1.1 Introduction to Computers
We begin our introduction to computers with a brief history of howthey evolved. Although this course and the LCI’s A+ exam focuseson the modern electronic computer, many principles used in theearly computational machines still apply to their modernsuccessors. With a summary of stages in computer developmentand discussion of the role of today's computer professional, thischapter lays the foundation for the subsequent chapters that follow.
The Development of the Computer
In this lesson, we take a brief look at the development of thecomputer. By understanding its origins, you'll gain an appreciationfor both the complexity and simplicity of today's computers. Manyof us think only in terms of electronic computers, powered byelectricity. (If you can't plug it in, is it a computer?) But as thedefinition in
Funk & Wagnalls Standard College Dictionary
makesclear, to "compute" is to "ascertain (an amount or number) bycalculation or reckoning." In fact, the first computers wereinvented by the Chinese about 2500 years ago. They are called
and are still used throughout Asia today.