Unit 6. The role of computerization

I.1. Read the text.

What is a Computer

Computer is a universal instrument for processing information. Computer is a sort of electronic machine with a great variety of functions, such as calculating; storing, processing and producing information; manipulating numbers, letters and characters; typing. The word computer comes from a Latin word which means "to count".

The basic idea of a computer is that we can make the machine do what we want by inputting signals that turn certain switches on and turn others off. The basic job of computers is the processing of information.

For this reason, computers can be defined as devices which accept information in the form of instructions called a program and characters called data, perform mathematical and or logical operations on the information, and then supply results of these operations. The program, or part of it, which tells the computers what to do and the data, which provide the information needed to solve the problem, are kept inside the computer in a place called memory. Computers are thought to have many remarkable powers. However, most computers, whether large or small have three basic capabilities. First, computers have circuits for performing arithmetic operations, such as: addition, subtraction, division, multiplication and exponentiation. Second, computers have a means of communicating with the user. After all, if we couldn't feed information in and get results back, these machines wouldn't be of much use. However, certain computers (commonly minicomputers and microcomputers) are used to control directly things such as robots, aircraft navigation systems, medical instruments, etc.

Some of the most common methods of inputting information are to use disks, and terminals. The computer's input device (which might be a card reader, a tape drive or disk drive, depending on the medium used in inputting information) reads the information into the computer.

For outputting information, two common devices used are a printer which prints the new information on paper, or a CRT display screen which shows the results on a TV-like screen.

Third, computers have circuits which can make decisions. The kinds of decisions which computer circuits can make are not of the type: 'Who would win a war between two countries?' or 'Who is the richest person in the world?' Unfortunately, the computer can only decide three things, namely: Is one number less than another? Are two numbers equal? Is one number greater than another?

A computer can solve a series of problems and make hundreds, even thousands, of logical decisions without becoming tired or bored. It can find the solution to a problem in a fraction of the time it takes a human being to do the job. A computer can replace people in dull, routine tasks, but it has no originality; it works according to the instructions given to it and cannot exercise any value judgments. There are times when a computer seems to operate like a mechanical 'brain', but its achievements are limited by the minds of human beings. A computer cannot do anything unless a person tells it what to do and gives it the appropriate information; but because electric pulses can move at the speed of light, a computer can carry out vast numbers of arithmetic logical operations almost instantaneously. A person can do everything a computer can do, but in many cases that person would be dead long before the job was finished.

The first computers had been only institutional, in the sense that they were generally owned and used by companies, universities, and so on, rather than by individuals. Personal computer concepts emerged in the late 1970s.

The PCs, as originally and still defined, include not only the CPU and associated memory, but also a keyboard data entry, a cathode-ray tube, or other type of display and some permanent medium in which to store data and programs. Usually this storage medium involves a floppy disk. It may also include a hard disk which may be removable and no removable.

There are different kinds of computers. Some do only one job over and over again. These are special-purpose computers. But there are some computers that can do many different jobs. They are called general-purpose computers. These are the "big brains" that solve the most difficult problems of science.

Computers has changed the way people work, live and learn around the world.

2. Search the text for the English equivalents of the words and word-combinations listed below:

  1. – обработка информации,
  2. – электронная машина
  3. – происходит от
  4. – означает
  5. – казённый
  6. – владели и пользовались
  7. – появились
  8. – в конце 1970-х
  9. – действующую совместно
  10. – память
  11. – занесение данных
  12. – катодно-лучевая трубка
  13. – съемный – несъемный
  14. – различные виды
  15. – снова и снова
  16. – выполнять работу
  17. – "большие умы"
  18. – способ работы
  19. – жить и обучаться

3. Answer the following questions:

  1. How can you define a computer?
  2. What can a computer do?
  3. What does the word "institutional" mean?
  4. When did the concepts "personal computer" emerge?
  5. What are the component parts of a computer?
  6. What types of computers are mentioned in the text?
  7. Why are general-purpose computers called "big brains"?

