The evolution of computers

Nowadays it is difficult to find someone who lives well without having access to a computer at home, isn’t it? This machine, however, underwent an improvement process before it became popular.

In the early 1950s, computers already existed, but they were very different from how we recognize them today. They were used to perform very complex calculations in a short time, and then were improved to improve their functionality.

Illustrations: Depositphotos

The first computer

Think about what it would be like if inside your house you had, in addition to the usual rooms, a room just to store a giant computer? A room for the machine only. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Yeah. The first computers, however, were intended only for calculations, used to solve specific problems and did occupy an entire room. ENIAC and UNIVAC were the first two computers.

They did not have standardized programming languages, so that each machine had its own and standardized programming language, that is, its own codes and, for new functions, it would be necessary to configure the entire computer again.

There was a very big problem of overheating of these computers that, instead of microprocessors like the current ones, used large electrical valves that, through pulses, allowed the amplification and the exchange of signals. The used on and off valves used indicated an instruction to the machine and, with a few hours of use, the valves burned out and needed to be replaced.

This need generated an expenditure of approximately 19,000 valves per year on a single computer. This made the equipment extremely expensive and unviable for most owners.

Precisely because they are not profitable and demand a lot of maintenance, the need to exchange the valves for another technology that fulfills the function without generating an overheating appeared as a form of research and advancement.

Smaller computers

Transistors were created in the year 1947, made of silicon, a material used abundantly until today. With this, the dimensions of the computer were reduced – the computers of this generation were 100 times smaller than those of the first – and, in addition, the machine became more economical.

The weight of 30 tons of the first machine was reduced to 890 kg and had more than ten thousand units sold.

The use of silicon, which has a high power of electrical conductivity superior to that of an insulator, but inferior to that of a conductor, became known as semiconductor, guaranteeing increases in the speed of operation, making longer tasks to be performed in a shorter time.

In the third generation, keyboards and monitors appeared for typing commands and visualizing systems. In this generation, the size was not reduced, and only at the end of the 1970s did the machines become a little more accessible. In this generation, the highlight was the ability to upgrade the machines, increasing capacity as needed.


Then we came to the computers of the fourth generation, to which the computers used today belong. The name microcomputers is used for computers that weigh less than 20 kg, facilitating transport and storage. These were reduced thanks to microprocessors, which were control and processing chips that made everyone’s life much easier, guaranteeing new possibilities for users.

In 1971, processors were created with this format, but it was only at the end of that decade that the first personal computers appeared on the market.

With the progress of computers and the inversely proportional question of the size of the components used to create computers, notebooks, the portable version of the fourth generation, appeared.

With this advance it became possible to upload documents, information, photos, files and programs everywhere, but this branch is still in constant evolution.


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