A precursor of the digital computer was the adding machine. It was developed in 1642 by the French philosopher Blaise Pascal. Analog computers started to be built at the beginning of the 20 century. Such machines were used for solving very difficult equations. During world wars mechanical analog computers were used in submarines and planes.

In the 1940s Howard Aiken, a Havard University mathematician, created the first digital computer. It was huge and primitive but it could solve equations without using any mechanical adding machine parts.

With the invention of microprocessors and transistors the evolution of the computers went on. 39861sse86vbq2j

Can a Computer Think?

It is said that computers only think because they are programmed to do so. When they solve a mathematical equation, they were programmed to solve it. Now we have the idea to build a computer complex enough to duplicate the human brain. Long before we approach a computer as complex as our brain, we will perhaps build a computer that is at least complex enough to create another computer more complex than itself. This more complex computer could create one still more complex and so on and so on. Once we pass a critical point where the computers are as complex as our brain, then it will not stop, the computers will surpass it. Then we have an intelligent computer. Will we be allowed to turn this computer, a thinking creature, off?

Bill Gates and his Internet

Bill Gates was born in Seattle 1958. He started his career in personal computer software when he began to program at the age of 13. His first program was for playing tic-tac-toe at school. At the age of 15 Bill Gates created a system to control the traffic in Seattle. In 1975 he left Harvard University to write programs. He developed BASIC for the first microcomputer. He always had the dream that all computers would join together to communicate; the idea of the Internet was born. This was the start of his path to success. sb861s9386vbbq

In 1977 Bill Gates and his friend Paul Allen founded Microsoft and with this company he started to write other versions of BASIC and other programs (DOS, Windows 3.1, ...) His company had a great success in selling those products.

Today Bill’s company is worth: $46,035,490,000 (That’s 46.04 billion).

In the time since March 13, 1986 Bill’s company worth has increased by 45 billion US dollars. Let’s look at how much Bill has made for each of these periods of time.

Unit of time
Dollars made during each of these periods (in $)

That means that Bill Gates could give 8 US dollars to every person on the planet (about 6 billion) and he would still have $ 40,301,396.00 left.

Let’s go back to the Interactive Network (Internet). The idea of the Internet is to connect all computers all over the world and to exchange news between companies. Today offices usually have a PC on every desk. Therefore we could buy all things per Internet by filling in a form and by clicking submit (Online – Shopping). Nowadays every bank has Internet access with the so called Online – Banking. You can do your money transfers at home at your PC.

Internet for everybody

In Austria 42% of the Households are equipped with a PC, 13% of them have a modem and 9% Internet. 9% are about 290,000 Internet connections. 56% of the Internet users are between 14 and 29 years old. 30% of the Internet users all over the world are women, in the German speaking part only 17.2% of the Internet users are women.


Learning on the Internet

Education and learning on computer and Internet perhaps will improve it. There have been a few changes since computers were developed in the early 1960s. Today in school calculators are used and also real PCs. In our school we also have an Internet connection, where we can get some information.

In a few towns in Alaska or in other northern states, where some houses or housing estates are far away from school, the children are taught by a teacher from the nearest big town with the help of the Internet connection. They use the so called Tele teaching, it’s a product for efficient video transfer on computer networks.

Nowadays there are also learning programs on the computer. For example there are some vocabulary trainers in Latin, English, Spanish, ...

In the end I want to tell you that a life without a computer wouldn’t be possible today. You have to think of all branches and places where computers are used nowadays. Can you imagine a life without

  • PCs

  • Mobile phones

  • Digital TV

  • Internet

  • Underground systems

  • Planes – air traffic navigation

  • ...