1. In 1948 due to the invention of transistors there appeared
the possibility to replace vacuum tubes. The transistor occupied
an important place on the way to computer development. The
potential advantage of the transistor over the vacuum tube was
almost as great as that of the vacuum tube over the relay. A tran
sistor can switch flows of electricity as fast as the vacuum tubes
used in computers, but the transistors use much less power than
equivalent vacuum tubes, and are considerably smaller. Transis
tors are less expensive and more reliable.They were mechani
cally rugged, had practically unlimited life and could do some
jobs better than electronic tubes. Transistors were made of crys-
tallic solid material called semiconductor.

With the transistor came the possibility of building computers with much greater complexity and speed.

2. The integrated circuit constituted another major step in
the development of computer technology. Until 1959 the
fundamental logical components of digital computers were the
individual electrical switches, first in the form of relays, then
vacuum tubes, then transistors. In the vacuum tubes and relay
stages, additional discrete components, such as resistors,
inductors, and capacitors were required in order to make the
whole system work. These components were generally each
about the same size as packaged transistors. Integrated circuit

. 64

technology permitted the elimination of some of these components and integration of most of the others on the same chip of semiconductor that contains the transistor. Thus the basic logic element the switch, or "flip-flop', which required two separate transistors and some resistors and capacitors in the early 1950s, could be packaged into a single small unit in 1960. The chip was an important achievement in the accelerating step of computer technology.

3. In 1974 a company in New Mexico, called Micro Instrumentation Telemetry System (MITS) developed the Altair 8800, a personal computer (PC) in a kit. The Altair had no keyboard, but a panel of switches with which to enter the information. Its capacity was less than one per cent that of the 1991 Hewlett-Packard handheld computer. But the Altair led to a revolution in computer electronics that continues today. Hardware manufacturers soon introduced personal computers, and software manufacturers began developing software to allow the computers to process words, manipulate data, and draw. During the 1980s computers became progressively smaller, better and cheaper.

Today the personal computer can serve as a work station for the individual. A wide array of computer functions are now accessible to people with no technical background.

13. . 12.



1. Computers and their_____ equipment are designed by

a computer system architect.

a) engineering;^)! accessory: c) specific

2. Digital computers use numbers instead of analogous phys-

ical _____ .

a) symbols; b) equipment; c) quantities

3. Systems_____ are usualy stored in read-only memory.

a) hardware; b) software; c) firmware

65 Unit 5. Computer Systems: An Overview

4. A computer is a machine with a complex network of elec-

tronic _____ that operate switches.

a) circuits; b) cores; c) characters

5. In modern electronic computers the_____ is the device

that acts as a switch.

a) integrated circuit; b) diode; c) transistor

6. A number of actions that convert data into useful infor-

mation is defined as_____ .

a) data; b) processing; c) data processing

7. Computers can store, organize and retrieve great amounts

of information, far beyond the____ of humans.

a) capacities; b) capabilities; c) accuracy

8. The analyst_______ a computer for solving problems,

while the computer system architect_____ computers.

a) requires; b) designs; c) uses

9. The use of______ computers will continue to increase

with the growth in applications of microprocessors and minicomputers.

a) analog; b) digital; c) hybrid

10._____________________________ The development of third generation computers became
possible due to the invention of____ .

a) integrated circuits; b) electronic tubes; c) transistors

2. , .

1. Computer a) a combination of interconnected

circuit elements produced in a chip to perform a definite function

2. Analog computer b) a sequence of instructions en-

abling the computer to solve a given task

3. Digital computer c) a tiny piece of silicon containing

1 complex electronic circuits used

inside all computers

4. Hardware d) a system which processes and

stores great amount of data solving problems of numerical computation

. 66

5. Software e) a device which can carry out rou-

tine mental tasks by performing simple operations at high speed

6. Program f) electronic and mechanical equip-

ment in a computer system

7. Programming g) a set of programs, procedures and

associated documentation

8. Integrated circuit h) the process of preparation a set of

coded instructions for a computer

9. Chip i) a device that has input and output

represented in the form of physical quantities

10. Transistor j) a small piece of a semiconductor

that greatly reduced power consumption of a circuit

3. , :


1. Computing is a concept (embraced;embracing; for embracing) not only arithmetics, but also computer literacy. 2. We can make the computer do what we want (inputted; to input; by inputting) signals (turning; turned; without turning) switches on and off. 3. Computers have a means (by communicating; of communicating; communicated) with the user. 4. Computers work according to the instructions (giving; given; to give) to it by users. 5. The transistor (inventing; invented; for inventing) in 1948 completely changed the vacuum tubes.


