Text 5. Development of Electronics

Electronics is a field of engineering and applied physics deal­ing with the design and application of electronic circuits. The operation of circuits depends on the flow of electrons for gen­eration, transmission, reception and storage of information.

Today it is difficult to imagine our life without electronics. It surrounds us everywhere. Electronic devices are widely used in scientific research and industrial designing, they control the work of plants and power stations, calculate the trajectories of space-ships and help the people discover new phenomena of nature. Automatization of production processes and studies on living organisms became possible due to electronics.

The invention of vacuum tubes at the beginning of the 20th century was the starting point of the rapid growth of modern electronics. Vacuum tubes assisted in manipulation of signals. The development of a large variety of tubes designed for spe­cialized functions made possible the progress in radio commu­nication technology before the World War II and in the creation of early computers during and shortly after the war.

The transistor invented by American scientists W. Shockly, J. Bardeen and W. Brattain in 1948 completely replaced the vacuum tube. The transistor, a small piece of a semiconductor with three electrodes, had great advantages over the best vacuum tubes. It provided the same functions as the vacuum tube but at reduced weight, cost, power consumption, and with high reli­ability. With the invention of the transistor all essential circuit functions could be carried out inside solid bodies. The aim of creating electronic circuits with entirely solid-state components had finally been realized. Early transistors could respond at a rate of a few million times a second. This was fast enough to serve in radio circuits, but far below the speed needed for high­speed computers or for microwave communication systems.

The progress in semiconductor technology led to the devel­opment of the integrated circuit (1С), which was discovered due to the efforts of John Kilby in 1958. There appeared a new field of science — integrated electronics. The essence of it is batch processing. Instead of making, testing and assembling descrete components on a chip one at a time, large groupings of these components together with their interconnections were made all at a time. 1С greatly reduced the size of devices, lowered man­ufacturing costs and at the same time they provided high speed and increased reliability.

Exercise 1. Find in the text the words and combinations: прикладная физика; передача и прием информации; по­ток электронов; трудно представить; научные исследования; промышленное проектирование; вычислять траекторию кос­мических кораблей; обнаруживать явления природы; благо­даря электронике; отправная точка; способствовать управ­лению сигналами; быстрый рост; разнообразие ламп; создание первых компьютеров; полностью заменил; полу­проводниковый кристалл; уменьшить вес; сократить сто­имость; потребление электроэнергии; высокая надеж­ность; твердотельные компоненты; довольно быстро ... но гораздо ниже; высокоскоростной компьютер; микроволно­вые системы связи; полупроводниковая технология; об­ласть науки; интегральная схема; пакетная обработка; сборка дискретных компонентов на кристалле; снизить производственные затраты; обеспечить высокую скорость.

Exercise 2. Translate the following word combinations into Russian. Mind the order of translation.

Power consumption; power consumption change; signals manipulation; transistor invention; circuit functions; commu­nication systems, data processing system; integrated circuits development; science field; process control; automatization pro­cesses control; circuit components; size reduction; electronics development; communication means; problem solution; space exploration; pattern recognition; customers accounts; air traf­fic control.

Exercise 3.Answer the questions on the text.

1. What is electronics?

2. Can you imagine modern life with­out electronics?

3. Where are electronic devices used?

4. What was the beginning of electronics development?

5. What made the progress in radio communication technology possible?

6. What is the transistor?

7. When was the transistor invented?

8. What aim was realized with the invention of the transistor?

9. When were integrated circuits discovered?

10. What advan­tages did the transistors have over the vacuum tubes?


Before reading text 6, learn these terms

calculating device — вычислительное устройство

multiple — кратный

abacus — счеты

slide rule— логарифмическая линейка

logarithm table — логарифмическая таб­лица

calculus — исчисление; математический ана­лиз

general-purpose— общего назначения, универсальный

to cut out the human being altogether — полностью исклю­чить человека

to manipulate— обрабатывать, преобразо­вывать; управлять

data processing— обработка данных (ин­формации)

tabulate the census — занести данные по переписи (на­селения) в таблицу

means of coding— средства кодиро­вания (шифровки)

to punch the holes— пробивать отвер­стия

punched card— перфокарта

to perform— выполнять, производить (дей­ствие); осуществлять;

unit of data— единица информации

keyboard terminals — терминал (вывод) с клавишным управлением


Text 6. The First Computers

In 1930 the first analog computer was built by American named Vannevar Bush. This device was used in World War II to help aim guns.

