Computers Concern You
When Ch. Babbage, a professor of mathematics as Cambridge University, invented the first ca machine in 1812 he could hardly have imagined the situations we find ourselves in today. Almost everything in modern world is done with the help of computers — the complicated descendants (потомки) of his simple machine. Computers arc being used more and more extensively in the world today, for the simple reason that they are tar more efficient than human beings. They have much better memories and can store (запоминать) great amount of information and they can do calculations in a fraction of the time required by a human mathematician. No man alive can do 500,000 sums in one second, but a modern computer can. In fact, computers can do many things we do, but faster and better. They can control machines at factories, work out tomorrow’s weather and even play chess, which poetry or compose music. Let’s look now at some of the ways which computers concern people in their daily lives and work. Many people associate computers with the world of science and mathematics, but they are also a great help to scholars in other subjects: in history, literature and so on. It s now possible for a scholar to find a book or an article he needs very quickly, which nowadays when million or more new books are pub1ished each year is quite an advantage. You tell the computer which subject you are interested in and it produces any microfiche (микрофише, диамикрокарта) you need in second.
There are also systems which are being developed to translate articles from foreign magazines by computer and to make up many lists of information which are needed a modern library. So, computer can help us to deal with the knowledge explosion in many ways. One can imagine a time when libraries will be run by computers, without human beings at all.
Or, let’s take another example. When a man drives a car for long distances he has two problems: to keep the car at a constant speed and watch that he does not run into the car in front of him. Engineers are now experimenting with a system which has a computer control of these two problems. The car’s computer keeps the speed constant. A the same time the distance between the car and any other car in front of it is measured by a beam of light transmitted forwards. The beam meets the rear reflectors of the car in front and it is reflected back, which enables to measure the distance. This information is fed to the computer which adjust its speed control accordingly.
Sir Isaac Newton was a supergenius of science who among other things invented calculus (исчисление) slated the laws of gravity and optics. But it turned out (оказываться) Newton also made mistakes. The University of Chicago announced recently that R.Garusto, 23, a physicist, had discovered in one of Newton’s calculations an error that had been undetected for three centuries.
The young scientist discovered it while he was studying Newton’s masterpiece (шедевр) of physics “Principia” (1687). Newton had derived (выводить) a figure for the Earth’s mass based on his new theory that a single force — gravity — governed (управлять) falling bodies on the Earth and the motion of planets around the Sun. The calculation depended on the angle (угол) between two lines from the Earth to the Sun, but because that angle was not exactly known at the time, Newton used slightly different figures in “Principia”. It was that mistake that the young scientist found, a discovery that was soon confirmed (подтвердить) by other physicists. The mistake has no influence on Newton’s theory, but its discovery was enough to get him a prize from the University of Chicago.
2. /The fastest computers of the...