Text 7. Four Generations of computers

Text 7. Four Generations of computers

The first vacuum tubes computers are referred to as first generatlon computers, and the approximate period of their use was from 1950 to 1959. UNIVAC 1 (UNIVersal Automatic Computer) is an example of these computers which could perform thousands of calculations per second. Those devices were not оnly bulky, they were also unreliable. The thousands of vacuum tubes emitted large amounts of heat and burned out frequently. The transistor, a smaller and more reliable successor to the vacuum tube, was invented in 1948. So-called second genera­tion computers, which used large numbers of transistors were able to reduce computational time from milliseconds to microsec­onds, or millionths of seconds. Second-generation computers were smaller, faster and more reliable than first-generation com­puters.

Advances in electronics technology continued, and micro-electronics made it possible to reduce the size of transistors and integrate large numbers of circuit elements into very small chips of silicon. The computers that were designed to use integrated circuit technology were called third generation computers, and the approximate time span of these machines was from 1960 to 1979. They could perform many data processing operations in nanoseconds, which are billionths of seconds.

Fourth generation computers have now arrived, and the inte­rgrated circuits that are being developed were greatly re­duced in size. This is due to microminiaturization, which means that the circuits are much smaller than before; as many as 100 tiny circuits are placed now on a single chip. A chip is a square or rectangular piece of silicon, usually from 1/10 to 1/4 inch, upon which several layers of an integrated circuit are etched or imprinted, after which the circuit is encapsulated in plastic or metal.

Exercise 1. Find in the text the English for: приблизительный период, выполнять вычисления, устройство, громоздкий, ненадежный, излучать тепло, перегорать, надежный, преемник, снижать, время вычислений, прогресс, интегральная схема, размер, крошечный, квадратный, прямоугольный, дюйм, гравировать, заключать в капсулу.

Exercise 2. Correct the sentences.

1. The first generation computers could perform data processing operation in nanoseconds.

2. The second generation computers ‘s circuits were replaced on a single chip.

3. The third generation computers were bulky and unreliable.

4. The fourth generation computers had a computation time in microseconds.

5. A vacuum tube was invented in 1948

6. UNIVAC could perform hundred of operations per millisecond.

Exercise 3. Detect the grammar tense and voice of the predicates in the following sentences.

1. The first vacuum tubes computers are referred to as first generation computers.

2. The circuit is encapsulated in plastic or metal.

3. The transistor, a smaller and more reliable successor to the vacuum tube, was invented in 1948.

4. As many as 100 tiny circuits are placed now on a single chip.

5. The computers that were designed to use integrated circuit technology were called third generation computers.

6. Fourth generation computerswere greatly re­duced in size.

Exercise 4. Turn the sentences from exercise 3 into the Active Voice.

Exercise 5. Fill in the gaps.

1. The ______ ______ of the first generation computers’ use was from 1950 to 1959.

2. UNIVAC 1 is an example of these computers which could _____ thousands of _____ per second.

3. The thousands of vacuum tubes _____ large amounts of _____ and _____ frequently.

4. Second genera­tion computerwere able to _____ _____ _____ from milliseconds to microsec­onds.

5. 100 _____ circuits are placed now on a single chip.

6. A chip is a _____ or _____ piece of silicon, usually from 1/10 to 1/4 _____ .

Exercise 6. Arrange the words in A and B pairs of synonyms.

A. To perform, device, frequently, to reduce, advance, tiny, to etch, single.

B. The only, to make, to imprint, often, progress, to diminish, little, gadget.


Unit 2. What is a Computer?

Text 1. What is a Computer?


Computer is a device for processing information. Computer has no intelligence by itself and is called hardware. A computer system is a combination of four elements:





Software are the programmes that tell the hardware how to perform a task. Without software instructions, the hardware doesn't know what to do.

The basic job of the computer is the processing of information. Computers take information in the form of instructions called programmes and symbols called data. After that they perform various mathematical and logical operations, and then give the results (information). Computer is used to convert data into information. Computer is also used to store information in the digital form.


