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38 Part 1½ Fundamentals Section 2½ The Computer Space

Science Foundation in 1959. Notice that the Harvard Mark machines, which were constructed from relays (hence electromechanical) are accorded the place of honor as first-generation (but Babbage is nowhere to be seen).

It is not appropriate to provide here an adequate history of computer technology. The early story has often been told, starting with Babbage and early mechanical calculators, through Hollerith punched cards, on to the relay calculators at Bell Laboratories and Harvard, up to the birth of electronic machines with ENIAC, and finally to the stored-program concept with the von Neumann machine at the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS), EDSAC at Cambridge University, and EDVAC at the University of Pennsylvania (with the contemporary developments by ZUSE in Germany often left out). The reader is referred to Rosen [1969] and Lavington [1975] for example histories of computers.

Our purpose here is to explore the fundamental principles in computer engineering that have evolved and multiplied. The computer space, for example, has a sufficient population density that significant trends can be noted and illustrated by actual machine example. The population density is also large enough to support several families of related1 computer structures. These families offer a unique opportunity to observe trends and project models in portions of the computer space where the values for major dimensions are held constant.

Figure 2 lists the computers covered in this book. The computer space in Table 1 and the time chart in Fig. 2 provide an overall framework for the book. We are now ready to consider each of the dimensions individually.


Lavington [1975]; Rosen [1969].

1Usua1ly via a compatible ISP.

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