Computers of today

Pascal calculating machine
   In the 1600's, the French scientist Blaise Pascal had invented a machine that could perform arithmetical calculations. The idea intrigued scientists and engineers for the next 300 years. However, the necessary machinery was too large and cumbersome to have many applications.
   It was not until the 1950's that machines capable of storing and processing information quickly and compactly were developed. These computers rapidly made an impact on society and were improved from year to year. They not only operated ever more quickly, but they required a smaller and smaller amount of space to store gigantic amounts of information.
   By the mid-1980's computers performed many varied functions. They guided the flights of spacecraft and recorded every airline reservation in the world. They drew maps, kept accounts, and printed newspapers. Computers also played games with children, controlled the flow of fuel to a car's engine and solved complex mathematical questions. Problems in every field could be tackled that would have been considered impossible 60 years earlier.