A description of computers as an invention of the century

The Ishango bone Devices have been used to aid computation for thousands of years, mostly using one-to-one correspondence with fingers. The earliest counting device was probably a form of tally stick. Later record keeping aids throughout the Fertile Crescent included calculi clay spheres, cones, etc. The Roman abacus was developed from devices used in Babylonia as early as BC.

A description of computers as an invention of the century

These devices used the continuously changeable aspects of physical phenomena such as electricalmechanicalor hydraulic quantities to model the problem being solved, in contrast to digital computers that represented varying quantities symbolically, as their numerical values change.

As an analog computer does not use discrete values, but rather continuous values, processes cannot be reliably repeated with exact equivalence, as they can with Turing machines. It used a system of pulleys and wires to automatically calculate predicted tide levels for a set period at a particular location and was of great utility to navigation in shallow waters.

His device was the foundation for further developments in analog computing. He explored the possible construction of such calculators, but was stymied by the limited output torque of the ball-and-disk integrators. An important advance in analog computing was the development of the first fire-control systems for long range ship gunlaying.

When gunnery ranges increased dramatically in the late 19th century it was no longer a simple matter of calculating the proper aim point, given the flight times of the shells. Various spotters on board the ship would relay distance measures and observations to a central plotting station.

There the fire direction teams fed in the location, speed and direction of the ship and its target, as well as various adjustments for Coriolis effectweather effects on the air, and other adjustments; the computer would then output a firing solution, which would be fed to the turrets for laying.

InBritish engineer Arthur Pollen developed the first electrically powered mechanical analogue computer called at the time the Argo Clock.

A description of computers as an invention of the century

Mechanical devices were also used to aid the accuracy of aerial bombing. The art of mechanical analog computing reached its zenith with the differential analyzer[49] built by H. Advent of the digital computer[ edit ] The principle of the modern computer was first described by computer scientist Alan Turingwho set out the idea in his seminal paper, [53] On Computable Numbers.

He proved that some such machine would be capable of performing any conceivable mathematical computation if it were representable as an algorithm. He went on to prove that there was no solution to the Entscheidungsproblem by first showing that the halting problem for Turing machines is undecidable: Von Neumann acknowledged that the central concept of the modern computer was due to this paper.

Invention of the PC: The Computer Age

Except for the limitations imposed by their finite memory stores, modern computers are said to be Turing-completewhich is to say, they have algorithm execution capability equivalent to a universal Turing machine. Electromechanical computers[ edit ] The era of modern computing began with a flurry of development before and during World War II.

Most digital computers built in this period were electromechanical — electric switches drove mechanical relays to perform the calculation.

These devices had a low operating speed and were eventually superseded by much faster all-electric computers, originally using vacuum tubes. The Z2 was one of the earliest examples of an electromechanical relay computerand was created by German engineer Konrad Zuse in It was an improvement on his earlier Z1 ; although it used the same mechanical memoryit replaced the arithmetic and control logic with electrical relay circuits.

It was a substantial development from a device that had been designed in by Polish Cipher Bureau cryptologist Marian Rejewskiand known as the " cryptologic bomb " Polish: It was quite similar to modern machines in some respects, pioneering numerous advances such as floating point numbers.

History of Computers and Computing, Mechanical calculators, 19th century, William Seward Burroughs

In two patent applications, Zuse also anticipated that machine instructions could be stored in the same storage used for data—the key insight of what became known as the von Neumann architecturefirst implemented in Britain in the Manchester Baby of Digital computation[ edit ] The term digital is suggested by George Stibitz and refers to all applications based on signals with two states — low 0 and high 1.

That is why the decimal and binary computing are two ways to implement digital computing. A mathematical basis of digital computing is Boolean algebradeveloped by the British mathematician George Boole in his work The Laws of Thoughtpublished in This thesis essentially founded practical digital circuit design.

Electronic data processing[ edit ] Atanasoff—Berry Computer replica at first floor of Durham Center, Iowa State University Purely electronic circuit elements soon replaced their mechanical and electromechanical equivalents, at the same time that digital calculation replaced analog.

Machines such as the Z3the Atanasoff—Berry Computerthe Colossus computersand the ENIAC were built by hand, using circuits containing relays or valves vacuum tubesand often used punched cards or punched paper tape for input and as the main non-volatile storage medium.

While working at the research station in Dollis Hill in the s, he began to explore the possible use of electronics for the telephone exchange.

Who Invented the Computer? History of Computer Invention

Experimental equipment that he built in went into operation 5 years later, converting a portion of the telephone exchange network into an electronic data processing system, using thousands of vacuum tubes.

It remained unknown, as a military secret, well into the s During World War II, the British at Bletchley Park 40 miles north of London achieved a number of successes at breaking encrypted German military communications.

The German encryption machine, Enigmawas first attacked with the help of the electro-mechanical bombes. Most possibilities led to a contradiction, and the few remaining could be tested by hand. The Germans also developed a series of teleprinter encryption systems, quite different from Enigma.

The first intercepts of Lorenz messages began in As part of an attack on Tunny, Max Newman and his colleagues helped specify the Colossus.

It had paper-tape input and was capable of being configured to perform a variety of boolean logical operations on its data, but it was not Turing-complete. Colossus Mark I contained thermionic valves tubesbut Mark II with valves, was both 5 times faster and simpler to operate than Mark 1, greatly speeding the decoding process.

Mark 2 was designed while Mark 1 was being constructed. Allen Coombs took over leadership of the Colossus Mark 2 project when Tommy Flowers moved on to other projects. Sometimes, two or more Colossus computers tried different possibilities simultaneously in what now is called parallel computingspeeding the decoding process by perhaps as much as double the rate of comparison.

Colossus included the first ever use of shift registers and systolic arraysenabling five simultaneous tests, each involving up to Boolean calculationson each of the five channels on the punched tape although in normal operation only one or two channels were examined in any run.Watch video · Did you know?

Time magazine named the personal computer its "Man of the Year." Invention of the PC: Postwar Innovations. ENIAC and other early computers proved to many universities and.

By walking through annals of computer history, one can have a peek into rich legacy of 21st century’s technology. Back from B.C. abacus, which was a simple calculating tool introduced in China, is known to be the foundation of today’s computers.

What Are the 10 Greatest Inventions of Our Time? “our time” meant the previous quarter century, to ; the invention had . Computing Developments in the Early 20th Century Germany - Konrad Zuse.

The ENIAC is probably the best known of all the early computers, and it was certainly one of the most influential.

Technology from 1900 to 1945

It was a large scale computer built to calculate using electronic not mechanical methods. It was built at the Moore School of Engineering for the US Army.

A description of computers as an invention of the century

Modern Computers are electronic, complex, and interactive, but can be reduced to simple input-output processing devices History of Computers: BC to Present The Abacus. The History of Computers.

Search the site GO. History & Culture. Inventions Famous Inventions In the 20 th century breakthroughs in technology allowed for the ever-evolving computing American scientist Vannevar Bush started development on the first machine to be named as such and published a description of his new invention in a.

Vacuum tube - Wikipedia