Exercise 1. Fill in the gaps.

1. Computer has no ……………………

2. A computer system is……………….

3. Without……………. Instructions …

4. Computer is used ………………… information in digital form

5. The basic job of the computer is ……

Exercise 2. Answer the questions.

1. What does the term "Computer" describe?

2. Is computer intelligent?

3. What are four components of computer system?

4. What is software?

5. What is the difference between software and hardware?

6. In what way do terms "information" and "data" differ?

7. How does computer convert data into information?

Exercise 3. Are the statements true or false? Give your arguments.

  1. Computer is made of electronic components so it is an electronic device.
  2. Computer has no intelligence until software is loaded.
  3. There are four elements of computer system: Software, hardware, diskette and data.
  4. Without software instructions hardware doesn't know what to do.
  5. The software is the most important component because it is made by people.
  6. The user inputs data into computer to get information as an output.


Text 2. Welcome to Computer World.

Many companies computerized their offices because computers can do work more quickly and accurately than people. The computer stores and finds information and does calculations. This work is called data processing. The part of the computer that processes the data (information) is called the central processing unit. It contains only electronic components called microchips.

A computer can only do what it is instructed to do. This instructions that are stored in a computer are called the computer programs. The parts of the computer used by most people are called terminals. The terminals consist of α keyboard, which looks like a typewriter, and a visual display units, which looks like a television. Information put into the computer on the keyboard is called input. When the computer shows the result of the data processing on the video display unit, it is called output.

When a computer goes wrong, it is usually because there is something wrong with the input. In other words it is a mistake made by a person not by a computer. This is sometimes called GIGO (Garbage in, Garbage out).


Exercise 1. Answer the questions on text 2.

  1. Why did many companies computerise their offices?
  2. What work does a computer do?
  3. How is this work called?
  4. What is the function of the central processor unit?
  5. What are computer programs?
  6. How does a keyboard look?
  7. Why does a computer go wrong?

Exercise 2. Find in text 2 all sentences with Passive Voice. Detect their grammar forms. Turn them into the Past simple and Future simple tense forms.

Exercise 3. Translate into English.

  1. Хранение, поиск информации и вычисления называется обработкой данных.
  2. Компьютер запрограммирован на выполнение различных операций.
  3. В компьютер заложены много разных программ.
  4. Информация, поступающая в компьютер, называется вводом.

5. Если ошибка сделана человеком, компьютер может дать сбой.

Text 3. Introduction to the WWW and the Internet.

Million of people around the world use the Internet to search for and retrieve information on all sorts of topics including arts, business, humanities, news, politics and recreation. People communicate through electronic mail (e-mail), discussion groups, chat channels and other means of informational exchange. They share information and make commercial and business transactions. All this activity is possible because tens of thousands of networks are connected to the Internet and exchange information in the same basic ways.

The World Wide Web (WWW) is a part of the Internet. But it is not a collection of networks. Rather, it is information that is connected or linked together like a web. You access this information through one interface or tool called a Web browser. The number of resources and services that are part of the World Wide Web is growing extremely fast. In 1996 there were more than 20 million users of the WWW. By using a computer terminal (hardware) connected to a network that is a part of the Internet, and by using a program (software) to browse or retrieve information that is a part of the World Wide Web, the people connected to the Internet and WWW through the local providers. Each browser provides a graphical interface. You move from place to place, from site to site on the Web by using a mouse to click on a portion of text, icon or region of the map. These items are called hyperlinks or links. Each link you select represents a document, an image, a video clip or an audio file somewhere on the Internet. The user doesn't need to know where it is, the browser follows the link.

All sorts of things are available on the WWW. One can use the WWW for the recreation purposes. Many TV and radio stations broadcast line on the WWW. Essentially, if something can be put into digital format and stored in a computer, then it's available on the WWW. You can even visit museums, gardens, cities throughout the world, learn foreign languages and meet new friends. And of course you can play computer games through WWW, competing with partners from other countries and continents.

Just a little bit of exploring the World Wide Web will show you what a much of use and fun it is.


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