Read the text and retell it

4. The computer age

In the nineteenth century, machines changed the world. Suddenly, people could travel more easily and communicate more quickly. Work changed, too, and many people got jobs in factories. It was the start of the Industrial Age.

The second half of the twentieth century saw the start of the Computer Age. At first, computers were very difficult to use, and only a few people understood them. But soon, computers began to appear in offices and then homes. Today, they are everywhere. Some people still say that they have never used a computer, but they probably use computers every day - they just do not realize it. This is because there are computers in so many ordinary things: cars, televisions, CD-players, washing machines.

When the first computers were built in the 1940s and 1950s, they were enormous. In fact, they were as big as a room. In 1949, the magazine Popular Mechanics made a prediction: 'One day, they said, 'computers will be really small; in fact, they will weigh less than 1.5 tonnes.' Now, computer chips can be as small as this letter O. Over the past fifty or sixty years, computers have changed much more than people thought possible.

5. Put the verb “to be” in the right form.

  1. There … no computers before the middle of the 20th century.
  2. I … a good specialist in programming after I finish my study.
  3. The first personal computer … made by IBM.
  4. The computers we use now … convenient and fast.
  5. Many people believe that new technologies … created soon.

6. Explain the meanings of the following words giving their definitions:

to change, to travel, to communicate, to use, to understand, easily, start, office, ordinary, enormous.

7. Choose many, much, little, a little, few, a few and insert them instead of the gaps.

  1. We can find … information on the Internet.
  2. I have … memory on my flesh card, I need another one.
  3. I know … about the history of computers. I want to know more.
  4. She bought … books on programming.
  5. We have got … computers in our computer class, we need more.

8. Make the following numerals ordinal:

  1. Pascal was …(1) to build an arithmetic machine.
  2. My result was …(2) in our group.
  3. I`m interested what life will be in …(23) century.
  4. My friend`s birthday is on …(15) of October.
  5. He reached …(3) level in this game.

II.1. Read the text and do the exercises after it.

In the beginning

For thousands of years, humans have needed to count. Families needed to know how many animals, how much food and how much land they had. This information was important when people wanted to buy and sell things, and also when people died or got married. There were many different ways to count and write down the numbers. The Sumerians had three different ways: they used one for land, one for fruit and vegetables and one for animals. They could count, but they had no easy way to do calculations.

Around 1900 to 1800 ВС, the Babylonians invented a new way to count which used place values. This meant that two things decided the size of a number: the digits and their position. Today, we still use place values to count. We can write any number using only ten digits (0-9): for example, 134 means 1 x 100, 3 x 10, and 4x1. Computers also use place values when they do calculations. They only use two digits (0 and 1): for example, 11011 means 1 x 16, 1 x 8, 0 x 4, 1 x 2, and 1 x 1 (=27). Without place values, fast calculations are impossible.

Between 1000 and 500 ВС, the Babylonians invented the abacus. It used small stones which they put in lines. Each line of stones showed a different place value. To do calculations they moved stones from one line to another. Later, different kinds of abacuses were made. Some of them were made of wood and used coloured balls. (It is also possible that the abacus was first invented in China, but nobody really knows).

Although an abacus can be very fast, it is not really a machine because it does not do calculations automatically. In the seventeenth century, people began to build calculating machines. In 1640, the French mathematician Blaise Pascal made an Arithmetic Machine. He used it to count money. During the next ten years, Pascal made fifty more machines.

In the 1670s, a German called Leibnitz continued Pascal's work and made a better machine. Leibnitz's machine was called the Step Reckoner It could do more difficult calculations than Pascal's Arithmetic Machine. Interestingly, Leibnitz's machine only used two digits (0 and 1) for doing calculations - just like modern computers! In fact, calculating machines like Leibnitz's Step Reckoner were used for the next three hundred years, until cheap computers began to appear.

