New Vs Old
The only real major difference between the computers of old and modern day computers were the number of executing instructions they were capable of doing, as well as the means to storing that date so that it could be retrieved, reused and edited/adapted and resaved in it’s different forms, so as the abilities of computers advanced the means to store data and software became a much needed necessity. In 1936 English mathematician, theoretical biologist, logician and cryptanalyst Alan Turing wrote a thesis on stored-program computers but though the paper was popular, it wasn’t until almost 10 years later in 1945 that Turing was final asked to join the National Physical Laboratory to set to work on his idea and though an elaborate report was drafted the machine never materialised. Many others upon hearing this set to work in the hope that they too could be the first to make this ground-breaking storage computer, but while this competition was going on a small fairly unknown company based in Castlefield, Manchester UK on 21st June 1948 had unintentionally introduced the first electronic stored program computer.
Image by Parrot of Doom on Wikipedia
The Baby or Manchester Baby was a Small-Scale Experimental Machine (SSEM), well small by the standards of the day, not by modern standards. It was created by Frederic C. Williams, Tom Kilburn and Geoff Tootill at the University of Manchester as a primitive testing tool to work alongside the Williams tube (the first form of computer memory in existence built by Williams and Kilburn in 1946), little did they know that the Baby working in conjunction with the Williams tube would demonstrate all the elements essential for electronic digital computers. The team then set to work on a more usable device and within months they had produced the Manchester Mark 1, however though the three men were able to design, develop, build and tweak the device it was fairly inoperable, it required the first of its type of operator to make it do amazing things, a programmer.
Image by United States Navy on Wikipedia
One of the first and the most recognised of these programmers was United States Navy rear admiral, Grace Hopper (née Murray) who pioneered the creation of a computer system program that takes one or multiple data sources and combines them into a single file, library, or other “object” executable files, Grace had essentially developed a program that translates computer code written in one programming language into another language. 🤯
Inevitably after this pinnacle moment the momentum in computer development ensued, however as these computers became more powerful they became bigger to the point you required entire buildings to house not even the most powerful of them, and not quite but almost an entire national grid was needed to power one. Come to think of it, that’s not actually all that different from today with vast data rooms with thousands of servers… But it was the number of large power hungry vacuum tubes that were the main issue, though they were the main source of converting energy to processing memory they took up too much space, therefore limiting what vacuum based computers could be applied to do, the computer needed an input/output amplify or switch just like the vacuum tube on a much smaller scale.
In 1926 Austro-Hungarian physicist Julius Edgar Lilienfeld had theorised a field effect transistor concept, how it would operate, how it should be designed… but as there was nothing at the time to test his concept on, the idea was shelved. By 1947 American physicists John Bardeen and Walter Brattain worked on an almost identical concept to Julius’s they called the point-contact transistor, the transistor which was exactly the same as those we use today, completely revolutionised not only computers but the entire field of electronics, there pretty much isn’t a modern electrical device in existence that doesn’t use one, they are the foundations of all semiconductors.
The first transistor based computer was in operation by 1953 and it wasn’t all that long after its launch that things went from strength to strength for computers. Computers not only helped people with their jobs, making calculations, communications… a whole lot quicker and with ease of use, they created jobs too, TLP Technology and the plethora of digital based companies like yours wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for these incredible individuals and their magnificent creative minds.
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