И. Н. Мороз english for it students

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Unit B. History of Computers
1 Vocabulary

to calculate


to count


to add


in addition
to subtract


to divide

to multiply


to do sums

to sum up
to solve


to solve a problem

to figure out



to complete


to depend (on)






to design


to invent


to remove
vacuum tube
due to

except for

instead of

a) chose the correct translation:

  1. to invent

1) умножать 2) вычислять 3) конструировать 4) изобретать

  1. to save

1) сохранять 2) перемещать 3) вычитать 4) прибавлять

  1. to calculate

1) прибавлять 2) вычислять 3) умножать 4) сохранять

  1. dependence

1) умножение 2) вычисление 3) зависимость 4) развитие

  1. provide

1) перемещать завершать 3) обеспечивать 4) изобретать

  1. design

1) цифра 2) изобретение 3) проект 4) вычисление

  1. multiply

  1. делить 2) умножать 3) складывать 4) вычитать

        1. Match the words with their meanings:

In 1980, IBM decided that there was a market for 250,000 PCs, so they set up a special team to develop the first IBM PC. It went on sale in 1981 and set a world-wide standard for IBP-compatibility which, over the next ten years, was only seriously challenged by one other company, Apple Computers. Since then, over seventy million PCs made by IBM and other manufacturers have been sold. Over this period, PCs have become commodity items. Since IBM made the design non-proprietary, anyone can make them.

The history of the multi-billion dollar PC industry has been one of mistakes. Xerox Corporation funded the initial research on personal computers in their Palo Alto laboratory in California. However, the company failed to capitalize on this work, and the ideas that they put together went into the operating system developed for Apple's computers. This was a graphical interface: using a mouse, the user clicks on icons which represent the function to be performed.

The first IBM PC was developed using existing available electrical components. With IBM's badge on the box it became the standard machine for large corporations to purchase. When IBM were looking for an operating system, they went initially to Digital Research, who were market leaders in command-based operating systems (these are operating systems in which the users type in commands to perform a function). When the collaboration between IBM and Digital Research failed, IBM turned to Bill Gates, then 25 years old, to write their Operating system. Bill Gates founded Microsoft on the basis of the development of MS/DOS, the initial operating system for the IBM PC. Digital Research have continued to develop their operating system, DR/DOS, and it is considered by many people to be a better product than Microsoft's. However, without an endorsement from IBM, it has become a minor player in the market.

The original IBM PC had a minimum of 16K of memory, but this could be upgraded to 512K if necessary, and ran with a processor speed of 4.77MHz. Ten years later, in 1991, IBM were making PCs with 16Mb of memory, expandable to 64Mb, running with a processor speed of 33MHz. The cost of buying the hardware has come down considerably as the machines have become commodity items. Large companies are considering running major applications on PCs, something which, ten years ago, no one would have believed possible of a PC. In contrast, many computers in people’s homes are just used to play computer games.

The widespread availability of computers has in all probability changed the world for ever. The microchip technology which made the PC possible has put chips not only into computers, but also into washing-machines and cars. Some books may never be published in paper form, but may only be made available as part of public databases. Networks of computers are already being used to make information available on a world-wide scale.

e) Answer the questions using the facts from the text:
1. How many mainframes did IBM think it was possible to sell in 1952?

2. How many PCs have now been sold?

3. Who paid for the initial research into PCs?

4. Which company later used the results of this research to develop their operating system?

5. What are command-based operating systems?

6. DR/DOS is an acronym. What does it stand for?

7. Since the invention of the IBM PC, many of its features have been improved.

Which of the following features does the text not mention in this respect:

a memory

b speed

c size

d cost

8. Give three examples from the text of how the availability of computers has ‘in all probability changed the world for ever’.
f) Look through the text and find synonyms for the words:

  1. complete

  2. calculation

  3. subtraction

  4. except for

  5. provide

  6. semiconductor

  7. approximate

  8. add

  9. save

  10. digital

1) за исключением

2) приблизительный

3) обеспечивать

4) цифровой

5) сохранять

6) завершать

7) вычитание

8) прибавлять

9) полупроводник

10) вычисление

        1. complete the word combinations:

to solve …

a digital …

… tube

addition and …

… and multiplication

2 Reading
a) Read and translate the word combinations from the text:

the very first

calculating device

logarithm tables

digital computer

a million operations a second

reduced in size

the problem to be solved

b) Read the text, make notes of the main facts of the history of computers:
History of Computers.
Let us look at the history of the computers that we know today. The very first calculating device used was the ten fingers of a man’s hands. This, in fact, is why today we still count in tens and multiples of tens. Then the abacus was invented, a bead frame in which the beads are moved from left to right.

During the 17th and 18th centuries many people tried to find easy ways of calculating. J. Napier, a Scotsman, devised a mechanical way of multiplying and dividing, which is how the modern slide rule works. Henry Briggs and Napier’s ideas were to produce logarithm tables which all mathematicians use today. Calculus, another branch of mathematics, was independently invented by both Sir Isaac Newton, an Englishman, and Leibnitz, a German mathematician.

The first real calculating machine appeared in 1820 as a result of several people’s experiments. This type of machine, which saves a great deal of time and reduces the possibility of making mistakes, depends on series (ряд) of ten-toothed gear wheels (зубчатые колеса). In 1830 Charles Babbage, an Englishman, designed a machine that was called “The Analytical Engine”. This machine, which Babbage showed at the Paris Exhibition in 1855, was an attempt to cut out the human being altogether, except for providing the machine with the necessary facts about the problem to be solved. He never finished this work, but many of his ideas were the basis for building today’s computers.

