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Mainframe Computers

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Mainframe computing machine is defined by Webster lexicon, as a computing machine with it ’ s cabinet and internal circuits ; besides: a big fast computing machine that can manage multiple undertakings concurrently.1 The 2nd definition is likely more accurately because in the 1940s, there were a six computing machines, designed in gawky ways, utilizing expensive ( vacuum tubing ) constituents, devouring huge sums of power, which would take up big sums of floor infinite. No 1 in those yearss thought that more than a few twelve such machines would be required in the, universe.

This was the epoch of the mainframe, a big, expensive, cardinal processing unit designed to treat one occupation at a clip. The computing machines of the mainframe epoch cost a million dollars or more each. Because they were so expensive, they were in a cardinal location: one such computing machine would function the demands of an full authorities bureau ; a big corporation would hold a individual computing machine in its chief office.

Mainframes were managed by data-processing professionals-individuals that had grown up with the tab merchandise coevals of concern machines that were in widespread usage in the first half of this century. 2

Mainframes dominated the calculating universe from 1950 through the early 1970s. 3 One of the first mainframe computing machines and likely the most celebrated was ENIAC. The computing machine ( ENIAC ) was produced by a partnership between the U.S. authorities and the University of Pennsylvania. It consisted of 18,000 vacuity tubings, 70,000 resistances and 5 million soldered articulations. The computing machine was such a monolithic piece of machinery that it consumed 160 kW of electrical power, adequate energy to dip the visible radiations in an full subdivision of Philadelphia.4 It was developed by John Presper Eckert ( 1919-1995 ) and John W. Mauchly ( 1907-1980 ) . The mainframe computing machine was foremost used by the armed forces during World War II to interrupt codifications, calculate flight, and plan new weapons.5 These undertakings would hold been to clip devouring and boring for worlds, plus these machines were more accurate so any worlds.

The more current mainframes are computing machines that are designed for informations treating with heavy usage of I/O units such as large-capacity discs and pressmans ; they do non needfully use the most advanced hardware and package engineering. They have one to four processors, although some have a few more. Mainframes, such as the ES/9000 household of computing machines of the International Business Machines Corp. ( IBM ) , are used for such applications as paysheet calculations, accounting, concern minutess, information retrieval, and air hose place reservations.6


By 1948, the innovation of the transistor greatly changed the computing machine ’ s development. The first large-scale machines to take advantage of this transistor engineering were early the supercomputers. The first two supercomputers were by IBM and LARC by Sperry-Rand.7 These computing machines, both developed for atomic energy research labs, could manage an tremendous sum of informations, a capableness much in demand by atomic scientists. The machines were dearly-won, nevertheless, and tended to be excessively powerful for the concern sector ’ s calculating demands, thereby restricting their attraction. Merely two LARCs were of all time installed: one in the Lawrence Radiation Labs in Livermore, California, for which the computing machine was named ( Livermore Atomic Research Computer ) and the other at the U.S. Navy Research and Development Center in Washington, D.C. 8 By the clip it was the 1960 ’ s, there were a figure of commercially successful supercomputers used in concern, universities, and authorities from companies such as Burroughs Control Data, Honeywell, IBM, Sperry-Rand, and others. These supercomputers were besides of solid province design, and contained transistors in topographic point of vacuity tubings. They besides contained all the constituents we associate with the modern twenty-four hours computing machine: pressmans, tape storage, disc storage, memory, runing systems, and stored plans. One of import illustration was the IBM 1401, which was universally accepted throughout industry, and is considered by many to be the Model T of the computing machine industry.9

Supercomputers have certain distinguishing characteristics. Unlike conventional computing machines, they normally have more than one CPU ( cardinal treating unit ) , which contains circuits for construing plan instructions and put to deathing arithmetic and logic operations in proper sequence. The usage of several CPUs to accomplish high computational rates is required by the physical bounds of circuit engineering. Electronic signals can non go faster than the velocity of visible radiation, which therefore constitutes a cardinal velocity bound for signal transmittal and circuit shift. Rapid retrieval of stored informations and instructions is required to back up the highly high computational velocity of CPUs. Therefore, most supercomputers have a really big storage capacity, every bit good as a really fast input/output capableness.

Still another separating feature of supercomputers is their usage of vector arithmetic for illustration they are able to run on braces of lists of Numberss instead than on mere braces of numbers.10 For case, a typical supercomputer can multiply a list of hourly pay rates for a group of mill workers by a list of hours worked by members of that group to bring forth a list of dollars earned by each worker in approximately the same clip that it takes a regular computing machine to cipher the sum earned by merely one worker. Supercomputers were originally used in applications related to national security, including nuclear-weapons design and cryptanalysis. Today, the aerospace, crude oil, and automotive industries besides routinely employ them. In add-on, supercomputers have found broad application in countries affecting technology or scientific research, as, for illustration, in surveies of the construction of subatomic atoms and of the beginning and nature of the existence. Supercomputers have besides become an indispensable tool in conditions prediction: anticipations are now based on numerical theoretical accounts.

