Digital Circuits - A Quick History

In the 1930's the predecessors of the computer were constructed from mechanical switches and relays. These were comparatively slow, large, and produved a great deal of heat. The next stage in the 1940's was the use of electronic diodes, and while these were better they were unreliable. The next stage was the result of the development in 1947 of the transistor which was much smaller, faster and cooler. Simple transistors were eventually replaced by integrated circuits (ICs) where the discrete circuit and transistors were engraved on boards that got smaller and smaller, and finally deposited on silicon to be put into a "chip". The "computer on a chip" was invented in about 1970.

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Last Updated 02/20/2000
©J.A.N. Lee, 2000