The computer as we know it today had its beginning with a 19th century English mathematics professor name Charles Babbage.

He designed the Analytical Engine and it was this design that the basic framework of the computers of today are based on.
Generally speaking, computers can be classified into three generations. Each generation lasted for a certain period of time, and each gave us either a new and improved computer or an improvement to the existing computer.

First generation: 1937 ? 1946 - In 1937 the first electronic digital computer was built by Dr. John V. Atanasoff and Clifford Berry. It was called the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC). In 1943 an electronic computer name the Colossus was built for the military. Other developments continued until in 1946 the first general? purpose digital computer, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) was built. It is said that this computer weighed 30 tons, and had 18,000 vacuum tubes which was used for processing. When this computer was turned on for the first time lights dim in sections of Philadelphia. Computers of this generation could only perform single task, and they had no operating system.
Second generation: 1947 ? 1962 - This generation of computers used transistors instead of vacuum tubes which were more reliable. In 1951 the first computer for commercial use was introduced to the public; the Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC 1). In 1953 the International Business Machine (IBM) 650 and 700 series computers made their mark in the computer world. During this generation of computers over 100 computer programming languages were developed, computers had memory and operating systems. Storage media such as tape and disk were in use also were printers for output.

Third generation: 1963 - present - The invention of integrated circuit brought us the third generation of computers. With this invention computers became smaller, more powerful more reliable and they are able to run many different programs at the same time. In1980 Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS-Dos) was born and in 1981 IBM introduced the personal computer (PC) for home and office use. Three years later Apple gave us the Macintosh computer with its icon driven interface and the 90s gave us Windows operating system.
As a result of the various improvements to the development of the computer we have seen the computer being used in all areas of life. It is a very useful tool that will continue to experience new development as time passes.

Von Neumann Architecture also known as the Von Neumann model, the computer consisted of a CPU, memory and I/O devices. The program is stored in the memory. The CPU fetches an instruction from the memory at a time and executes it.
Thus, the instructions are executed sequentially which is a slow process. Neumann m/c are called control flow computer because instruction are executed sequentially as controlled by a program counter. To increase the speed, parallel processing of computer have been developed in which serial CPU?s are connected in parallel to solve a problem. Even in parallel computers, the basic building blocks are Neumann processors.
The von Neumann architecture is a design model for a stored-program digital computer that uses a processing unit and a single separate storage structure to hold both instructions and data. It is named after mathematician and early computer scientist John von Neumann. Such a computer implements a universal Turing machine, and the common "referential model" of specifying sequential architectures, in contrast with parallel architectures.

One shared memory for instructions (program) and data with one data bus and one address bus between processor and memory. Instructions and data have to be fetched in sequential order (known as the Von Neuman Bottleneck), limiting the operation bandwidth. Its design is simpler than that of the Harvard architecture. It is mostly used to interface to external memory.

A computer can process data, pictures, sound and graphics. They can solve highly complicated problems quickly and accurately. A computer as shown in Fig. performs basically five major computer operations or functions irrespective of their size and make. These are
1) it accepts data or instructions by way of input,
2) it stores data,
3) it can process data as required by the user,
4) it gives results in the form of output, and
5) it controls all operations inside a computer.
We discuss below each of these Computer operations

Fig :Basic computer Operations

1. Input:This is the process of entering data and programs in to the computer system. You should know that computer is an electronic machine like any other machine which takes as inputs raw data and performs some processing giving out processed data. Therefore, the input unit takes data from us to the computer in an organized manner for processing.
2. Storage: The process of saving data and instructions permanently is known as storage. Data has to be fed into the system before the actual processing starts. It is because the processing speed of Central Processing Unit (CPU) is so fast that the data has to be provided to CPU with the same speed. Therefore the data is first stored in the storage unit for faster access and processing. This storage unit or the primary storage of the computer system is designed to do the above functionality. It provides space for storing data and instructions.
The storage unit performs the following major functions:
? All data and instructions are stored here before and after processing.
? Intermediate results of processing are also stored here.
3. Processing: The task of performing operations like arithmetic and logical operations is called processing. The Central Processing Unit (CPU) takes data and instructions from the storage unit and makes all sorts of calculations based on the instructions given and the type of data provided. It is then sent back to the storage unit.
4. Output: This is the process of producing results from the data for getting useful information. Similarly the output produced by the computer after processing must also be kept somewhere inside the computer before being given to you in human readable form. Again the output is also stored inside the computer for further processing.
5. Control: The manner how instructions are executed and the above operations are performed. Controlling of all operations like input, processing and output are performed by control unit. It takes care of step by step processing of all operations inside the computer.
In order to carry out the operations mentioned in the previous section the computer allocates the task between its various functional units. The computer system is divided into three separate units for its operation. They are
1) arithmetic logical unit
2) control unit.
3) central processing unit.
Arithmetic Logical Unit (ALU) Logical Unit
Logical Unit :After you enter data through the input device it is stored in the primary storage unit. The actual processing of the data and instruction are performed by Arithmetic Logical Unit. The major operations performed by the ALU are addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, logic and comparison. Data is transferred to ALU from storage unit when required. After processing the output is returned back to storage unit for further processing or getting stored.
Control Unit (CU)
The next component of computer is the Control Unit, which acts like the supervisor seeing that things are done in proper fashion. Control Unit is responsible for co ordinating various operations using time signal. The control unit determines the sequence in which computer programs and instructions are executed. Things like processing of programs stored in the main memory, interpretation of the instructions and issuing of signals for other units of the computer to execute them. It also acts as a switch board operator when several users access the computer simultaneously. Thereby it coordinates the activities of computer?s peripheral equipment as they perform the input and output.
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
The ALU and the CU of a computer system are jointly known as the central processing unit. You may call CPU as the brain of any computer system. It is just like brain that takes all major decisions, makes all sorts of calculations and directs different parts of the computer functions by activating and controlling the operations



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