Computer Software


Before programs began to be written to make the most of electronic computing power, the computer industry was dominated by engineers developing hardware. Software is divided into two primary types: system software and program applications. System software includes general program execution processes such as compilers and, most recognizably, the disk operating system (DOS), which has evolved in form in IBM PC-style computers within the last two decades from the Microsoft DOS prompt (MS-DOS) to stylish Windows-based platforms from Microsoft 2000 to Windows Vista. Similarly, Apple has seen countless new releases from the Apple DOS 3.1 of 1977 to the OS X series of recent years. Program applications include everything else, from gaming to multimedia to scientific applications. Finally, software combines lines of source code written by humans with the work of compilers and assemblers in executing machine code. Check out pics of Bill Gates (right) and Steve Jobs (below)

As multiple-linked local area networks expanded, particular among universities, the seeds for the Internet sprouted. With Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the computer became larger than the little box in which it was contained. Browsing software such as Netscape’s Navigator, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and Mozilla’s Firefox became the means for connecting to a digitized multimedia world now largely powered by Google, which daily guides hundreds of millions of users through billions of pages on the World Wide Web.

The World Wide Web all began with Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s fusion of the U.S. Defense Department’s Internet, which linked research centers, and hypertext, which allows quick navigation among documents. The tools of the Internet devised by Berners-Lee include HTML (HyperText Markup Language, the language of Internet formatting code), communication protocols (called HyperText Transfer protocols or HTTP), and individually accessible Web addresses (called Uniform Resource Locators or URLs). Today, the World Wide Web can be accessed and contributed to by anyone with a connection. Excerpted from:

Tomorrow, The Human Genome Project  Rita Bay

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