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Computing History Part2


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  • 1.
    • “ The semiconductor density is the driving force, and as you reach new densities, new machines pop out.” Gordon Bell.
    • Advances in chip density made an impact on calculators.
    • Notable are HP-65, programmable calculators, introduced as a personal computer.
  • 2.
    • Created a market with long production runs, thereby getting economies of
    • scale and low price.
    • First consumer market for logic chips.
    • Unleasher creative force among users.
    • Led to the rise of “hacker culture” of MIT.
    • Led to the rise of user groups, support magazines etc, indicating that computing
    • was a mass phenomenon, as HP could not afford a trained sales force which could
    • train customers to get the best out of the product.
    • This kind of supporting infrastructure would later become critical to the industry,
    • and become an industry on its own.
  • 3. The Microprocessor
    • Gordon Moore, founder of Intel, noted that the number of transistors that one
    • could place on a single chip, doubled every year.
    • If enough transistors were placed on a single chip, it would make a general
    • computer
    • 1971, the first microprocessor was developed at Intel.
    • A general purpose chip with a few instructions, and most other operations
    • realised by a combination of these instructions.
  • 4. The role of hobbyists
    • Hobbyists played a key role in the development of the computing industry.
    • They made the microprocessor based systems practical.
    • A magazine announced a $400 kit, which one could assemble into a computer.
    • Once again this inspired extensive user support, and the lack of certain
    • capabilities inspired certain innovations, like the floppy disks.
    • BASIC was deverloped to fit into little memory, and yet gave impressive
    • performance
  • 5.
    • Augmenting Human Intellect
    • DEC bet the company on the VAX, with a virtual memory, and MIPS, which became a benchmark
    • POTS to OLTP -> a use of terminals for online access appeared, tailored for specific applications. Like the SABRE.
    • Wang Labs, paved the way for office automation, by developing word processing softwares.
    • Xerox PARC. Research done at the labs, defined interactive computing as we know it today. The Mouse, WIMP.
    • The move of research from universities to PARC, forced cost and marketing onto the products.
    • Steve Jobs and Wozniak developed the Apple II, which was one of the first instances where aesthetic considerations influenced design.
    • IBM PC influenced MS-DOS
  • 6.
    • The Clones.
    • Compaq, developed an IBM Compatible portable computer
    • Phoenix made an IBM Compatibe bios chip.
    • Soon, Dell and compaq would make more money selling IBM Compatible
    • machines than IBM would
    • The winner was MS, selling software to all.
    • This era brought S/w to the fore. H/w no longer became the driving force
    • Of computing.
  • 7.
    • UNIX and the NET
    • UNIX, developed at AT & T Bell labs, became the main reason for the
    • eclipsing of mainframes and minicomputers.
    • Provided an alternative to those ancient elephants. Small computers, networked
    • Together, would provide an alternative to those machines.
    • The network was the Ethernet, developed at PARC.
    • DEC, once again bet the company on VAX. Provided the VAX with small
    • computers networked together.
    • DEC phased out the PDP-10.
  • 8.
    • RISC Architectures.
    • Henessey and Patterson, developed the architecture.
    • Small number of instructions offered a way of improving processor speed.
    • SUN SPARC overcame any skepticism of the RISC.
    • With this, SUN took the advantage open systems, general purpose machines,
    • Offering good performance at low prices.
    • Ethernet.
    • Enabled the introduction of LAN’s, which paved the way for the PC to completely
    • Invade the corporate offices.
    • The internet. Descended from ARPAnet. Funding was from the ARPA and NSF.
    • GOPHER -> first routing protocol.
    • Mosaic -> Browser.
  • 9. Further developments. HTML, HTTP, www, hypertext. The internet is often described as the culmination of all developments in computing.