History of Computers

History of Computers

Length: 757 words (2.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
History of Computers

When you think about the origins of the electronic digital computer, what scientists’ names come to mind? Many historians give the credit to the American scientists J. Presper Eckert and John W. Mauchy. They built their Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) during World War II. These two scientists founded the first private computer systems company. Although most people recognize Eckert and Mauchy as the persons accountable for the computer industry, historians are beginning to recognize a more unfamiliar history of the computer, its roots in the military establishment. (Meyers)

The birth of the abacus was the beginning of computer history. The abacus is a wooden rack that holds two horizontal wires with beads strung on them. Moving the beads on the abacus can solve regular arithmetic problems. Thomas of Colmar developed the desktop calculator. While great advances were made in mathematical physics between 1850 and 1900, mechanical engineering and science began to make important advances in several areas by the time WWI broke out in 1939.

The Navy was particularly interested in the development of advanced technology beginning in World War I. “Important advances in naval warfare, including the use of mechanical directors and computers for fire control, the use of radio for communication across great distances, and the development of the attack submarine posed new technical problems for strategists.” (Flamm) A consulting board was set up in order to screen the proposals of outside inventors. The board also set up a laboratory to work on the problems of antisubmarine warfare, and eventually the Naval Research Laboratory was then established in 1923. The development of RADAR, radio communications, and the interception of encrypted enemy communications traffic were all supported by the Navy’s postwar research efforts. “Because signals transmitted by radio could be intercepted much more easily than communications over land lines, cryptanalysis became an economic means of acquiring intelligence about the intentions of foreign, especially naval, military forces.” (Flamm)

During the 1930s, the Navy supported substantial work on servomechanisms at MIT. The analog computers were developed after Navy officers enrolled as graduate students in MIT’s Servomechanism Laboratory.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"History of Computers." 123HelpMe.com. 17 Aug 2018

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The History of Computers in Education Essay examples

- The history of computers in education starts with the MARK1 and ENIAC computers being used in 1944 and 1946 in Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania respectively. The first use of computers then in education was to compute problems in the mathematical, scientific, and engineering fields to allow students to deal with big problems they would more than likely encounter one day in a real world situation. In 1959, Donald Bitier began the “large-scale” PLATO project, which was a “several thousand-terminal system [that] served undergraduate education, as well as elementary school reading, a community college in Urbana, and several campuses in Chicago.” (Molnar) In 1963 at Dartmouth, John Kem...   [tags: HIstory of Computers, Education, Advancements]

Research Papers
1508 words (4.3 pages)

Essay on History of Modern Computers

- 1945-Present The evolution of modern computers is divided into a few "distinct" generations. Each generation is characterized by extreme improvements over the prior era in the technology used in the manufacturing process, the internal layout of computer systems, and programming languages. There has also been a steady improvement in algorithms, including algorithms used in computational science, though not usually associated with computer generations. The following timeline has been organized using a logical breakdown of events and discoveries....   [tags: PC computers Technology History Essays]

Free Essays
2156 words (6.2 pages)

The History of Computers Essay

- The History of Computers Most of usäparticipate in this digital culture, whether by using an ATM card, composing and printing an office newsletter, calling a mail-order house on toll-free numberäor shopping at a mega-mall where the inventory is replenished just in time. (Ceruzzi 1) In the Information Age of today society has become dependent on technology; every aspect of our lives have become centered on how fast and efficiently something can be accomplished. The use of computers aids our stride to becoming technologically advanced....   [tags: Technology Technological Computers Essays]

Free Essays
875 words (2.5 pages)

The History of Computers Essay

- The History of Computers The idea of a machine that would make man’s calculations easier, faster, and more accurate is no new notion. The Abacus, “Napier’s rods”, the “Calculating Clock”, and the “Stepped Reckoner” are a few examples of early computer ideas In the more recent history of the computer, we can see how computers have morphed (or dwarfed) from clunky, million-dollar machines into the compact and convenient parts of our everyday lives (Computer Science Student Resource Website, 2003, “Evolution of Computers: From Stone to Silicon”, Section 1)....   [tags: Technology Technological Computers Essays]

Free Essays
722 words (2.1 pages)

The History of Computers Essay

- The History of Computers Computers have been around for quite some time and were developed over many years with contributions from philosophers, inventors, engineers, mathematicians, physicists, technicians, visionaries, and scholars. The first computers were calculating machines and over time evolved into the digital computers as we know them today. It has taken over 180 years for the computer to develop from an idea in Charles Babbage head into an actual computer developed today by many different companies....   [tags: Computers Technology Essays]

Free Essays
867 words (2.5 pages)

