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4-Technical Understanding

Review videos

Computer History

How Computers Work

History of computers / graphic search engine

Answer the following questions using information from technology education websites or other online resources. Make certain that all information is in your own words. No credit can be given for information that is identical to that of another student or a web page.

               Contributors to the development of the computer: Select five individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of the computer. List the contribution(s) of each individual and briefly describe its importance. See technology education websites. Use a graphic search engine to find pictures of each.

Alan Turing (June 23, 1912 - June 7, 1954)

Alan Turing was a British mathematician and computer scientist who was highly influential in the development of computer systems.  He formalized the concepts of algorithms and computation in computer science and is often considered the father of computer science as well as artificial intelligence.  His "Turing machine" is considered the model of "general purpose computing." 

Lewis Fry Richardson (October 11, 1881 - September 30, 1953)

Lewis Fry RIchardson was an English mathematician, pacifist, and physicist.  He was one of the first pioneers to compute the techniques of what we now consider modern weather forecasting.  Similarly, he is known for his work with fractals as well as his method for solving linear equations called the "Richardson iteration."

Claude Shannon (April 30, 1916 - February 24, 2001)

Claude Shannon was a famous mathematician, electronic engineer who was known as the "The father of information Theory."  His information theory was created with a paper that he published in 1948, however, Shannon is also attributed with founding both digital computers and digital circuitry design when he was at M.I.T.  In his thesis, written in 1937, Shannon demonstrated that boolean algebra would be able to resolve any logical numerical relationship. This finding virtually created digital circuit design.  His electronic mouse was the first artificial device of its kind.  

Howard H. Aiken (March 8, 1900-March 14, 1973)

Howard Aiken was one of the forefathers of computing.  He was the individual behind the conceptual design of IBM's Harvard Mark I computer.  Aiken encountered differential equations in his work that could only be solved numerically.  He designed and built the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator or ASCC which later became the Harvard Mark I.  The Harvard Mark I was funded by IBM.  

Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906 - January 1, 1992)

Grace Hopper was an American computer scientist and US Naval Officer.  She wworked on the Harvard Mark I computer with Howard Aiken and developed the first computer programming language or compiler.  She thought of the idea for machine-based programming languages which eventually lead to the creation of COBOL which is one of the very first modern programming languages.  Hopper is often credited with the term "debugging" which stems from removing a moth from one of the computers.  

               Computer Generations: Computer historians have classified computers into "generations" in an effort to identify the major technological advances upon which the computers are built. Briefly identify the major features of each of the first five generations of computers. See technology education websites. Use a graphic search engine to find pictures of each.

First Generation: Vacuum Tube Computers (1940-1956)

Vacuum tubes, which were used for switching, made modern computing possible, however the cost and relative short lifespan for the tubes were factors that limited the vacuum tubes use.  The common thought was that vaccum tubes could never be used in a large format because too many of the tubes would fail in a short amount of time.  Later designers realized that if the valves were switched on and left on the tubes would last a relatively long time as long as their heaters were being run at a reduced current.  The Colossus computer and the ENIAC both used vacuum tubes.  These type of computers relied on machine language which is the lowest level programming understood by computers.  Their programming input relied on punch cards, tape and their output produced paper printouts.  

2nd Generation: Transistors (1956-1963)

A transistor computer is one that uses discreet transistors instead of vacuum tubes.  Vacuum tubes generated large amounts of heat and were unreliable as well as very space-consuming.  Transistor computers utilized magnetic memory cores and were widely used into the late 1960's, when integrated circuits began to be used.  

Transistor computers moved away from the machine driven binary language of their vacuum tube predecessors and used symbolic, or assembley languages which allowed programmers the ability to write instructions in words.  These were the first computers to utilize a core memory.  COBOL and FORTRAN were the high level computing languages at this time.  

3rd Generation: Integrated Circuits (1964-1971)

Integrated circuits were the cornerstone of the 3rd generation of computers.  Integrated circuits were basically miniaturized transistors that were placed on silicon chips called semiconductors.  The proximity of the transistors, as well as the ability to use a larger number of them in the same amount of space greatly increased the speed of computers.  It was during the 3rd generation of computing that users started interacting with the software using keyboards and monitors.  This allowed users to interact with various applications at a time as well having a central program that monitored memory.  These computers were smaller and more affordable than their predecessors which made them more available to the common user. 