1. Computers (applied; are applied; are applying) for automatic piloting and automatic navigation. 2. The programs (write; have written; are written) to help people in the use of the computer system. 3. As digital computers (count; counted; are counted) quickly, they widely (use; used; are used) in business data processing. 4. Once data (entered; have entered; have been entered) correctly into the data processing system, the possibility of error (reduced; is reduced; are reduced). 5. It is known that an analyst (use; uses; is used) a computer to solve specific problems.

67 Unit 5. Computer Systems: An Overview

4. .


As it is well known, Russian scientists made great contribution into the development of computers. Russian mathematician P. Chebyshev who lived in the 19th century was interested in calculators. Among many other mechanisms invented by him there was an arithmometer designed in 1876. It was one of the most unique calculating machines of the time. At the beginning of the 20th century Academic A.Krylov constructed a mechanical integrator for solving differential equations.

The first Soviet computer, a small-size computing machine (MESM) was tested in 1950 under Academician S.Lebedev. Next year it was put into operation. In a year MESM was followed by BESM, a large-size electronic computing machine, with 8000 operations per second.

Serial production of computers in the USSR has been started since 1953. That year U.Basilevsky headed the design and manufacture of computer STRELA. 1958 witnessed the production of -.20, computers of the first generation under the guidance of S.Lebedev. The first generation of electron tube computers was followed by the second generation of foto transistor computers, using magnetic logic elements.

Starting with 1964 semiconductor computers

. 68

URAL, BESM-4 and M-220 were produced. Under Academician Glushkov small-size computers MIR, MIR-2 and DNEPR were designed and tested at the Institute of Cybernetics.

In the late 60s together with other members of the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance the Soviet Union started on the program of Unified Computer System, the program concerned with the third generation of computers with high-speed performance and program compatibility ().

1. What was one of the first achievements in the sphere of
calculating in Russia?

a) calculator; b) arithmometer; c) mechanical integrator

2. When was the first Soviet computer put into operation?
a) in 1950; b) in 1951; c) in 1952

3. Who headed the serial production of computers in the

a) A.Krylov; b) S.Lebedev; c) U. Basilevsky

4. Which machine was the first in the development of the first

generation computers?

a) MESM; b) STRELA; ) -20

5. When did the production of the third generation comput-

ers begin?

a) late 60s; b) early 70s; c) late 70s


I. Quiz-game "What do you know about computers?" (Who is the first to give the right answers to the questions below?)

1. What does "a computer-literate" person mean?

2. What is the role of computers in our society?
v?. What is electronics?


4. Where are electronic devices used?

5. What jnvention contributed to the appearance of

6. When and where was the transistor invented?

7. What advantages did the transistor have over the vacuum

8. When was the integrated circuit discovered?

69 Unit 5. Computer Systems: An Overview

9. What is the essence of the integrated circuit?

10. What is microelectronics?

11. What techniques does microelectronics use?

12. What scales of integration are known to you?

13. What do you understand by microminiaturization?

14. What was the very first calculating device?

15.Who gave the ideas for producing logarithm tables? 16.. Who invented the first calculating machine?

17. How was the first calculating machine called?

18. What was the first means of coding data?

19. What Business Corporation was the first to produce

20- In what fields were the first computers used? 2JU When was the first analog computer build? 22^ What was the name of the first digital computer? f3T)Who built the first digital computer? 24 What is ENIAC? Decode it.

25. Who contributed the idea of storing data and instructions
in binary code?

26. What does binary code mean?

27. What were computers of the first generation based on?

28. What invention contributed to the appearance of the
second generation computers?

29. What was the essence of the third computer generation?

30. What is the basis of the fourth computer generation?
5T) What is a computer?

"32. What are the main junciiom-of the computers?

33. What is a program?

34. What are data?

35. What is data processing?

$f& Name four advantages of computer data processing.

37. What is capacity storage?

38. What is hardware?

39. What is software?

40. Who designs computers?


: 2016-06-09

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