WHO’D HAVE THOUGHT?
I found this quotation the other day:
‘ Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18 000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1 000 vacuum tubes and perhaps weigh 1.5 tons.’
— Popular Mechanics, March 1949
It is interesting that, in the 1950s, I built a bedside radio with six vacuum tubes and, in the 1960s at varsity, transistors were first coming into use. In ’64 Wits had an IBM1100 computer in the faculty of engineering, which fitted into a room about 3 metres by 10 metres. The input output was by punched cards; each punch hole was binary 1 and no hole represented a binary 0. Our programme package was Fortran, which was simple logic: yes-no; and-or; nand-nor; If loops, etc.
The room was carefully air-conditioned and humidity- controlled. Today, all that and much more is contained in a pocket cellphone.