4th Generation: Microprocessors (1971-Present)

The fourth generation of computers is dominated by microprocessors, which are essentially thousands of integrated circuits placed on a silicon chip.  The Intel 4004 chip, developed in 1971, located all the components of the computer—from the central processing unit and memory to input/output controls—on a single chip. 
In 1981 IBM introduced its first computer for the home user, and in 1984 Apple introduced the Macintosh. Microprocessors also moved out of the realm of desktop computers and into many areas of life as more and more everyday products began to use microprocessors.  Fourth generation computers also saw the development of GUIs, the mouse and handheld devices.

5th Generation: Artificial Intelligence (Present)

Artificial intelligence refers to intelligence built into robots and machines and is a branch of the computer science field.  AI is essentially anything that is artificial, or computer based that takes into account its surroundings and interacts with it and perceives its actions in order to achieve the greatest amount of success.  Artificial intelligence runs into various problems in the deduction, reasoning, and problem solving side of things because robots and computers are not adept at interpreting things on the symbolic level such as body language and voice inflection.  Another issue researchers run into is trying to create the ability of robots to learn.  Learning is a very complicated field and therefore very hard to build into something artificial.  

Computer knowledge

Teachers should be conversant with computer terminology and concepts that pertain to the use of technology in their classrooms.

               Take the following online quiz. You can use any resources you like to answer the questions. Include a screen capture of your certificate showing your grade. You may take the quiz repeatedly if you like. Note: This test was generated at . You will be given the opportunity to construct your own online quiz in the assignment on management.

Computer profile

The market for personal computers is very competitive, and manufacturers are continually working to develop better and more powerful systems. Unfortunately, you can not determine how powerful a computer is by looking at the outside. It is necessary to look at the system profile to determine the type of processor, memory, hard drive capacity, etc. Compare the system profile of the computer used in class with your computer at home on the following properties. You may want to refer to eHow or your OS Help menu to determine how to find this information on your computer.

               Compare the computer you use in the laboratory with the computer you use at home or work with respect to the following properties:

                                  Processor: (a) name of processor; (b) number of processors; (c) processor speed

My Computer                                         School Computer

(a)  Intel Core i7                                     (a)  Intel Core 2 Duo

(b)  1 processor                                      (b) 1  processor  

(c)  2 GHz                                               (c)  3.06 GHz

                                  Memory: (a) how much RAM; (b) speed of the RAM (how many MHz)

My Computer                                         School Computer

(a)  4 GB DDR3                                       (a)  2 GB DDR2 

(b)  1333 MHz                                        (b)  800 MHz

                                  Storage devices: (a) how many hard drives; (b) capacity of hard drives; (c) number and type of optical drives; type of hard drives (Firewire, USB, etc.)

My Computer                                         School Computer

(a)  1 HD Disk                                        (a)  1 HD Disk

(b)  500 GB                                            (b)  250 GB SATA HD

(c)  1 Firewire 800, 2 USB 3.0                 (c)  1 Firewire 800, 3 USB. 3.0

                                  Operating system: (a) OS; (b) service pack or version

My Computer                                         School Computer

(a)  OS X                                                 (a)  OS X 

(b)  10.6.8                                              (b)  10.5.8

                                  Monitor(s): (a) resolution; (b) video card

My Computer                                         School Computer

(a)  1440 x 900                                      (a)  1920 x 1200

(b)  Intel HD Graphics 3000                    (b)  NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS

Navigating the Internet

A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is the unique address which identifies a resource on the Internet for routing purposes. Know how to interpret URLs.

               Use a web-based traceroute program to trace the route between your computer and and a website outside of the United States. Include a screen shot showing a map and the text of the specific route taken when contacting the website. Compare your findings with those of others in the class. Are websites always located in the country in which they are registered? What does this show about the nature of Internet-based business and commerce? Traceroute programs can be used to track and graph web traffic to specific sites.

               Compare the connection in the CSUN laboratory with your connection at home or school. What are the IP addresses of the computers you are working with? What kind of connections are your working with (dial-up, DSL, cable, 100-Base TX (twisted-pair LAN), 100-Base FX (fiber LAN), etc.)? Compare are your connection speeds.

IP address:

IP address:
T3 Line

Most schools have developed Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) and have installed filters to keep student focused on education. Include text (scan or download is easiest) of your school's AUP and a description of the filters in place. If a school AUP is not available, provide a sample AUP, cite its source, and provide a link. If your are not working in a school, summarize how filters work.

Check out CSUN's AUP Here!