Nov 29, 2022
The History of Computers

Have you ever wondered how the word “computer” got its name? What does it mean to build something called a computer? Why do we call these devices machines instead of living beings? Have you ever thought about why we are interested in building these machines at all? As a result of this interest, technology has had a huge effect on every part of our lives. By learning about the history behind computers, we gain insight into who we are and where we come from.

History of Computers

Throughout most of human existence, writing has been invented–and lost–many times. We now write with pen and paper; a relatively recent invention. Writing began when someone decided to carve symbols into stone, charcoal, clay, bone or antler, etc. Over the centuries, these writings served various purposes. Some were meant to keep records, while others were instructional. Eventually, someone tried to record sound with letters; which required many revisions before becoming what we know today.

Where did the name computer come from?

The word computer is derived from the Greek word for womb: Kubernetes (Κουβερνητάς). The first known use of the word “computer” was by Margaret Hamilton, author of the play of that same title. This was published in 1953. It’s interesting to note that the original definition of a computer was more.

What is a Computer?

A computer is an electronic machine used for processing information. Just like humans have hands, feet, eyes, ears, etc., so too do computers. But rather than being limited to performing only physical tasks, as people are, computers can also think logically and process information. In other words, they can solve problems. They may be programmed to carry out specific tasks, but computers are capable of such things as mathematics, science, language, engineering designs, art, music, business affairs, etc.

The First Electronic Machine

The invention of the first mechanical or electrical digital computer is attributed to Charles Babbage. He was inspired by the analytical engine designed by Napoleon III. This device counted through the binary system using punch cards. To make a calculation, the engineer would put the punch card in the reader. Then the machine could interpret the pattern of holes punched in the card and perform a mathematical operation. Several operations could be performed very quickly because each hole represented one bit of data. At the time, it was quite innovative, even though his design was never built.

First Commercial Successful Computer

In 1945 Konrad Zuse constructed the world’s first fully functional programmable digital computer. The machine helped him develop a large-scale ballistic missile defence system against nuclear attack. Because he wanted to create a safe means of communication, he made the Z1 especially robust against sabotage. Zuse sold several of his units to German universities and businesses to help support himself

The First Mass Production of Computers.

Early computers were mostly experimental. However, during the 1940s, they became less primitive and more reliable. The mass production era started around 1948 when John Womersley secured orders for his tabulator systems. His machines operated on a stored-program concept, whereas other manufacturers were still building their computers manually. Though his company didn’t produce any other products, Womersley paved the way for future producers who brought us computers and mainframe systems.

How Do Computers Work?

Computers are extremely complex — making them difficult to build and maintain. Today, you probably view a computer to be a desktop, laptop, netbook, tablet, smartphone, or even a server, PC, Mac, or mobile phone.

The Bottom Line.

Today, computers are essential for almost everything we do. From jobs in manufacturing and finance to school work and entertainment options, computers have become an integral part of our day-to-day lives. So, don’t forget about them, they’re here to stay!

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