2. Open the brackets using the verbs in the appropriate form:

It historically (to happen) so, that people (to need) to count.

There (to be) several different ways to count.

Probably the Babylonians (to invent) the abacus.

People (not to use) modern numbers until the Romans (to begin) using them.

Famous French mathematician Pascal (to make) an Arithmetic Machine in 1640.

In 30 years other scientists (to continue) his work.

Step Reckoner (to able) to do calculations.

3. Say whether the following statements are true or false and correct the false ones.

  1. Humans didn`t need to count in ancient times.
  2. The Sumerians invented the modern way to count.
  3. Computers do not use the place value, though they do very fast calculations.
  4. There was only one kind of abacus which was used in different countries.
  5. Chinese people were the first to invent the abacus.
  6. Abacus could do calculations automatically so it was the first calculating machine.
  7. Pascal was not successful in making Arithmetic Machine. Leibnitz made it.

4. Choose “make of” or “make from” and put them into appropriate form.

  1. Most things ……plastic nowadays.
  2. My mother often ….. wonderful jam ……strawberries.
  3. This watch does not seem…… gold.
  4. Cheese …..milk.
  5. I can`t see through you. You ….not ……glass.

5. Explain the meaning of the following words:

to need, to use, to count, to invent, to appear, abacus, Arithmetic Machine, chip computer, Step Reckoner.

6. Translate into English:

Современный способ счёта был придуман вавилонянами. Использование поместной ценности чисел было уникальным изобретением. Абак появился между 1000 и 500 годами до н. э. Многие ученые работали над созданием вычислительных машин. Первый успешный образец был сделан Паскалем. Лейбниц продолжил работу Паскаля и сделал более совершенную машину. В начале XX века начали появляться компьютеры.

7. Make up your own story using the following words:

to make, to put, to build, to call, machine, place, abacus, computer.

8. Find antonyms to the following words:

to buy, to appear, to die, to get married, to move, easy, value, work, fast.

9. Choose the right variant of the verb:

1. Technicians …. to know the answers but …. to do calculations themselves.

a) did need; didn`t b) needed; not wanted c) needed; didn`t want d) did need, not wanted

2. People doing calculations …. computers.

a) called b) was called c) did called d) were called

3. Babbage …. to build a calculating machine, but …. it.

a) begined; didn`t finish b) began; didn`t finish c) did begin; not finished d) began; didn`t finished

4. Difference Engine …. in the Science Museum in London today.

a) is b) to be c) are d) –

5. Ada Lovelace …. the daughter of Lord Byron, and an excellent mathematician.

a) did be b) was c) were d) did

6. Zuse`s programs …. from old cinema films.

a) were made b) were make c) did made d) did make

10. Translate into English:

  1. Исторически слово «компьютер» означало человека, который делал вычисления и писал книги с ответами.
  2. Первая машина, способная совершать вычисления автоматически, была придумана Ваббеджем и построена работниками научного музея.
  3. Машина огромная: она весит почти 3 тонны, но она прекрасно работает до сих пор.
  4. Следующим изобретением Ваббеджа , тоже незаконченным, была Аналитическая машина.
  5. Большинство людей не понимали идей Ваббеджа, в отличие от Ады Ловелейс, которая написала первую компьютерную программу для его машин.
  6. Один из современных компьютерных языков был назван ADA в честь Ловелейс.
  7. Идеи Ваббеджа опережали свое время, только через сто лет ученые начали строить вычислительные машины.
  8. Конрад Зюс придумал машину, которая во многом напоминала современный компьютер, и писал программы для нее.

III.1. Read the article and match the paragraphs to the headings

Character/Likes/Plans Early Life, Introduction/Later Life.

IntroductionCharacterLikesPlansEarly lifeLater life

Everyone has heard of Bill Gates, one of the richest and most successful people in the world. Microsoft, the business he started with a friend in 1975, has become the world's largest computer software company, and Gates was the world's youngest billionaire, at the age of 31.

