Hominids started using primitive stone tools millions of years ago. The earliest stone tools were little more than a fractured rock, but approximately 75, years ago,  pressure flaking provided a way to make much finer work. Control of fire by early humans The discovery and utilization of firea simple energy source with many profound uses, was a turning point in the technological evolution of humankind. As the Paleolithic era progressed, dwellings became more sophisticated and more elaborate; as early as ka, humans were constructing temporary wood huts.
Both old and new materials were used increasingly in the engineering industry, which was transformed since the end of World War II by the introduction of control engineering, automation, and computerized techniques.
The vital piece of equipment has been the computer, especially the electronic… Computing basics The first computers were used primarily for numerical calculations. However, as any information can be numerically encoded, people soon realized that computers are capable of general-purpose information processing.
Their capacity to handle large amounts of data has extended the range and accuracy of weather forecasting. Their speed has allowed them to make decisions about routing telephone connections through a network and to control mechanical systems such as automobiles, nuclear reactors, and robotic surgical tools.
These questions might be about DNA sequences in genes, patterns of activity in a consumer market, or all the uses of a word in texts that have been stored in a database. Increasingly, computers can also learn and adapt as they operate.
Computers also have limitations, some of which are theoretical. For example, there are undecidable propositions whose truth cannot be determined within a given set of rules, such as the logical structure of a computer.
Other limitations reflect current technology. Human minds are skilled at recognizing spatial patterns—easily distinguishing among human faces, for instance—but this is a difficult task for computers, which must process information sequentially, rather than grasping details overall at a glance.
Another problematic area for computers involves natural language interactions. Because so much common knowledge and contextual information is assumed in ordinary human communication, researchers have yet to solve the problem of providing relevant information to general-purpose natural language programs.
Analog computers Analog computers use continuous physical magnitudes to represent quantitative information. At first they represented quantities with mechanical components see differential analyzer and integratorbut after World War II voltages were used; by the s digital computers had largely replaced them.
Nonetheless, analog computers, and some hybrid digital-analog systems, continued in use through the s in tasks such as aircraft and spaceflight simulation.
One advantage of analog computation is that it may be relatively simple to design and build an analog computer to solve a single problem. Their main disadvantages are that analog representations are limited in precision—typically a few decimal places but fewer in complex mechanisms—and general-purpose devices are expensive and not easily programmed.
Digital computers In contrast to analog computers, digital computers represent information in discrete form, generally as sequences of 0s and 1s binary digits, or bits. The modern era of digital computers began in the late s and early s in the United StatesBritain, and Germany.
The first devices used switches operated by electromagnets relays. Their programs were stored on punched paper tape or cards, and they had limited internal data storage. For historical developments, see the section Invention of the modern computer.
They were used by major corporations and government research laboratories, typically as the sole computer in the organization. These computers came to be called mainframes, though the term did not become common until smaller computers were built.
Mainframe computers were characterized by having for their time large storage capabilities, fast components, and powerful computational abilities.
They were highly reliable, and, because they frequently served vital needs in an organization, they were sometimes designed with redundant components that let them survive partial failures. Because they were complex systems, they were operated by a staff of systems programmers, who alone had access to the computer.
Such systems remain important today, though they are no longer the sole, or even primary, central computing resource of an organization, which will typically have hundreds or thousands of personal computers PCs.
Mainframes now provide high-capacity data storage for Internet servers, or, through time-sharing techniques, they allow hundreds or thousands of users to run programs simultaneously. Because of their current roles, these computers are now called servers rather than mainframes.
Supercomputer The most powerful computers of the day have typically been called supercomputers. They have historically been very expensive and their use limited to high-priority computations for government-sponsored research, such as nuclear simulations and weather modeling.
Today many of the computational techniques of early supercomputers are in common use in PCs. On the other hand, the design of costly, special-purpose processors for supercomputers has been supplanted by the use of large arrays of commodity processors from several dozen to over 8, operating in parallel over a high-speed communications network.
Minicomputer Although minicomputers date to the early s, the term was introduced in the mids. Relatively small and inexpensive, minicomputers were typically used in a single department of an organization and often dedicated to one task or shared by a small group.
Minicomputers generally had limited computational power, but they had excellent compatibility with various laboratory and industrial devices for collecting and inputting data. The DEC PDP, introduced incame in a variety of models, small and cheap enough to control a single manufacturing process and large enough for shared use in university computer centres; more thanwere sold.
However, the microcomputer overtook this market in the s. Microcomputer A microcomputer is a small computer built around a microprocessor integrated circuitor chip. Whereas the early minicomputers replaced vacuum tubes with discrete transistorsmicrocomputers and later minicomputers as well used microprocessors that integrated thousands or millions of transistors on a single chip.
In the Intel Corporation produced the first microprocessor, the Intelwhich was powerful enough to function as a computer although it was produced for use in a Japanese-made calculator.
In the first personal computerthe Altair, used a successor chip, the Intel microprocessor.The workforce is changing as businesses become global and technology erodes geographical and physical benjaminpohle.com organizations are critical to enabling this transition and can utilize next-generation tools and strategies to provide world-class support regardless of location, platform or device.
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