History of Computer Engineering

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Computer engineering, in short, is the study of the applications and advancement of computer systems. Research in this field includes but is not limited to: making technology more accessible, developing new systems that are faster and more efficient, programming software to work better with existing hardware, and using technology to improve the lives of its users.

A relatively new field of study, the first college degree program in a U.S. College didn't exist until 1971. The history of computers is much older, stretching back to the 17th century when computers were conceived as an idea to make simple math easier, using mechanical parts to calculate basic math instead of by hand, which produced a large amount of errors. An early contributor to computers, Blaise Pascal was an inventor who invented a mechanical calculator called the “Pascaline”, which was used as an aid for his father, who was a tax collector. The one-function Pascaline could only add, and couldn't be sold due to its high cost. The archaic calculator was an inspiration to many inventors, who added and improved to it over the centuries. One inventor, Gottfried Leibniz, improved on it by adding subtraction, multiplication and division functions.

Leibniz added a cylinder with ridges of incremental length which allowed the calculator to do more than just add. Known as the Leibniz wheel, it was the basis of another of his inventions, the Stepped Reckoner. It was the first calculator that could perform all four arithmetic operations: addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. The device was inaccurate due to the inferior technology of his time, and could not automatically multiply or divide; the process the machine takes to multiply is to repeatedly add the n...

... middle of paper ... ways to calculate math easier and more efficient than by hand. Early inventions like the abacus and slide ruler proved useful, but the need for a mechanized solution was made more evident as time passed and needs for faster calculating increased.

Early computers were nothing more than people, who's job was to “compute” by doing math by hand. Full of errors and tedious, mechanical devices were invented that could make the job easier. Even though the technology was out, it didn't catch on due to being pricey. Modern computing begins with the ENIAC, and went into full speed with the improvements of the IC. In the past 3 decades, the shift in computing has been from private to home use, and technology plays and increasingly important role in our lives. Technology is always being improved, and is being innovated in more ways than just computers used for doing work.
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