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					Université Ibn Zohr                                                         Teacher: Pr. A. Hermas
Faculté Polydisciplinaire de Taroudant

                                         THE COMPUTER

        A computer is a programmable machine that receives, stores, processes, and provides
data or information in a desired useful format.

       The first use of the word computer was in 1613. It meant a person who did
calculations, or computations, and the word continued to be used in that meaning until the
middle of the 20th century. From the end of the 19th century onwards, the word computer has
been used to describe a machine that does computations.

       The development of the modern-day computer was the result of advances in
technologies and man’s need to quantify. But who invented the computer? The answer to this
question is not simple. The real answer is that many scientists contributed to the history of
computers. A computer is a complex machine made up of different parts and each of them can
be considered a separate invention.

        Before the invention of the modern
computer, machines for doing calculation,
such as the abacus, have existed since
antiquity. In 1623, Wilhelm Schickard, a
German scientist, built the first mechanical

                                                             Schickard’s calculating machine

        In 1837, Charles Babbage, a British
mathematician and mechanical engineer,
was the first to invent a programmable
mechanical computer called an analytical
engine. It was this fusion of automatic
calculation with programmability that
produced the first recognizable computers.
However, all of the machines invented so
far were constrained to perform a single
task, or at best some of all possible tasks.                      Babbage’s analytical engine

        The first electronic computers, such as the American ENIAC, were developed in the
mid-20th century (1940-1945). They used electronic valves in their circuits. They were as big
as a large room and they consumed as much power as several hundred modern computers.
The ENIAC measured 5.48 metres by 24.38 metres and weighed 30 tons.

        In the 1950s, the transistor replaced the electronic valve (vaccum tube). This enabled
engineers to build much smaller, more powerful computers. In 1972, the Intel Corporation
built the first microprocessor. About ten years later, IBM introduced the first personal
computer (PC). Since then, microprocessors have become more and more powerful and all the
electronic components needed to build a computer have become cheaper and cheaper.
Université Ibn Zohr                                                           Teacher: Pr. A. Hermas
Faculté Polydisciplinaire de Taroudant

A. Choose the correct answer:
   The text is about:
   a. the prices of computers.           b. the history of computers.      c. the parts of computers

B. Answer these questions.
   1. What was the first meaning of ‘computer’?
   2. What was special about Babbage’s computer?
   3. What was the problem with computers in the 1940s?
   4. How did the transistor change computer technology?
   5. List four tasks a computer can do.

C. Answer true (T) or false (F) and justify.
   1. The computer was developed by a single genius scientist.
   2. Schickard invented an analytical electronic computer.
   3. The PC was first presented in the 1980s.

D. Fill in each blank with a word from the list:
                flying, computers, companies, mistakes, financial, bills, processing, railway
           There are several uses of computers. Word …………….is the most common. Here
    the software automatically corrects spelling and grammar……………….. . In banks, all
    …………….. transactions are done by computer. In travel, we can book air tickets or
    …………….. tickets and make hotel reservations online. In aviation schools, pilots train
    on software which simulates…………………. . In business, shops and supermarkets use
    software to scan code bars for prices and calculate the………….. . Thanks to……………,
    firms and ……………can do the biggest of mathematical calculations and statistics easily.

E. Rewrite the sentences in the correct order
    1. to major in / choose / for/ a variety of/ reasons/ Students/ computer science

    2. education / and/ Computer technology / medicine / physical sciences/ has helped

    3. Computers / biologists/ to understand/ genetics/ have enabled

    4. Hardware/ of the computer / the physical parts / such as/ the mouse/ means

    5. Software / the programs / the computer/ what to do/ is/ that tell

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