In 1930, the first analog computer was built by an American named Vannevar Bush. This device was used in World War II to help aim guns. Mark I, the name given to the first digital computer, was completed in 1944. The men responsible for this invention were Professor Howard Aiken and some people from IBM. This was the first machine that could figure out long lists of mathematical problems, all at a very fast rate.

In 1946 two engineers at the University of Pennsylvania, J.Eckert and J.Mauchly, built the first digital computer using parts called vacuum tubes. They named their new invention ENIAC. Another important advancement in computers came in 1947, when John von Newmann developed the idea of keeping instructions for the computer inside the computer’s memory.

The first generation of computers, which used vacuum tubes, came out in 1950. Univac I is an example of this computers which could perform thousands of calculations per second. In 1960, the second generation of computers was developed and these could perform work ten times faster than their predecessors (предшественники). The reason for this extra speed was the use of transistors instead of vacuum tubes. Second-generation computers were smaller, faster and more dependable than first-generation computers. The third-generation computers appeared on the market in 1965. These computers could do a million calculations a second, which is 1000 times as many as first-generation computers. Unlike second-generation computers, these are controlled by tiny integrated circuits and are consequently smaller and more dependable. Fourth-generation computers have now arrived, and the integrated circuits that are being developed have been greatly reduced in size. This is due to microminiaturization, which means that the circuits are much smaller than before; as many as 1000 tiny circuits now fit onto 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, ceramic or metal. Fourth-generation computers are 50 times faster than third-generation computers and can complete approximately 1,000,000 instructions per second.

At the rate computer technology is growing, today’s computers might be obsolete in a couple of years. It has been said that if transport technology had developed as rapidly as computer technology, a trip across the Atlantic Ocean today would take a few seconds.
c) Look through the text and decide if the sentences are true (T) or false (F). Change the false sentences to make them true:

  1. The slide rule was invented hundreds of years ago.

  2. During the early 1880s, many people worked on inventing a mechanical calculating machine.

  3. Charles Babbage, an Englishman, can well be called the father of computers.

  4. The first computer was invented and built in the USA.

  5. Instructions used by computers have always been kept inside the computer’s memory.

  6. Using transistors instead of vacuum tubes did nothing to increase the speed at which calculations were done.

  7. As computers evolved, their size decreased and their dependability increased.

  8. Today’s computers have more circuits than previous computers.

  9. Computer technology has developed to a point from which new developments in the field will take a long time to come.

        1. Find synonyms:



a lot of



        1. Find antonyms:


a few

to include


still in use

  1. Match the words from A with the statements from B:


1) abacus

2) calculus

3) analog

4) digital computer

5) vacuum tubes

6) transistors

7) chip

8) microminiaturization

9) slide rule

10) logarithm tables


a) instrument used for doing multiplication and division

b) used in the first digital computers

c) an instrument used for counting

d) used in mathematics

e) circuitry of fourth-generation computers

f) invented by Americans in 1944

g) made computers smaller and faster

h) used to help aim guns

i) the reduction of circuitry onto a chip

j) a branch of mathematics.

  1. Complete the table using the information fro the text «History of Computers»:



Primitive times

Abacus invented

17th and 18th centuries

Henry Briggs produced logarithm tables

Charles Babbage designed


First use of vacuum tubes in


Second-generation computers using



3 Speaking
There are some more facts about the development of computing:

computer generation











vacuum tubes (valves)


integrated circuits (ICs)














First electronic computer built

transistor invented

First commercial computer out on sale

First minicomputer

Ics introduced

Add some more facts to this table and speak on the topic “History of Computing”.
5 Computer Types and Uses
Unit A. Kinds of Computers
1 Vocabulary


to suit


It suits me fine.

to improve


to fit



to cost

to sell (sold, sold)




to carry

to carry out


to record

to keep (kept, kept)
to appoint


to make an appointment with


according to


to share

broadly speaking

to remind


a) chose the correct translation:
1) pocket

a) ежедневник

b) карман

c) свет

d) исследование

2) heavy

a) подходящий

b) единственный

c) тяжелый

d) легкий

3) research

a) исследование

b) ежедневник

c) запись

d) мощность

4) suitable

a) единственный

b) широкий

c) подходящий

d) единственный

5) diary

a) ежедневник

b) карман

c) исследование

d) стоимость

6) single

a) подходящий

b) единственный

c) легкий

d) мощный

7) to improve

a) стоить

b) исследовать

c) выполнять

d) улучшать

8) light

a) легкий

b) единственный

c) подходящий

d) мощный

9) to appoint

a) подходить

b) назначать

c) стоить

d) продавать

10) to carry out

a) назначать

b) исследовать

c) выполнять

d) нести

        1. Match the words with their meanings:

1) power

2) entertainment

3) customs

4) fast

5) sale

6) tiny

7) staff

8) record

9) tax

10) account

a) таможня

b) крошечный

c) мощность

d) запись

e) налог

f) быстрый

g) счет

h) продажа

i) персонал

j) развлечение

с) Match the words with their definitions:

1) according to

2) custom

3) fit

4) share

5) palmtop

6) network

7) mainframe

8) laptop

9) multitasking
10) customize

a) the largest and most powerful type of computer

b) a way of behaving which a particular group or society has had for a long time

c) a small portable computer that can be held in one hand

d) to divide smth between two or more people

e) to change a system so that it works in the way the user wants

f) the largest type of portable computer

g) in a way that matches, follows or depends on smth

h) the ability of a computer to work on more than one task at the same time

i) a number of computers and other devices that are connected together so that equipment and information can be shared

j) be the right size or shape for smb/smth

2 comparing Computer Types
a) Match these names to the different types of computer:

1 mainframe

2 laptop

3 notebook

4 handheld

5 PC

6 minicomputer

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9

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