A HISTORY OF THE COMPUTER
FIVE ERAS IN COMPUTER DEVELOPMENT. Pre-History,Electronics,Mini, Micro, Network
4th century B.C. to 1930s. The abacus is believed to have been invented in 4th century B.C. The Antikythera mechanism, a device used for registering and predicting the motion of the stars and planets, is dated to 1st century B.C. Arabic numerals were introduced in Europe in the 8th and 9th century A.D. and was used until the 17th century.
John Napier of Scotland invents logs in 1614 to allow multiplication and division to be converted to addition and subtraction. Wilhelm Schickard, a professor at the University of Tubingen, Germany builds a mechanical calculator in 1623 with a 6-digit capacity. The machine worked, but it never makes it beyond the prototype stage. Leonardo Da Vinci is now given credit for building the first mechanical calculator around 1500. Evidence of Da Vinci’s machine was not found until papers were discovered in 1967. Blaise Pascal builds a mechanical calculator in 1642 with an 8-digit capacity. Joseph-Marie Jacquard invents an automatic loom controlled by punch-cards in the early 1800s.
Charles Babbage designs a “Difference Engine” in 1820 or 1821 with a massive calculator designed to print astronomical tables. The British government cancelled the project in 1842; Babbage then conceives the “Analytical Engine”, a mechanical computer that can solve any mathematical problem and uses punch-cards.
Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace and daughter of English poet Lord Byron, worked with Babbage and created a program for the Analytical Engine. Ada is now credited as being the 1st computer programmer.
Samuel Morse invents the Electric Telegraph in 1837.
George Boole invents Boolean Algebra in the late 1840s. Boolean Algebra was destined to remain largely unknown and unused for the better part of a century, until a young student called Claude E. Shannon recognized its relevance to electronics design.