machines are based on qubits. How exactly quantum computers work, we told in our magazine and in this article.

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Photo: wikipedia.org, pxhere.com