History of Computers
Historically, the most important early computing instrument is the abacus, which has been known and widely used for more than 2,000 years. Another computing instrument, the astrolabe, was also in use about 2,000 years ago for navigation.
Blaise Pascal is widely credited with building the first "digital calculating machine" in 1642. It performed only additions of numbers entered by means of dials and was intended to help Pascal's father, who was a tax collector. In 1671, Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz invented a computer that was built in 1694; it could add and, by successive adding and shifting, multiply. Leibniz invented a special "stepped gear" mechanism for introducing the addend digits, and this mechanism is still in use. The prototypes built by Leibniz and Pascal were not widely used but remained curiosities until more than a century later, when Tomas of Colmar (Charles Xavier Thomas) developed (1820) the first commercially successful mechanical calculator that could add, subtract, multiply, and divide. A succession of improved "desk-top" mechanical calculators by various inventors followed, so that by about 1890 the available built-in operations included accumulation of partial results, storage and reintroduction of past results, and printing of results, each requiring manual initiation. These improvements were made primarily to suit commercial users, with little attention given to the needs of science.
Babbage
While Tomas of Colmar was developing the desktop calculator Charles Babbage initiated a series of very remarkable developments in computers in Cambridge, England. Babbage realized (1812) that many long computations, especially those needed to prepare mathematical tables, consisted of routine operations that were regularly repeated; from this he surmised that it ought to be possible to do these operations automatically. He began to design an automatic mechanical calculating machine, which he called a "difference engine," and by 1822 he had built a small working model for demonstration. With financial help from the British government, Babbage started construction of a full-scale difference engine in 1823. It was intended to be steam-powered; fully automatic, even to the printing of the resulting tables; and commanded by a fixed instruction program.
The difference engine, although of limited flexibility and applicability, was conceptually a great advance. Babbage continued work on it for 10 years, but in 1833 he lost interest because he had a "better idea" the construction of what today would be described as a general-purpose, fully program-controlled, automatic mechanical digital computer. Babbage called his machine an "analytical engine"; the characteristics aimed at by this design show true prescience, although this could not be fully appreciated until more than a century later.

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## History of the Computer

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Records exist of earlier machines, but Blaise Pascal invented the first hand powered commercial calculator that can add numbers entered with dials (Meyers 2001). He is credited with building the first digital calculator. Although attempts to multiply mechanically were made by Gottfried Liebnitz in the 1670s the first true multiplying calculator appears in Germany shortly before the American Revolution (A brief 2004). Charles Xavier created the first successful calculator which was able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide (Meyers 2001). In the early 1800’s, Charles Babbage began a life long quest for a programmable machine.

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## The History of Computers and The Digital Age

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By about 1890, the range of improvements on the calculator included accumulation of partial results, storage and automatic reentry of past results (memory functions), and a printing of the results. These improvements were mainly made for commercial users, and not for the needs of science. While Thomas was developing the desktop calculator, a series of very interesting developments in computers started in Cambridge, England. In 1812, Charles Babbage, a mathematics professor, realized that many long calculations, especially those needed to make mathematical tables, were really a series of predictable actions that were constantly repeated. From this he suspected that it should be possible to perform these actions automatically.

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## Evolution of Computers

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The Abacus was the first known machine developed to help perform mathematical equations. From what researchers have discovered it was invented around 500 to 600 BC in an area around China or Egypt. This early tool was used to perform addition and subtraction and can still be found used in some of today’s Middle Eastern cultures. In 650 AD the Hindus invented a written symbol for zero. Before this no true written calculations could be made, making this one of the most essential inventions to help computers.

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About 1200 years later, Roman numerals were finally introduced, along with the idea of the zero and other mathematical basics. This helped lay the foundation for several different men who had findings that would eventually lead us to the beginnings of computers and computing. Though they are often referred to as scholars, many of these intellectuals were most likely just merely the nerds of their time. Take Wilhelm Schickard and Blaise Pascal of the 17th century, for example. Both of these men had enough time on their hands to individually build two of the first mechanical calculators in history.

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The abacus provided the fastest method of calculating until 1642, when the French scientist Pascal invented a calculator made of wheels and cogs. The concept of the modern computer was first outlined in 1833 by the British mathematician Charles Babbage. His design of an analytical engine contained all of the necessary components of a modern computer: input devices, a memory, a control unit, and output devices. Most of the actions of the analytical engine were to be done through the use of punched cards. Even though Babbage worked on the analytical engine for nearly 40 years, he never actually made a working machine.

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## Overview Of The Difference Machine By Charles Babbage

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In 1812 Charles Babbage began designing the “Difference Machine”, which is considered one of the first programmable computers (evolutionofcomputers.edublogs.org/). Computers are used in many different fields of the world. As time progressed computers also progressed. At one time computers were enormous. The myths of a computer take over will not happen.

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in Long and Long 33C). All mechanical calculators used this counting- wheel design until it was replaced by the electronic calculator in the mid-1960s (Long and Long 33C). Pascal''s Calculator, however, was only the first step between the abacus and the computer. The next step involves a loom. In 1801 the weaver Joseph-Marie Jaquard invented a machine that would make the jobs of over worked weavers tolerable (Long and Long 34C).

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## The History of Computers

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One of the biggest breakthroughs came from by Blaise Pascal in 1642, who invented a mechanical calculator whose main function was adding and subtracting numbers. Years later, Gottfried Leibnez improved Pascal’s model by allowing it to also perform such operations as multiplying, dividing, taking the square root. Technology continued to prosper in the computer world into the nineteenth century. A major figure during this time is Charles Babbage, designed the idea of the Difference Engine in the year 1820. It was a calculating machine designed to tabulate the results of mathematical functions (Evans, 38).

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## History of Computers

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History of Computers One could say that the history of the computer started with the abacus, a wooden frame holding two wires with beads strung on them. The beads were moved around, and the abacus was used to solve arithmetic problems. Blaise Pascal built the first digital computer in 1642, which added numbers that were entered with dials. Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz built a computer in 1694 that could add and multiply (Meyers). Thomas of Colmar (Charles Xavier Thomas) created the first mechanical calculator that added, subtracted, multiplied, and divided (Augarten 37).

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## The Age of Computers

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Charles Babbage was so ahead of his time, that the machines that were used back then were not even precise enough to make the parts for his computer. Gulliver, states: The first major use for a computer in the US was during the 1890 census. Two men, Herman Hollerith and James Powers, developed a new punched-card system that could automatically read information on cards without human intervention (Gulliver 82). In the 1930's punched-card machine techniques had become so well established that Howard Hathaway Aiken, together with engineers at IBM, came up with the automatic computer called Mark I. The Mark I ran by using prepunched paper tape.

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