A Strong Background in Computer Technology Will Benefit Future Engineers Computer technology has advanced dramatically over the past ten years. Technology has advanced from computers the size of a room that can only perform one particular task, to personal computers (PC's) that will fit on a desk and perform multiple tasks. Understanding computers and their programs and being able to apply that knowledge is very important in today's workplace. Engineering is a field that requires an extensive background in computer technology. Future engineers will benefit dramatically from having a strong background in computer technology. In order to understand why computers are important, we have to understand what a computer is and what it does. A computer is a device capable of performing a series of calculations or logical operations without human intervention. The computer is characterized by the number and complexity of operations it can perform and by its ability to process, store, and retrieve data ("Computers" 1). The development of computers began in the 19th century by British mathematician Charles Babbage (Eadie 3). Babbage designed, but did not build, a mechanical digital device capable of processing information as a modern computer does (4). In 1930 American scientist Vannevar Bush built a mechanically operated device, called a differential analyzer (4). It was the first general-purpose analog computer. Analog computers will be discussed later in this paper. The first information-processing digital computer actually built was the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator, or Mark I computer (4). Completed in 1944, this electromechanical device was designed by American engineer Howard Aiken (5). In 1946 the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, or ENIAC, was put into operation (5). Using thousands of electron tubes, it was the first electronic digital computer. In the late 1950s transistors replaced electron tubes in computers, allowing a reduction in the size and power consumption of computer components (5).