In general supercomputers outperforms mainframes. The ground for this is because supercomputers use multiple processors, uses most progress hardware, and the most beforehand package. As a consequence, the mainframe computing machines are now use for largely concern usage while supercomputers are used for scientific and technology usage.


During the 1970 ’ s big graduated table integrating ( LSI ) could suit 100s of constituents onto one chip.11 While early mainframes and their peripheral devices frequently took up the floor infinite of a house, minicomputers were about the size of a icebox or range. Minicomputers were smaller, cheaper, and simpler. Their operating systems were frequently designed to be particular intent instead than general intent. One of import country in which the minicomputer began to play an of import function was in support of laboratory systems: input, storage, and analysis of informations generated by laboratory instruments. One of the first of these systems was the LINC, standing for Laboratory Instrument Computer. Originally the LINC was designed and built at MIT. The LINC evolved into a commercial merchandise marketed by a fledgeling corporation named Digital Equipment Corporation, which grew to go the 2nd largest computing machine maker in the universe ( after IBM ) based on its success in the minicomputer field.

The minicomputer made it possible the usage of computing machines by groups who could non hold afforded to purchase mainframes. Although minicomputers were comparatively limited in power and reasonably expensive ( the cheapest likely cost someplace about $ 40,000 in their early yearss ) , they broke the dominant market of mainframes on calculating applications in authorities, industry, and particularly in universities.12 Prior to the handiness of minicomputers, research workers had no manner of utilizing computing machines to analyse research informations. Mainframes could non be linked straight to research lab instruments, and the information was excessively much to keypunch manually. Mainframes besides cost excessively much to be low-cost by sections or little companies. Minicomputers, such as the AS/400 household of IBM and the VAX household of the Digital Equipment Corp. ( DEC ) , were less expensive and offer lower public presentation than mainframes. Their capableness for managing I/O units is weaker than that of mainframes but stronger than that of personal computing machines. Minicomputers are used for scientific and technology calculations,

business-transaction processing, file handling, and database direction.

Personal computers

Personal computers are synonymous with PC ’ s, or personal computing machines. Personal computing machines are designed for single usage. In other words, the full machine is dedicated to the sole usage of a individual individual, whereas a supercomputer, mainframe, or minicomputer is shared by many users. Personal

computing machines, such as the PS/2 household of IBM, ringers of IBM ’ s PC household produced by a assortment of makers, and the Macintosh household of Apple Computer, Inc. , are less expensive and smaller than mainframes or minicomputers but have lower public presentation. They are suited for the mean single ’ s demands, such as document readying with artworks and simple concern computations.

Computers that became little and cheap plenty to be purchased by persons for usage in their places foremost became executable in the seventiess, when large-scale integrating made it possible to build a sufficiently powerful microprocessor on a individual semiconducting material bit. A little house named MITS made the first personal computing machine, the Altair. This computing machine, which used the Intel Corporation ’ s 8080 microprocessor, was developed in 1974. Though the Altair was popular among computing machine hobbyists, its commercial entreaty was limited, since buyers had to piece the machine from a kit.

The personal computing machine industry genuinely began in 1977, when Apple Computer, Inc. , founded by Steven P. Jobs and Stephen G. Wozniak, introduced the Apple II, one of the first pre-assembled, mass-produced personal computing machines. Radio Shack and Commodore Business Machines besides introduced personal computing machines that year.13 These machines used 8-bit microprocessors ( which procedure information in groups of 8 spots, or binary figures, at a clip ) and possessed instead limited memory capacity – i.e. , the ability to turn to a given measure of informations held in memory storage. But because personal computing machines were much less expensive than mainframes, they could be purchased by persons, little and moderate-sized concerns, and primary and secondary schools. The Apple II received a great encouragement in popularity when it became the host machine for VisiCalc, the first electronic spreadsheet ( computerized accounting plan ) . Other types of application package shortly developed for personal computing machines.

Personal computing machines are classified on the footing of size and portability. Personal computing machines that can be placed on top of a desk but are non really portable are called desktop computing machines. These were the first types of personal computing machines. This included a motherboard, mouse, keyboard, proctor, and other affiliated peripherals.

