From the History of the Computer

(1) IBM introduced the System/360 family of computers in 1964 and then dominated mainframe computing during the next decade for large-scale commercial, scientific, and military applications. The System/360 and its successor, the System/370, was a series of computer models of increasingpower that shared a common architecture so that programs written for one model could run on another. Also in 1964, Control Data Corporation introduced the CDC 6600 computer, which was the first supercomputer. It was popular with weapons laboratories, research organizations, and government agencies that required high performance. Today’s supercomputer manufacturers include Cray Research, NEC, Hitachi, and Fujitsu.

(2) Beginning in the late 1950s, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) built a series of smaller computers that it called minicomputers. These were less powerful than the mainframes, but they were inexpensive enough that companies could buy them instead of leasing them. The first successful model was the PDP-8 shipped in 1965. It used a typewriter-like device called a Teletype to input and edit programs and data. In 1970, DEC delivered its PDP-11 minicomputer, and in the late 1970s, it introduced its VAX line of computers. For the next decade, VAX computers were popular as departmental computers within many companies, organizations, and universities. By the close of the 20th century, however, the role of minicomputers had been mostly taken over by PCs and workstations.

(3) By the mid-1970s, microchips and microprocessors had drastically reduced the cost of the thousands of electronic components required in a computer. The first affordable desktop computer designed specifically for personal use was called the Altair 8800 and was sold by Micro Instrumentation Telemetry Systems in 1974. In 1977 Tandy Corporation became the first major electronics firm to produce a personal computer. They added a keyboard and monitor to their computer and offered a means of storing programs on a cassette recorder. Soon afterward, entrepreneur Steve Jobs and his engineer partner Stephen Wozniak founded a small company named Apple Computer. They introduced the Apple II computer in 1977. Its monitor supported relatively high-quality color graphics, and it had a floppy disk drive. The machine initially was popular for running video games. In 1979, Daniel Bricklin wrote an electronic spreadsheet program called VisiCalc that ran on the Apple II. Suddenly businesses had a legitimate reason to buy personal computers, and the era of personal computing began in earnest.

(4) IBM introduced its Personal Computer, or PC, in 1981. As a result of competition from the makers of clones (computersthat worked exactly like an IBM PC), the price of personal computers fell drastically. Today’s personal computer is 400 times faster than ENIAC, 3,000 times lighter, and several million dollars cheaper. By the late 1990s, it was possible to buy a powerful PC for less than 1,000 dollars. In rapid succession computers shrank from tabletop to lap-top and finally to palm size. With some personal computers, called pen-pads, people can even write directly on an etched-glass, liquid-crystal screen using a small electronic stylus, and words will appear on the screen in clean typescript.

(Britannica Student Encyclopedia Library)

1. Определите, является ли утверждение:

New programmes incredibly reduced the cost of electronic components of the computer.

a) истинным

b) ложным

c) в тексте нет информации

2. Определите, является ли утверждение:

With the help of the first computers people could reduce their work, play high-quality games and make complicated calculations.

a) истинным

b) ложным

c) в тексте нет информации

3. Определите, является ли утверждение:

Apple Computer was introduced at the beginning of the 20th century by CDC Corporation.

a) истинным

b) ложным

c) в тексте нет информации

4. Определите, является ли утверждение:

The first supercomputer was popular with different laboratories and organizations dealing with weapons and government.

a) истинным

b) ложным

c) в тексте нет информации

5. Укажите, какой части текста (1, 2, 3, 4) соответствует следующая информация:

The appearance of first minicomputers dates back to the middle of the 20th century.

a) 1

b) 2

c) 3

d) 4

6. Укажите, какой части текста (1, 2, 3, 4) соответствует следующая информация:

Nowadays personal computers are available not only to organizations and firms but to any individual.

a) 1

b) 2

c) 3

d) 4

7. Ответьте на вопрос:

What main devices were necessary for proper work of the first PC?

a) A keyboard, high-quality color graphics and video games.

b) The means of storing software, a monitor and an input device.

c) A floppy disk drive, electronic spreadsheet program and a monitor.

d) A cassette recorder, microchips and a microprocessor.

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