His full name is William Henry Gates III, and he was born on 28th October, 1955, in Seattle, USA. At school, he soon showed that he was very intelligent, and especially good at Maths and Science. His parents decided to send him to Lakeside, the private school where he first began to use computers. 13-year-old Bill Gates and his schoolfriend Paul Allen were soon spending all their time writing programs and learning about computers instead of doing their schoolwork! After finishing school in 1973, Bill went to Harvard, America's most famous university. The next year, he and Paul Allen wrote an operating program for the Aitair, one of the world's first microcomputers. The two friends started Microsoft in 1975, and Gates left Harvard. Before long, Microsoft was a major business success. Since then, the company has continued to grow, producing most of the world's leading PC software. One reason for his success is that Gates has always been very ambitious and hardworking. This has not left him much time for a normal personal life, but in 1994 he married Melinda French, a Microsoft employee, and in 1995 he wrote a best-selling book, The Road Ahead.

Bill has mixed feelings about spending so much time running Microsoft. "There are a lot of experiences I haven't had, but I do like my job," he says. When he does find time to relax, he likes puzzles, golf and reading about science. For such a rich person, his life is simple, and he spends little on himself and his family. When it comes to helping others, though, Gates is very generous. He has already given huge amounts of money to charity, and says that he plans to give away almost all of his wealth when he retires.

2. Read the article again and answer the questions.

  1. Who is Bill Gates?
  2. What have he and Paul Allen done together?
  3. Why has Gates been so successful?
  4. What does he do in his free time?
  5. What does he plan to do with all his money?

3. Explain the words in bold. Make your own sentences with them.

Find missing information in the text and complete the table

Full nameWilliam Henry Gates III
Born28 October, … in Seattle, USA
Early life

Very intelligent, especially good at Maths and Science

Parents sent him to Lakeside, a private school

Finished school in…

Later life

Went to Harvard

Started Microsoft in 1975 (with Paul Allen), left Harvard

Married Melinda French in …

Wrote the Road Ahead in …

CharacterAmbitious, hardworking, generous
LikesPuzzles, golf, reading about science
PlansTo give away almost all his wealth

IV.1. Use the information to talk about Bill Gates


  1. to retire – уйти на пенсию;
  2. wealth – богатство, состояние;
  3. charity – благотворительность;
  4. huge amounts – огромное количество;
  5. generous – щедрый;
  6. when it comes to – когда дело касается;
  7. to run – вести бизнес, управлять;
  8. employee – работник;
  9. ambitious – амбициозный;
  10. before long – вскоре;
  11. microcomputers – микрокомпьютеры (термин широко использовался в 1980-е годы);
  12. operating program – действующая, эксплуатируемая программа;
  13. intelligent – умный;
  14. billionaire – миллиардер;
  15. computer software – программное обеспечение;
  16. successful – успешный.

2. Read the text and do the exercises after it.

The future

I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.' This prediction in 1943 by T. J. Watson, the head of IBM. Today there are hundreds of millions PCs in homes all around the world. It is not easy to make predictions about computers! You can only look at the recent past and try to see where we are going in the future. Since the first computers were built in the 1940s, they have become smaller and more powerful every few years. Will computers get smaller and smaller in the future? Probably not, for two reasons, firstly, by the year 2020 the transistors on computer chips will be as small as possible. Secondly, a verу small personal computer is difficult to use (and easy to lose). At the moment, it is possible to build a computer which you can put in your pocket, or wear like a watch, perhaps this is as small as we need. A lot of computer scientists are thinking on Artificial Intelligence, this is software which makes computers think more like humans.

There are still many things which are very easy for humans but very difficult for computers: for example, understanding language. Some computers can understand words when a person speaks, but they cannot really have a conversation – they can only follow instructions. However, this kind of software is getting better every year. Soon, we will probably be able to talk to a computer in the same way that we talk to a friend. Computer scientists are also trying to build computers which can see. It is easy to make a computer with 'eyes', but very difficult for the computer to understand what it sees. Most people think that computers will do many different jobs in the world of the future – perhaps they will drive taxis or work in shops. But to do these jobs, they will need to see and understand the world around them.