The History of Computers Essay

- The History of Computers In the year 2003, it is almost impossible for those of us who have been brought up with computer to imagine what the world was like before their coming. People use computers every day in their homes, using the Internet, specifically e-mails and Instant Messenger, to keep in touch with friends and relatives far away. People also use computers every day at work and school, planning projects and writing papers. For many of today’s children, computers are an integral part of their education, and some of them use computers in school every day....   [tags: Technology Technological Computers Essays]

Free Essays
794 words (2.3 pages)

The History of Computers Essay

- The History of Computers In order to fully understand the history of computers and computers in general, it is important to understand what it is exactly that lead up to the invention of the computer. After all, there was a time when the use of laptops, P.C.s, and other machines was unthinkable. Way back in the fourth century B.C., the abucus was an instrument used for counting in Babylonia. Many scholars believe that it likely started out as pebbles being moved over lines drawn in the dirt and then evolved into a more complex counting tool (Aspray 7)....   [tags: Technology Computers Essays]

Free Essays
749 words (2.1 pages)

The History of Computers Essay

- The History of Computers From primitive abaci to lab tops and calculators, the computer has evolved through time to become the essential part of our technocratic society. The development of the computer has shaped the way technology and science is viewed in different cultures around the world. The connotation of what a computer is nowadays brings to mind a monitor, keyboard, processor and its other electronic components; however, that is not how things have always been. From the Chinese using abaci to count, to the Druids' usage of stones to follow the seasonal changes, to the Europeans using Pascalines and calculators to work out mathematical problems the concept of the computer ha...   [tags: Computers Technology Technological Essays]

Free Essays
840 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on The History of Computers

- The History of Computers To those of us that have grown up during the computer age, computers seem like a normal part of our everyday lives. The idea that only a few decades ago computers were virtually unheard of is inconceivable. Computers are now so essential that they basically run our society and the whole of the modern world. They track hurricanes, forecast the weather, predict natural disasters, control satellites and missiles and keep countries around the world in constant contact....   [tags: Technology Computers Essays]

Free Essays
944 words (2.7 pages)

History of Computers Essay

- History of Computers It all began on a brisk, damp October evening in the year nineteen hundred and ninety-nine. All was silent in the household except for the incessant whistling of the tea kettle on the kitchen stove. Oh, and how can I forget the humming of the lawnmower in the backyard. I had just arrived home from band practice when the doorbell rang. Anxious to see if it was for me, I raced down the stairs in hopes that I had received a package, or perhaps flowers, from a boy....   [tags: Computers Technology Technological Essays]

Free Essays
884 words (2.5 pages)

Related Searches

During the war, these analog computers were applied to solve fire control problems at MIT, RCA and the Bell Telephone Laboratories. The Washington cryptological unit was OP-20-G’s most important technology-related group. This group was also known as Communications Supplementary Activities Washington (CSAW). Joseph Desch and Robert Mumma, along with their electronics lab at NCR, were put to work on secret Navy tasks instead of their usual Army war projects. NCML (the lab in which these people worked) increased from 20 to 1,100 people at its peak. “About 1,200 code breaking machines, of about 140 different types, are reported to have been built at the NCR Dayton plant during the war.” (Flamm)

After all of the work the Navy did on these projects, they worked on external digital computer projects during the war. The Mark I was designed by Howard Aiken and used mechanical relays as its core technology. “Begun under the financial sponsorship of IBM before the war, the Mark I was taken over by the Navy after hostilities were under way.” (Flamm) The Airplane Stability and Control Analyzer turned into the Whirlwind computer project. The Navy once again supported this project. “Both the Mark I and the Whirlwind development groups helped pave the wave for the technical development of the U.S. computer industry.” (Flamm) An Office of Naval Research (ONR) was established in 1946; this was to oversee the task of research management. “By the end of 1948, the ONR employed one thousand in-house scientists, funded about 40 percent of basic research in the United States, and was working on research contracts amounting to 43 million dollars.” (Flamm) Between the years of 1946 and 1950 the ONR funded many computer projects including: MIT’s Whirlwind, Raytheon’s Hurricane computer, the CALDIC computer, and the Harvard Mark III. (Flamm)

After the war ended other developments in computing machinery were being made more regularly. Most people identify the ENIAC, built by Eckert and Mauchly, as the first electronic digital computer; although the Colossus was “completed in great secrecy two years earlier in England”, and “contained circuitry functionally equivalent to that found in ENIAC”. (Flamm)

As you can see, the military supported many successful projects. The first commercial computers were actually altered copies of the machines developed for military users. I believe that the roots of the computer are in the military establishment, and I ask that you acknowledge their role, along with other scientists’, in the history of computers.
Return to 123HelpMe.com