A History of Modern Computing, second edition (History of Computing) | Paul E. Ceruzzi

Summary of: A History of Modern Computing, second edition (History of Computing)
By: Paul E. Ceruzzi


Embark on a fascinating journey through the evolution of modern computing in this summary of Paul E. Ceruzzi’s book, ‘A History of Modern Computing.’ From the invention of electronic digital computers such as ENIAC and UNIVAC to the development of commercial computing led by companies like IBM and Remington Rand, this summary reveals the crucial milestones and revolutionary technologies that have shaped the world of computer science. Discover how the relentless innovation of programming and software development have pushed the boundaries of computing capabilities and explore the historical context that shaped the emergence of minicomputers and personal computers as we know them today.

The Development of Computers

In the early days, the term “computer” referred to a person who solved equations. However, after 1945, the name was extended to machinery due to the emergence of a strong US consumer market. The development of increased computer power was also fueled by the Cold War against the Soviet Union. Commercial computing began from 1945-1956 with the development of ENIAC, an electronic calculator. The Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation developed the first UNIVAC in 1951, which was used by private corporations for inventory, logistics, and other data processing applications. IBM responded to UNIVAC with its 701, which was primarily used by defense contractors in the US Defense Department or by military aerospace firms. Together, UNIVAC and IBM 701 initiated the era of commercial-stored programming computing.

The Evolution of Computer Technology

The advancements in circuit technology led to the replacement of vacuum tubes with transistors in all processors resulting in better reliability and a lower operating cost. The new high-capacity memory units made computers cost-effective. IBM dominated the industry while its critics claimed the company was not an innovator. Software development improved with hardware development leading to the emergence of programming languages. The development of standardized languages like FORTRAN and COBOL was a breakthrough as it allowed the same program to run on different computers. The chapter also highlights the birth of mini-computers and the rise of independent original equipment manufacturers that purchased mini-computers and sold them under their brand names.

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