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The History of Computer Memory

By Edited May 18, 2016 0 0

The history of computer memory can be traced back to the year 1834. At this point in history computers were still the stuff of Science Fiction, however, this is where the conception of memory for machines began. In 1834 an "Analytical Engine" was created by Charles Babbage. Mr. Babbage's "Analytical Engine" was a precursor to the computer. It's "read-only" memory came about in the fashion of punch cards, much like ones used in common day voting in some states in the US.

Nearly one hundred years later in 1932 "drum memory" was invented in Austria by a man named Gustav Tauschek. A few brief years later a patent was made for mechanical memory by Konrad Zuse. In 1936 Konrad Zuse based his computer memory on sliding metal pieces.

Three years later in 1939, an inventor created a prototype for memory based in the usage of neon lighting. This man, Helmut Shcreyer made an extraordinary break through in his work with using lighting as a means for providing memory.

The evolution of memory that would eventually lead to the Random Access Memory or RAM for short, that is used in modern day computers continued to spring forth in the 1940's.

Using various techniques and proven methods from the inventors of the 1930's, the Berry Computer was created. The Berry Computer relied on two revolving drums for its first wave of memory which was 60 50-bit words, and then relied on punch cards for it's secondary wave of memory.

In Los Angeles in 1947, Frederick Viehe, patented a core memory that was based on magnetism. It was during this same year that several other inventors began to experiment and perfect magnetic drum memory. These inventors each did this independently of one another. An Wang, Kenneth Olsen, and Jay Forrester were all pioneers in this type of memory collection and creation.

Two years later in 1949 Jay Forrester continued his experimentation when he came up with the concept of how magnetic memory is used today. He did this with the use of wires that called on the cores. The work of Jay Forrester would later render all previous attempts at creating and working with memory obsolete. However, if it had not been for the trials and errors of those before him, Jay Forrester may never have been able to achieve the type of memory he created in 1949.

Running with 256 40-bit words of first hand memory and 16k words of memory on a drum, Ferranti Ltd. created the first official computer which only ended up selling eight units in the year of 1950 in which it was released.

This evolution and advancement in computer memory continued to blossom throughout the 1950's and 1960's.

Intel came on to the scene in 1969 when they created a chip that held 1 KB of Random Access Memory. In fact, this computer chip is the largest computer chip ever made to day.

Each of these inventors played a part in the history of computer memory. Without their dedication and dreams, computer memory as we know it to day would never have been created.



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