Portable computing machines are those personal computing machines that are light plenty to be easy transported. They are classified under as laptops or notebooks. Laptops are little plenty to suit on your lap and notebooks are the size of a book. One of the chief grounds computing machines have been able to go portable is level screen engineering. This type of show is advanced versions of the familiar liquid-crystal show used in digital ticker faces. They are basically two parallel sheets of thin glass holding the confronting sides coated with a transparent yet electrically carry oning movie such as In Sn oxide. 14The movie bed nearer the spectator is patterned, while the other bed is non. The infinite between the movies is filled with a fluid with unusual electrical and optical belongingss, so that, if an electrical field is established between the two thin movies, the molecules of the fluid line up in such a manner that the light-reflecting or light-transmitting belongingss of the assembly are radically changed. All flat-panel shows have these features in common, but the many different assortments exploit the electro-optical a high-performance computing machine system that is fundamentally designed for a individual user and has advanced artworks capablenesss, big storage capacity, and a powerful microprocessor ( cardinal treating unit ) .15 Another promotion that made laptops and notebooks possible is the miniaturisation of incorporate circuitry. The lone bound now is heat when it comes to size today.

Another type of Personal computer is a workstation. Workstations are more capable than an mean personal computing machine ( Personal computer ) . The term workstation is besides sometimes ascribed to dumb terminuss intending, without any processing capacity that are connected to mainframe computing machines. Most workstation microprocessors employ reduced direction set computer science ( RISC ) architecture, as opposed to the complex direction set computer science ( CISC ) used in most Personal computers. Because it reduces the figure of instructions for good stored in the microprocessor, RISC architecture streamlines and accelerates informations processing. Workstation microprocessors typically offer 32-bit addressing ( declarative of data-processing velocity ) , compared to the exponentially slower 16-bit systems found in most Personal computers. Some advanced workstations employ 64-bit processors, which possess four billion times the data-addressing capacity of 32-bit machines. Their natural processing power allows high-end workstations to suit high-resolution or 3-dimensional in writing interfaces, sophisticated multitask package, and advanced abilities to pass on with other computing machines. Workstations are used chiefly to execute computationally intensive scientific and technology undertakings. They have besides found favour in some complex fiscal and concern applications. Workstations are frequently tied in with server computing machines. Server computing machines are computing machines that have monolithic storage capablenesss. Server computing machines are ever found in webs. Server computing machine shops informations and portions it with other nodes, or workstations.

Another type of Personal computer is PDA or personal digital helper. PDA ’ s are pocketsize computing machine with a write-on screen alternatively of a keyboard. This type of Personal computer uses LCD engineering, which enables the user to compose on the screen with a stylus or navigate with a touch of a finger. This is the newest engineering and is pioneered by the Palm Pilot, which is made by 3Com. 16

The last type of computing machine is an industrial computing machine. This consists of mechanization by the computing machine. For illustration one of the most important developments in mechanization has been computer-aided design/computer-aided fabrication ( CAD/CAM ) . This engineering makes usage of computing machine systems to help in the creative activity and optimisation of a design every bit good as to command and supervise the procedures that are involved in fabricating a merchandise from that design. CAD/CAM engineering has been adopted by a figure of industries, peculiarly by those engaged in the industry of electronic equipment and machine components.17


Over the last 50 old ages enormous accomplishments have been made since the first computing machine. Personal computer ’ s have gone smaller, cheaper, and decidedly faster. Due to rapid progresss in engineering the computational ability no longer differentiates many smaller PC ’ s. For illustration a workstation ten old ages ago would be considered slower so today ’ s fastest laptop. The boundaries have been changed and they are swerving to those things that are faster and smaller. PDA ’ s are presently excessively expensive for the mean American, but ten old ages from now they will be every bit common as a desktop Personal computer. Technology is traveling at the most rapid gait it has of all time gone, and I ’ m glad I ’ m populating through it.

Bitter, Gary ; Macmillian Encyclopedia of Computers ; Macmillian Publishing Company ; 1992

Byte ; September 1995

Freed, Les ; The History of Computers ; Ziff-Davis Press ; 1995

Gassee, Jean-Louis ; The Third Apple ; Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich ; 1985

Kin Koph, Sherry ; Computers: A Ocular Encyclopedia ; Alpha Books ; 1994

Machine of the Year ; Time ; January 3, 1983

Mandell, Steven ; Dr. Mandell ’ s Ultimate Personal Computer Desk Reference ; Rawhide Press ; 1993

Moreau, Rene ; The Computer Comes of Age ; The MIT Press ; 1986

Polsson, Ken ; Chronology of Events in the History of Microcomputers

Ralston, Anthony and Edwin Reilly ; Encyclopedia of Computer Science ; Third Edition ; Van Nostrand Reinhold ; 1993

Smarte, Gene and Andrew Reinhardt ; 15 Old ages of Bits, Bytes, and Other Great Moments ; Byte ; September, 1990

Smith, Douglas and Robert Alexander ; Groping the Future ; William Morrow and Company ; 1988


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