PC Hardware

Introduction to Computer

We begin our introduction to computers with a brief history of how they evolved. Although this course and the A+ exam focus on the modern electronic computer, many principles used in the early computational machines still apply to their modern successors. With a summary of computer development and discussion of the role of today's computer professional, this tutorial lays the foundation for the tutorials that follow.

Lesson 1: The Development of the Computer

In this lesson, we take a brief look at the development of the computer. By understanding its origins, you'll gain an appreciation for both the complexity and simplicity of today's computers.

After this lesson, you will be able to:
  • Describe the major milestones in the development of the modern computer.
Estimated lesson time: 15 minutes

Many of us think only in terms of electronic computers, powered by electricity. (If you can't plug it in, is it a computer?) But as the definition in Funk & Wagnalls Standard College Dictionary makes clear, to "compute" is to "ascertain (an amount or number) by calculation or reckoning." In fact, the first computers were invented by the Chinese about 2500 years ago. They are called abacuses and are still used throughout Asia today.