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A Brief History of the Computer. With apologies to Steven Hawking. Counting. Primative Calculators. The Abbacus. Al’Khowarizmi and the algorithm. 12th Century Tashkent Cleric Developed the concept of a written process for doing something Published a book on the process of algorithms

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A brief history of the computer l.jpg

A Brief History of the Computer

With apologies to

Steven Hawking





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Al’Khowarizmi and the algorithm

  • 12th Century Tashkent Cleric

  • Developed the concept of a written process for doing something

  • Published a book on the process of algorithms

  • The basis of software


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Philosopher Forefathers of Modern Computing 1600-1700

  • Von Leibniz developed binary arithmetic and a hand cranked calculator.

  • Calculator was able to add, subtract, multiply and divide.

  • Blaise Pascal –developed the Pascaline.

  • Desk top calculator worked lik an odometer.



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Charles BabbageThe Next Leap Forward1800’s



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Lady Ada Byron - programmer

  • Countess of Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron.

  • One of the first women mathematicians in England

  • Documented Babbage’s work.

  • Wrote am account of the difference engine.


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The Process of MechanizationJacquards Loom

  • Started the age of automation

  • Used punch cards to direct the rods on the loom to create patterns.

  • Revolt against the introduction of looms – Ned Ludd - 1816


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George Boole

  • Boolean Algebra

  • Used to establish inequalities:

  • symoblic use of <, or >, or <>

  • Used in computer switching

  • Modern use in library searches



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Hollerith Tables and the Census

Improved the speed of the census

Reduced cost by $5 million

Greater accuracy of data collected

Hollerith – unemployed after the census


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The Mechanical Office1928

  • Development of:

    • Small calculating-oriented machines desk calculators, cash registers

    • Business machine industry- supported by the government – punch card machines

    • Top four companies in 1928:

      • Remington Rand NCR (National Cash Register)

      • Burroughs IBM



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The War Years 1939-1945Two Primary Uses

  • Artillery Tables

    • Hand calculation replaced by machine calculation

    • Department of the Navy

  • Cryptologist :

    • Cryptography

      The art or process of writing in or deciphering secret writing

      Bletchley House

      The Enigma Codes – U23



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Alan Turing misunderstood genius 1936

  • Published a paper “On Computable Numbers”

  • Turings machine - hypothetical computer that could perform any computation or logical operation a human could devise.


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Turings Heritage

  • Code breaking was Touring’s strength.

  • Colossus a computer to break the German enigma code - 100 Billion alternatives.

  • Ran at rate of 25,000 characters per second



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The II World War Years 1939 - 1945

  • Calculate artillery tables.

  • Used to break codes like the Colossus.

  • Used to model future events - Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs.

  • Cmdr. Grace Hooper



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The Mark I - a dinosaur

  • 51 feet long

  • 3,304 electro mechanical switches

  • Add or subtract 23 digit numbers in 3/10 of a second.

  • Instructions (software) loaded by paper tape.

  • The infamous “Bug”


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ENIAC - The Next Jump Forward - 1946

  • 1st electronic digital computer

  • Operated with vacuum tubes rather electro-mechanical switches

  • 1000 times faster than Mark I

  • No program storage - wired into circuitry.


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The Advent of the Semiconductor - 1947

  • Developed at Bell Labs by Shockley & Bardeen – Nobel Prize

  • Point Contact Transistor replaced power hungry, hot and short lived vacuum tubes


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EDVAC - Electronic Discreet Variable Automatic Computer 1951

  • Data stored internally on a magnetic drum

  • Random access magnetic storage device

  • First stored program computer



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Technical Advances in the 60’s

  • John Mccarthy coins the term “Artificial Intelligence”

  • 1960 - Removable Disks appear

  • 1964 - BASIC - Beginners-all purpose Symbolic Instruction Language

  • Texas Instruments offers the first solid- state hand-held calculator

  • 1967 - 1st issue of Computerworld published


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The 1970’s - The Microprocessor Revolution

  • A single chip containing all the elements of a computer’s central processing unit.

  • Small, integrated, relatively cheap to manufacture.


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The Super Computers - 1972

  • The Cray

  • Parallel processing power

  • Speed 100 million arithmetical functions per second

  • Sensitive to heat - cooled with liquid nitrogen

  • Very expensive



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The Birth of the Micro Computer 1975

  • Jobs and Wozniac develop the Apple II

  • Commodore PET, programs stored on a cassette

  • Tandy-Radio Shack TRS-80

  • 5 1/2 inch floppy disk becomes the standard for software




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Where to next!!!

  • Technology is rapidly increasing

  • Techno-phobia – Y2K – what happened

  • The Internet and Cyber Space

  • Wearable computers

  • Smart cards

  • Shopping Bots

  • National Weather computer

Click on the Crystal Ball for

a link to future Technologies



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