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Engineersare gifted human beings, who through their skills and expertise makepeople’s lives better through their various achievements. Oneprimary achievement is the invention and development of the computer.According to Verma, Wooden Abacus is the first engineer to invent acomputer back in 3000B.C. 1.Since the invention of the computers, engineers have remained focusedon making the machine more innovative and useful. This essay aims topresent a brief overview of the history of computers and the role ofengineers in this groundbreaking achievement. The paper will thendiscuss the ways in which the computer has impacted on people’slives and the future development of this achievement.

Historicaloverview of computers

Asmentioned earlier in the introduction, Abacus is considered the firstcomputer engineer having invented a calculating tool that he namedafter his name2.Five thousand years ago, Abacus was invented in Asia Minor. Thesimple device enabled computations through the use of a system madeof sliding beads set on a frame. In 1642, another inventor BlaisePascal, 18 years old devised a simple machine, which came to be knownas the Pascaline3.The Pascaline could only execute addition computations of sums up toeight figures long.

In1694, a Mathematician and philosopher from German by the nameGottfried Von Leibniz invented an improved version of the Pascaline.Apart from addition complex computations, Leibniz`s machine couldalso do multiplications. In the year 1822, Charles Babbage createdthe difference engine4.The invention of the Difference Engine by Babbage inspired variousengineers to invent generation after generation of computers. Thefirst generation of computers, which primarily were vacuum tubes,lasted between 1940 to 1956. The second generation, made up ofcircuits, was invented between the year 1956 and 1964. The thirdgeneration, from 1964 to 1971 was mainly made up of created circuits.The current generation of computers imitates the human brain and ishighly intelligent. Currently, the computer has greatly improved,paving the way to the creation of light, portable devices such as theiPad and the laptops.

Therole of engineers in the invention and development of the computer

Engineershave played a primary role in the invention and development of thecomputer. Charles Babbage was the first engineer to make abreakthrough in the invention of the computer by creating thedifference engine. However, the engineer could not complete hisengine because of its convolution and size of its design. Alan Turingis another engineer, who despite not having designed a computer, mademajor milestones in the great achievement5. Turing developed the stage for the formulation of fundamentalalgorithms and invented a Turing machine with the capacity of gaugingthe intelligence of the computer. Another engineer who played a majorrole in the development of the computer is Konrad Zuse. Konrad was anengineer from German and he created the first electrical computer inthe year 1936. Konrad is recognized up to date for the development ofZ series of computers and the invention of the computer language.Since the beginning of the 19thcentury, many engineers have used their brains and creativity inimproving the computer to become more useful and efficient.

Theimpact of computers on the quality of people’s lives

Computeris an achievement that has greatly enhanced the quality of our lives.According to Higgins, Xiao and Katsipataki , the computer has greatlyenhanced communications through platforms such as emails, videoconferencing and mobile phones6. The computer has replaced paper record keeping and made life easierby making record keeping and data retrieval an easy task. Thecomputer has also enhanced people`s lives economically. The inventionand development of the computer have created many jobs such asInformation Technology, Computer Engineering, Computer Science toname but a few. The field that the computer has greatly impacted iseducation. Today, people rely on the computer for most of theirlearning and research7.In developed nations, the computer is used in executing significanttasks such as enhancing security, controlling traffic and preventingcrimes such as drug trafficking and illegal immigration.

Potentialfuture development and applications of the computer

Thecomputer is developing at a very fast speed. For the last fewdecades, the cost and size of the computer have been reducingtremendously. It is expected in future that the computer will beaffordable, and many households will own personal computers andwireless networks. According to Verma, the future technology willmake the home PC archaic and completely change it. For instance,currently, the modern television and appliances are web-enabled. Thefuture technology will blend computer appliances and make itavailable in each home. In the modern world, people are usinglaptops, netbooks, and ultrabooks. Despite their efficiencies andacceptance among the young generations, all these devices areexpected in the future, to become outdated. This is because thecurrent trend points to a future that will not rely on keyboards. Thefuture technology will not only make keyboards obsolete but also themouse, as a result of the invention of touchscreen technology.


Itis valid to conclude by pointing out that the computer is a keyachievement that has totally transformed people’s lives. The ideaof inventing the computer originated from early engineers such asAbacus and Babbage. With time, the computer has improved andtransformed from enormous machines that occupied a lot of space, tosmall and portable devices such as the netbooks and iPads. In future,the computer is expected to become more affordable, less reliant onkeyboards and mouse that will make the current devices out of date.It is expected that shortly, all computers will use the touchscreentechnology.


Higgins,Steven, Z. Xiao, and Maria Katsipataki.&quotThe impact of digital technology on learning: A summary forthe education endowment foundation.&quotDurham, UK: Education Endowment Foundation and Durham University(2012).VermaSamidha. InventionStory of Computer.2012. Available at:

1 Verma Samidha. Invention Story of Computer. 2012

2 Ibid, Par 2

3 Ibid, par 3

4 Ibid, par 4

5 Verma, Par 5

6 Higgins, Steven, Z. Xiao, and Maria Katsipataki. &quotThe impact of digital technology on learning: A summary for the education endowment foundation.&quot Durham, UK: Education Endowment Foundation and Durham University (2012).

7 Ibid, p.18