Saturday, May 28, 2011

The History Of Computers

"Who invented the computer?" is not a question with a simple answer. The real answer is that many inventors contributed to the history of computers and that a computer is a complex piece of machinery made up of many parts, each of which can be considered a separate invention.

Prehistoric man did not have the Internet, but it appears that he needed a way to count and make calculations. The limitations of the human body’s ten fingers and ten toes apparently caused early man to construct a tool to help with those calculations. Scientists now know that humankind invented an early form of computers. Their clue was a bone carved with prime numbers found in 8,500 BC.
The abacus was the next leap forward in computing between 1000 BC and 500 BD. This apparatus used a series of moveable beads or rocks. The positions changed to enter a number and again to perform mathematical operations. Leonardo DaVinci was credited with the invention of the world’s first mechanical calculator in 1500. In 1642, Blaise Pascal’s adding machine upstaged DaVinci’s marvel and moved computing forward again.
In 19th century England, Charles Babbage, a mathematician, proposed the construction of a machine that he called the Babbage Difference Engine. It would not only calculate numbers, it would also be capable of printing mathematical tables. The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA (near San Diego) built a working replica from the original drawings. Visitors can see in the device in operation there. Unable to construct the actual device, he earned quite a few detractors among England’s literate citizens. However, Babbage made a place for himself in history as the father of computing. Not satisfied with the machines limitations, he drafted plans for the Babbage Analytical Engine. He intended for this computing device to use punch cards as the control mechanism for calculations. This feature would make it possible for his computer to use previously performed calculations in new ones.
Babbage’s idea caught the attention of Ada Byron Lovelace who had an undying passion for math. She also saw possibilities that the Analytical Machine could produce graphics and music. She helped Babbage move his project from idea to reality by documenting how the device would calculate Bernoulli numbers. She later received recognition for writing the world’s first computer program. The United States Department of Defense named a computer language in her honor in 1979.
The computers that followed built on each previous success and improved it. In 1943, the first programmable computer Turing COLOSSUS appeared. It was pressed into service to decipher World War II coded messages from Germany. ENIAC, the brain, was the first electronic computer, in 1946. In 1951, the U.S. Census Bureau became the first government agency to buy a computer, UNIVAC .
The Apple expanded the use of computers to consumers in 1977. The IBM PC for consumers followed closely in 1981, although IBM mainframes were in use by government and corporations.
  • 8,500 BC Bone carved with prime numbers found
  • 1000 BC to 500 BC Abacus invented
  • 1642 Blaise Pascal’s invented adding machine, France
  • 1822 Charles Babbage drafted Babbage Difference Engine, England
  • 1835 Babbage Analytical Engine proposed, England
  • 1843 Ada Byron Lovelace computer program to calculate Bernoulli numbers, England
  • 1943 Turing COLOSSUS the first programmable computer, England
  • 1946 ENIAC first electronic computer, U.S.A.
  • 1951 UNIVAC first computer used by U.S. government, U.S.A.
  • 1969 ARPANET Department of Defense lays groundwork for Internet, U.S.A.
  • 1968 Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce found in Intel, U.S.A.
  • 1977 Apple computers for consumers sold, U.S.A.
  • 1981 IBM personal computers sold, U.S.A.
  • 1991 World Wide Web consumer Internet access, CERN, Tim Berners-Lee Switzerland/France
  • 2000 Y 2K Bug programming errors discovered
  • Current Technologies include word processing, games, email, maps, and streaming


MarkeeTeeVee said...

GOD. I never knew the 'computer' was this old O_o.

neversettleforsecond said...

wow I always wondered this! thx man!

Marquall said...

Nice read, put it into perspective what humans can achieve :)

fabio_2007 said...

wow, that's very interesting

Vav said...

I saw a documentary in class and it was the most boring stuff ever, even though I'm a computer geek :p

Grant said...

Awesome, very interesting

Jesse Crows said...

great history. weve come such a long way!

Anonymous said...

nice history !

Alexander said...

interesting stuff man

Elliot MacLeod-Michael said...

very informative. i figured prehistoric man at least had dial up

Zoidberg said...

That was interesting. Personally I think that the Antikithira Mechanism was the first device that deserves the name "computer".

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