Опубликованный материал нарушает ваши авторские права? Сообщите нам.
Вуз: Предмет: Файл:
3.02 Mб

Lesson two

I. Read text A attentively. Try to understand all details. Use a dictionary if necessary.

Text a The Generations of Computers

  1. Computer technology is one of the youngest and most dynamic branches of modern science and technology. From the 1940s to the present, the technology used to build computers has gone through several revolutions. People sometimes speak about of different generations of computers.

  2. The First Generation. First-generation computers prevailed in the 1940s and for much of the 1950s. They used electronic vacuum tubes for calculation, control, and sometimes for memory as well. First-generation machines used several other ingenious devices for memory. In one, for instance, information was stored as sound waves circulating in a column of mercury¹. All these first-generation memories are now obsolete.

  3. The Second Generation. In the late 1950s, the transistor became available to replace the vacuum tube. A transistor, which is only slightly larger than a kernel of corn2, generates little heat and enjoys long life. At about the same time, the magnetic-core memory was introduced. Information could be stored in core memory or retrieved from it in about a millionth of a second. Core memory dominated the high-speed memory scene for much of the second and third generations.

  4. The Third Generation. The early 1960s saw the introduction of integrated circuits, which incorporated hundreds of transistors on a single silicon chip. The chip itself was small enough to fit on the end of your finger. With integrated circuits, computers could be made even smaller, less expensive, and more reliable. Integrated circuits made possible minicomputers and tabletop computers.

  5. The most recent jump in computer technology came with the introduction of large-scale integrated circuits3, often referred to simply as chips. Whereas the older integrated circuits contained hundreds of transistors, the new ones contain thousands or tens of thousands. It is the large-scale integrated circuits that make possible the microprocessors and microcomputers. They also make possible compact, inexpensive, high-speed, high-capacity integrated-circuit memory. All these recent developments have resulted in a microprocessor revolution, which began in the middle 1970s and for which there is no end in sight.

  6. The Fourth Generation. In addition to the common applications of digital watches, pocket calculators, and personal computers, you can find microprocessors – the general-purpose processor-on-a-chip – in virtually every machine in the home or business – microwave ovens, cars, copy machines, TV sets, and so on. Computers today are hundred times smaller than those of the first generation, and a single chip is far more powerful than any computer of the first generation.

7. The Fifth Generation. The term was coined by the Japanese to describe the powerful, intelligent computers they wanted to build by the mid-1990s. Since then it has become an umbrella term4, encompassing many research fields in the computer industry. Key areas of ongoing research are artificial intelligence (AI), expert systems, and natural language.


  1. circulating in a column of mercury – циркулирующих в столбике ртути

  2. a kernel of corn – ядрышко хлебного зерна

  3. large-scale integrated circuits – интегральные схемы с большой степенью интеграции

  4. an umbrella term – всеохватывающий термин

II. Say whether the following statements are true or false:

1. Computer technology is one of the oldest branches of modern science and technology. 2. First-generation machines used not only vacuum tubes for memory. 3. All recent developments have resulted in a transistor. 4. Computers of today are hundred times smaller than those of the first generation.

III. Answer the following questions on paragraph 2:

1. When did the first generation of computers appear? 2. What did they use for calculations and control? 3. What were the disadvantages of the first-generation computers?

IV. Find the place in paragraph 3 containing the information about the transistor. Share this information with your group-mate.

V. In paragraphs 4 and 5 find the English equivalents of the following words and word-combinations. Use these words for describing large-scale integrated circuits:

схема; кремний; надежный, прочный; содержать, вмещать; иметь отношение, относиться; недавний, последний; скачок в компьютерной технологии; микропроцессор; память; сделать возможным.

VI. Translate paragraph 6.

  1. Read paragraph 7 and say what key areas of ongoing research are.

  2. Describe the advances in developing computers.

  3. Find Russian equivalents to the words in boxes of the logical diagram.


to be developed

to use

first generation


electronic vacuum tubes

second generation


discrete semiconductor devices

third generation


integrated circuits

fourth generation



fifth generation


artificial intelligence

X. Divide text A into logical parts and find the topical sentences in each part.

XI. Describe the generations of computers using the topical sentences and words from the logical diagram.

Тут вы можете оставить комментарий к выбранному абзацу или сообщить об ошибке.

Оставленные комментарии видны всем.