History of the Computer

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History of the Computer

The history of the computer can be dated back for years and years and there is still much more to learn and know as we advance our knowledge with this technology. Webster's Dictionary defines computer as, “any programmable electronic device that can store, retrieve, and process data” (A brief 2004).

The core word compute in computer has been termed for over 2000 years. In the beginning, a wooden rack holding strings by two horizontal bars was the very first calculator recorded. The beads were manually moved around by the user and were only used by the user who knew the rules of programming in order for the wooden calculator to be accurate. It is said that the wooden calculator was able to do all regular arithmetic (Meyers 2001).

The many different parts of a computer as we now know it did not just appear in one machine created by one person. Starting in the 1640’s, many people began to work on machines that would mechanize tasks, with results that we still use today (In the beginning 2004). 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. (A brief 2004). He invented machines that are called as calculating engines. Engine number one was the first successful automatic calculator that was able to work on its own. This calculator consisted of over 2000 parts (The early 1996). A large problem that Babbage had would be many engineering problems which would not allow his engines to work correctly. He is remembered and is important to computer history because of his idea for the machines. His basic ideas of how the machine would process information is still used to this day (In the beginning 2004).

As the late 1800’s came around, a man named Herman Hollerith developed a computing machine that can read into punched cards.

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