Moore's Law says that the number of transistors on computer chips doubles every eighteen months. This has been true for the past thirty years but bу about 2020 we will have the smallest transistors possible. Then a new kind of computer will be necessary. At the moment, scientists are building the first quantum computers. In the future, these will be much faster and more powerful than any computer that we have now. Or perhaps a different kind оf a computer will appear before then. That is why it is difficult to make predictions about the future of computing: the future is often closer than you think it is.

3. Answer these questions:

  1. Was Watson`s prediction about computers right?
  2. What is Artificial Intelligence?
  3. What things are difficult for computers?
  4. Will computers get smaller and smaller in the future?
  5. Why will Moore's Law stop being true after the year 2020?
  6. Why is it difficult to make predictions about the future of computing?
  7. What kind of new computers are scientists building nowadays?

4. Use these words to join the sentences together.

although so because

  1. An abacus does calculations quickly. It does not do them automatically.
  2. The Bombe machine at Bletchley could not break the “Fish” code. They built a new machine called Colossus.
  3. The Apple 2 computer was very popular. IBM started to make personal computers.
  4. Computers are very good at chess. Chess is a mathematical game.
  5. Personal computers will probably not get much smaller. They will be too difficult to use and too easy to lose.

5. Find the words for these definitions:

  • saying what will happen in the future
  • an electronic switch
  • to get bigger by 100 per cent
  • very effective and can do a lot
  • software which makes computers think more like humans
  • something that always happens in nature or society, or a statement that describes this
  • someone who works or is trained in science

6. Put the words into right order to make sentences:

  1. it, about, not, easy, is, predictions, computers, to make;
  2. the first, the moment, quantum, scientists, at, are, building, computers;
  3. is, to build, a, possible, computer, you, which, can, it, pocket, in, put, your.

7. Translate into English:

  1. Очень сложно предсказывать будущее.
  2. Существует много вещей, которые компьютер выполнять не может.
  3. Станут ли компьютеры всё более мощными в будущем?
  4. Довольно легко создать компьютер, который может «видеть».
  5. Вполне возможно создать компьютер, который может сочинять музыку.
  6. С каждым годом компьютеры становятся все более разумными и мощными.
  7. Наверно, в ближайшем будущем компьютеры станут настолько удобными, на сколько это вообще возможно.
  8. Большинство учёных считает, что квантовые компьютеры будут более быстрыми, чем те, что есть сейчас.

8. Retell the text using these phrases:

to make predictions, become smaller and more powerful, be as small as possible, difficult to use, easy to lose, as small as we need, Artificial Intelligence, very easy for humans, have a conversation, doubles every eighteen months, do many different jobs, the smallest transistors possible, quantum computers, computer chip, artificial Intelligence.

9. Translate the sentences and word combinations with the infinitive.

A. Infinitive as an adverbial modifier.

1. Computers were designed to perform thousands of computations per second. 2. To make computers more reliable transistors were used. 3. They were applied to reduce computational time. 4. To integrate large numbers of circuit elements into a small chip, transistors should be reduced in size. 5. To use integrated circuit technology new computers were built. 6. Analytical engine was invented to store data.

B. Infinitive as an attribute.

The problem to be solved; the work to be finished; the cards to be punched; calculations to be performed; the machine to be shown at the exhibition; the device to be provided with the necessary facts; computers to be used for data processing; efforts to increase reliability; electronics to connect systems and subsystems; the speed of response to depend on the size of transistor; computers to perform thousands of calculations per second; vacuum tubes to control and amplify electric signals; these are circuits to use a large number of transistors; operations to be performed.

