Second Generation Computers (1956-1963)

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Second Generation Computers (1956-1963)

By 1948, the invention of the transistor greatly changed the computer’s development. The transistor replaced the large, cumbersome vacu­um tube in televisions, radios and computers. As a result, the size of electronic machinery has been shrinking ever since. The transistor was at work in the computer by 1956. Coupled with early advances in magnet­ic-core memory, transistors led to second generation computers that were smaller, faster, more reliable and more energy-efficient than their prede­cessors. The first large-scale machines to take advantage of this transis­tor technology were early supercomputers, Stretch by IBM and LARC by Sperry-Rand. These computers, both developed for atomic energy laboratories, could handle an enormous amount of data, a capability much in demand by atomic scientists. The machines were costly, howev­er, and tended to be too powerful for the business sector's computing needs, thereby limiting their attractiveness. Only two LARCs were ever installed: one in the Lawrence Radiation Labs in Livermore, California, lor which the computer was named (Livermore Atomic Research Com­puter) and the other at the U.S. Navy Research and Development Cent­er in Washington, D.C. Second generation computers replaced machine language with assembly language, allowing abbreviated programming eodes to replace long, difficult binary codes.

Throughout the early 1960's, there were a number of commercially successful second generation computers used in business, universities» and government from companies such as Burroughs, Control Data, Honeywell, IBM, Sperry-Rand, and others. These second generation computers were also of solid state design, and contained transistors in place of vacuum tubes. They also contained all the components we asso­ciate with the modern day computer: printers, tape storage, disk storage, memory, operating systems, and stored programs. One important ex­ample was the IBM 1401, which was universally accepted throughout industry, and is considered by many to be the Model Т of the computer industry. By 1965, most large business routinely processed financial in­formation using second generation computers.

It was the stored program and programming language that gave com­puters the flexibility to finally be cost effective and productive for busi­ness use. The stored program concept meant that instructions to run a computer for a specific function (known as a program) were held inside the computer's memory, and could quickly be replaced by a different set of instructions for a different function. A computer could print custom­er invoices and minutes later design products or calculate paychecks. More sophisticated high-level languages such as COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language) and FORTRAN (Formula Translator) came into common use during this time, and have expanded to the cur­rent day. These languages replaced cryptic binary machine code with words, sentences, and mathematical formulas, making it much easier to program a computer. New types of careers (programmer, analyst, and computer systems expert) and the entire software industry began with second generation computers.


2. Переведите на русский язык следующие английские словосочетания :

1) a general-purpose computer;

2) a broader achievement;

3) an electronic relay computer;

4) Elec­tronic Numerical Integrator;

5) stored memory;

6) machine language;

7) atomic scientists;

8) operating systems;

9) software industry;

10) high-level languages.

3. Найдите в тексте английские эквиваленты следующих словосочетаний:

1) технический прогресс;

2) компьютерная индустрия;

3) специальная задача;

4) современный компьютер;

5) компьютерная память;

6) лаборатории атомной энергии;

7) мощные компьютеры;

8) дизайн компьютера;

9) различные функции;

10) изобретение транзистора.


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