FAQ: History of Computer Science - You're telling me this is a Computer?

This community-built FAQ covers the “You’re telling me this is a Computer?” exercise from the lesson “History of Computer Science”.

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In the graph demonstrating Moores law - it appears that there was a slow down during the 90s? and early 00s? Is there an explanation for this?

Are transistors made by companies or do they grow by themselves?If they are made by companies then which i believe so, how was Moore able to predict that they would double every 2 years?

The first working silicon transistor was developed at Bell Labs on January 26, 1954 by Morris Tanenbaum. The first commercial silicon transistor was produced by Texas Instruments in 1954. This was the work of Gordon Teal, an expert in growing crystals of high purity, who had previously worked at Bell Labs


Note in particular the Type, which is partially defined by the crystalline substances of which they are composed. Crystals are grown, but not as transistors, per se.

A transistor is made up of three layers. The outer two layers are of the same charge, so likely of the same substance. The inner layer is the opposite of the outer charge. To be this way in nature, it would have to be a different substance.

All in all, transistors are made, and will never occur naturally. Only the substances from which they are manufactured can be found in nature.


Electric Current


Logic Gate

additional discussion on this topic

Why is the number of transistors in a computer important?

i think it had to do with us changing the way we compute where we were able to get more done with less chips for a while

Well, yes, and all further development will only continue exponentially.