Computer education

HOW A CPU WORKS
INTRODUCTION
Function
Branching Instructions
Clock Pulses
Fixed-Point and Floating-Point Numbers

HISTORY
Early Computers
Transistor
The Integrated Circuit

Early Computers


In the first computers, CPUs were made of vacuum tubes and electric relays rather than microscopic transistors on computer chips. These early computers were immense and needed a great deal of power compared to todayís microprocessor-driven computers. The first general purpose electronic computer, the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer), was introduced in 1946 and filled a large room. About 18,000 vacuum tubes were used to build ENIACís CPU and input/output circuits. Between 1946 and 1956 all computers had bulky CPUs that consumed massive amounts of energy and needed continual maintenance, because the vacuum tubes burned out frequently and had to be replaced.

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