10. Analyze verbals and translate the following sentences.

1. Data are processed to become useful information. 2. We use the term data processing to include the resources applied for processing of information. 3. Resources required for accomplishing the processing of data are called data processing system. 4. Processing is a series of operations converting inputs into outputs. 5. Facilities are required to house the computer equipment. 6. Egyptians used the information to predict crop yields. 7. Information to be put into the computer for processing should be coded into ones and zeroes. 8. Processing is operations on data to convert them into useful information. 9. The first machines designed to manipulate punched card data were widely used for business data processing. 10. Hollerith built one machine to punch the holes and the other to tabulate the collected data.

11. Put down the sentences a) in the Past; b) in the Future.

1. Computers can replace people in dull routine work. 2. The program is a set of instructions that may also include data to be processed.3. Computer-controlled robots must increase the productivity of industry. 4. They can help in making different decisions. 5. The pupils may work with computers at the lessons. 6. Electric pulses can move at the speed of light. 7. Storage devices must have capacities for the input, output data and programs and for intermediate results. 8. Business minicomputers can perform to 100 million operations per second. 9. In order to solve scientific problems researchers must deal with the language of science — mathematics. 10. Programmers must write application programs in a way that computers can understand.

12. Read the article, give the heading to it and compose an abstract use the following phrases:

  1. The article deals with…
  2. As the title implies the article describes…
  3. It is specially noted…
  4. It is spoken in details…
  5. …are noted…
  6. It is reported…
  7. The text gives a valuable information on…
  8. Much attention is given to…
  9. It draws our attention to…
  10. …are discussed…
  11. …are examined…
  12. Data are given about…
  13. Conclusions are drawn...
  14. Recommendations are given…

The first all-electronic computer, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (ENIAC) was developed at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering of the University of Pennsylvania. It was developed as a result of a military need. J.Presper Eckert and John Mauchly proposed the machine to solve the problem of calculating firing tables for new weapons.

The ENIAC weighed 90 tons, its 18.000 vacuum tubes demanded 140 kilowatts of electric power. Although it was fully electronic, the ENIAC had two major shortcomings: it could store and manipulate only a very limited amount of information, and its programs were wired on board. Since its programs were hardwired – that is, the programs operating the computer were established by physically changing the patterns of the wires interconnecting the vacuum tubes – the machine was not so flexible in operation. These limitations made it difficult to detect errors and to change the programs. And yet, the project was successful and the ENIAC was used for many years to solve ballistic problems.

Although the idea of an automatic computing engine occurred first to Charles Babbage in 1832, it was more than a century later, in 1945, that John von Neumann set out the principles that fixed the pattern of computer design.

Dr. John von Neumann, professor of mathematics at the Prinston Institute of Advanced Study, together with P. Eckert, J. Mauchly and Goldstine became a project member of a new improved computer, the Electronic Discrete Variable Computer (EDVAC). Von Neumann was a major contributor to the project as he developed the concept of storing instructions as well as data in the memory of the computer. As a result it became possible to replace the writing board, which so seriously handicapped the operation of the ENIAC.

Von Neumann is also given a share of the credit for introducing the idea of storing both instructions and data in a binary code instead of decimal numbers or human-readable words.

P. Eckert and J. Mauchly left the EDVAC project to form their own company and built the UNIVAC I computer. UNIVAC stands for UNIVersal Automatic Computer. The first UNIVAC was installed in the Census Bureau in 1951, and it was used continuously for 10 years. From the University laboratories the computer finally entered the wider world in 1951 with the invention of first UNIVAC I. It was the first digital computer which was not "one of a kind", it was produced in quantity.

In 1952 IBM (International Business Machine) introduced the 701 commercial computer. Although limited in storage capacity by modern standards, the 701 could add a column of 10-digit numbers as tall as the Empire State Building in one second. Very soon improved models of the UNIVAC I and other 701-series machines were introduced. In 1953 IBM produced the IBM 650 which used a magnetic drum for storage and was popular with business and science.