Many technical developments of electronic digital computers took place in the 1940s and 1950s. Mark I, the name given to the first digital computer, was completed in 1944. The man responsible for this invention was Professor Howard Aiken. This was the first machine that could figure out long lists of mathe­matical problems at a very fast rate.

In 1946 two engineers at the University of Pennsilvania, J. Eckert and J. Maushly, built their digital computer with vacu­um tubes. They named their new invention ENIAC (the Elec­tronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator).

Another important achievement in developing computers came in 1947, when John von Neumann developed the idea of keeping instructions for the computer inside the computer's memory. The contribution of John von Neumann was particularly significant. As contrasted with Babbage's analytical engine, which was designed to store only data, von Neumann's machine, called the Electronic Discrete Variable Computer, or EDVAC, was able to store both data and instructions. He also contributed to the idea of storing data and instructions in a bi­nary code that uses only ones and zeros. This simplified com­puter design. Thus computers use two conditions, high voltage, and low voltage, to translate the symbols by which we communicate into unique combinations of electrical pulses. We refer to these combinations as codes.

Neumann's stored program computer as well as other machines of that time were made possible by the invention of the vacuum tube that could control and amplify electronic signals. Early computers, using vacuum tubes, could perform compu­tations in thousandths of seconds, called milliseconds, instead seconds required by mechanical devices.

Exercise 1. Find in the text the English for: цифровые компьютеры; технические усовершенствова­ния; совершенствование компьютеров; ответственный за изобретение; математические задачи; электронные трубки; важное достижение; запоминающее устройство; значи­тельный вклад; двоичный код; высокое напряжение; низ­кое напряжение; электрические импульсы; тысячная доля секунды, происходить; завершать; вычислять; хранить команды внутри компьютера; запоминать информацию; запоминать команды; содействовать; использовать единицу и ноль; упрощать дизайн; усиливать сигналы; выполнять вычис­ления.

Exercise 2. Answer the questions on the text.

I When was the first analog computer built? 2. Where and how was that computer used? 3. When did the first digital computer appear? 4. Who was the inventor of the first digital computer? 5. What could that device do? 6. What is ENIAC? Decode the word. 7. What was J. Neumann's contribution into the development of computers? 8. What were the advantages of EDVAC in comparison with ENIAC? 9. What does binary code mean? 10. Due to what invention could the first digital com­puters be built?

Exercise 3. Make up pairs of synonyms from the given words.

Verbs:to name, to complete, to calculate, to develop, to keep, to interprete, to communicate, to fulfill, to apply, to trans­late, to improve, to build, to call, to store, to communicate, to figure out, to perform, to use, to finish, to construct, to con­nect.

Nouns: speed, aim, storage, information, machine, signifi­cance, computation, data, device, rate, calculation, purpose, memory, importance.

Exercise 4.Fill in the gaps with proper words.

1. The first digital computer could____ a lot of mathe­matical problems at a fast 2. Vannevar Bush built the first______________________ computer in 1930. 3. Babbage's analytical engine was designed to data. 4. J.von Neumann invented a ma­chine that was able to _____ not only data but also . 5. Neumann the idea of storing data in a ____________ . 6. Computers use two conditions for __________ symbols. 7. The invention of _____ _____made computers possible to control and electronic signals. 8. Due to _____ ______ computers could perform ____________ much faster.

Exercise 5. Translate the following word combinations with the Infinitive.

I. Инфинитив в функции обстоятельства

I. Computers were designed to perform thousands of computations per second. 2. To make computers more reliable tran­sistors were used. 3. They were applied to reduce computational time. 4. To integrate large numbers of circuit elements into a small chip, transistors should be reduced in size. 5. To use in­tegrated circuit technology new computers were built. 6. Ana­lytical engine was invented to store data.

II. Инфинитив в функции определения

The problem to be solved; the work to be finished; the cards to be punched; calculations to be performed; the machine to be shown at the exhibition; the device to be provided with the necessary facts; computers to be used for data processing; efforts to increase reliability; electronics to connect systems and subsystems; the speed of response to depend on the size of transistor; computers to perform thousands of calculations per second; vacuum tubes to control and amplify electric signals; these are circuits to use a large number of transistors; operations to be performed.

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