What a computer can do?

People have always sought to facilitate their work. For this they invented a variety of devices, mechanisms and machines that enhance various physical capabilities. But very few mechanisms have helped a person to perform mental work. This can be tolerated for hundreds of years until most people were mainly engaged in physical labor. However, over the past few decades, everything changed. Now nearly half of all workers in developed countries are engaged exclusively in mental work. It was clear that no cars are able to drastically increase the mental abilities of a person, simply cannot do.

The first such machine appeared in 1945 It was called ENIAC and was intended to calculate artillery tables. Today, "smart" cars to millions. It's - electronic computers (PC). Often use another name: computers. They predict the weather and the football results, control the docking of spacecraft and equipment machines, playing chess and drawing cartoons. It is unlikely that among you there are people who never saw a computer, at least on TV.

Mysterious flashing lights, a huge tape recorders that suddenly the Artificial Intelligence of a sudden start frantically rewind the tape and just as suddenly stop, wonderful typewriters, working with great speed without any human intervention, waves of punched tape, punched cards a spectacular sight! Unfortunately, it clears up a little, what can computers.

In laboratory work you will sure that the computer has many abilities. One of them is the ability to mentally simulate the behavior of mechanisms in living beings and even objects which do not exist. You will see that this ability to some extent inherent in the computer. That's why using the computer is possible before the incarnation of the new plane in the metal to know its behavior in extreme weather conditions without pencil and paper on the disparate descriptions of witnesses to create a portrait of a criminal, without a teacher to learn to type on a typewriter.

Man, of course, a little to the car just possessed some of his abilities. After all, to exist in order for something to be better than humans: faster excavator will dig a trench, a crane will lift a greater load, the machine precisely carved detail. Electronic computer will put to shame any of you the ability to quickly and accurately calculate. Computers and was created primarily in order to free people from the cumbersome and tedious calculations.

But just a few decades ago there was a large army of people who have spent their working life was a calculation. Experienced evaluator spent on the execution of one arithmetic operation for about 20 seconds. Modern computers perform tens of millions of operations per second. In just 40 years thanks to computers the speed of calculations has increased hundreds of millions of times. For comparison, if the speed of the rocket as many times higher than the pedestrian speed, the missile would fly at the speed of light.

The performance of the computer made it easy to solve many practical problems, requiring heavy computations. Before the advent of computers the solution to each task was a real scientific feat.

So, the great mathematician L. Euler lost his sight after three days of hard work on the calculation of the trajectory of the comet. Computers can solve this problem in minutes.

Forever in the history of science has included the opening of the "pen tip" of the planet Neptune. U. Le Verrier calculated its trajectory, analyzing the results of observations of the planet Uranus. He spent on calculations more than three years. A computer would spend a few hours.

Similar calculations of the computer are permanently. After all, every day you need to calculate the trajectory of hundreds of satellites.

Of course, the work of Euler, Le Verrier, and other devotees were not in vain. Without methods of calculation created by them, many important problems would have remained unresolved, even if a computer was working millions of times faster. Some of these methods will be discussed in subsequent chapters.