A Brief History of Computers. By Bernard John Poole, MSIS Associate Professor of Education and Instructional Technology University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Johnstown, PA 15904.
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Bernard John Poole, MSIS
Associate Professor of Education and Instructional Technology
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Johnstown, PA 15904
Do any species, other than homo sapiens, count?
c. 4000 BCE
and his Difference Engine (1812)
Picture courtesy IBM
Babbage was never able to complete construction of any of his machines due to conflicts with his chief engineer and inadequate funding.
Read Lady Augusta Ada’s translation of Menabrea’s
Sketch of the Analytical Engine
Census Counting Machine
and the Harvard Mark I (1944)
Rear Admiral Dr. Grace Murray Hopper
John Vincent Atanasoff’s
Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC)
the present day
The Turing Machine
The Universal Machine
The ABC was the first electronic digital computer, invented by John Vincent Atanasoff
John Presper Eckert
University of Pennsylvania Moore School of Engineering
John Von Neumann
John Von Neumann came up with the bright idea of using part of the computer’s internal memory (called Primary Memory) to “store” the program inside the computer and have the computer go get the instructions from its own memory, just as we do with our human brain.
Typical 1968 prices—EX-cluding maintenance & support!
“What hath God wrought!”First telegraph message sent by Samuel Morse, 1844Electronic and computing technology quickly progressed—at an ever-accelerating pace—from vacuum tubes (Lee de Forrest, the audion, 1907)to transistors (William Shockley et al. 1947)to semiconductors (Jack Kilby& Robert Noyce, 1958)to microprocessors (M.E. “Ted” Hoff, 1971)to personal computers [Atari, Apple, IBM, et al., 1975- ]to networking and the Internet (Vinton Cerf & Robert Kahn, 1982]to the World Wide Web (Tim Berners-Lee, 1991)to mobile/cell phones, tablet PCsand beyond…Today, you’ll find computers everywhere you care to look and they are controlling an increasingly broad spectrum of the devices we use as we go about our daily lives. The phone is now (2014) a full-blown computing, communication, and entertainment device.Whatever next?…
For one of the best written books on the history of computers, check out Engines of the Mind : The Evolution of the Computer from Mainframes to Microprocessors -- by Joel N. Shurkin (Paperback)
A movingly beautiful book on Alan Turing is Alan Turing: the Enigma, by Andrew Hodges
An excellent, readable book on Cryptography is Simon Singh’s THE CODE BOOK. The Secret History of Codes and Code-Breaking
Tutorials on the encryption software PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) can be found at http://www.pitt.edu/~poole/PGPintro.htm
All pictures and some of the information were obtained from various sites on the World Wide Web. Complete list follows:
Slide Rules: http://www.hpmuseum.org/sliderul.htm
Pascal’s Pascaline: http://www.thocp.net/hardware/pascaline.htm
Leibnitz Stepped Reckoner: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stepped_Reckoner
Jacquard looms: http://history.acusd.edu/gen/recording/jacquard1.html
Charles Babbage: http://ei.cs.vt.edu/~history/Babbage.html
Lady Augusta Ada, Countess of Lovelace: http://www.well.com/user/adatoole/bio.htm
Electricity: http://www.mediaeng.com/historyelect.html (beautifully written pocket history of
electricity & magnetism)
Herman Hollerith: http://www-groups.dcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Hollerith.html
Howard Aiken & The Harvard Mark I: http://www-groups.dcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Aiken.html
Alan Turing: http://www-groups.dcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Turing.html
John Vincent Atanasoff: http://www.cs.iastate.edu/jva/books/mollenhoff/overview.shtml
Biographies of Atanasoff and Clifford Berry: http://www.scl.ameslab.gov/ABC/Biographies.html
J. Presper Eckert: http://www-groups.dcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Eckert_John.html
John Mauchly: http://www-groups.dcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Mauchly.html
The patent controversy: http://www.library.upenn.edu/special/gallery/mauchly/jwm7.html
Thanks to the following EDTECH listserv colleagues and friends who have reviewed the presentation and provided amendments and additional material for inclusion on the slides and in the notes.
Nancy Head, online instructor, Michigan Virtual High School (MVHS), U.S.A., on the web at www.mivhs.org
Mandi Axmann, Instructional Designer, Open Universities Australia