What is the history of computing?

Mudassir Ali
Feb 04, 2020 02:48 PM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Feb 04, 2020 02:48 PM

Long story short – invention of automated looms around 1750s proved a concept of “smart” mechanical devices. A variety of mechanical computing devices were invented after that, some of them to try to support huge computation needs of napoleonic france (metric system, recalculating land, taxes etc). Notable machine is Babbage’s computer that was never finished but Ada Byron defined a programming language for it.

Electricity proved to be usable for counting machines with punched cards, so Herman Hollerith created an electromechanical “computer” – counting machine fed with punched cards, for u.s. census in 1890s. That was the beginning of IBM.

The rest is history. 1900s brought interesting electrical computers, most of them having separate memory for instructions and data, all of them using punched cards/tapes. Conrad Zuse had several interesting machines.

Then, Enigma happened, and a ww2, and Alan Turing’s computing machine. US worked on a few computers for artilery caalculations, manhattan project etc, but most of them were finished after the war – eniac, edvac etc.

Then there was a cold war. US gained advantage, but russians had their technology also. US needed tech for air defense an space program. SAGE, SABRE, FORTRAN, first chess on IBM 760 are some notable projects.

Then came IBM’s model 360 and mainframe computers dominated the market. Digital memmory, COBOL, etc. Computers started looking the way we see them now.

70s brought bar code, floppy disc, hard disc, portable computer (50lbs).

80s were pc era, Xerox had some wery advanced technology at the time. Commodore, Spectrum, Apple had some of their best time. IBM hesitated at first, but dominated the industry finally (IBM PC is now kind of forgotten, but that classification still stands)

Its interesting to note that eastern block also had their own tecg, but failed to become competitive due to communist politics. Elbrus still works, but seems some 15 years behind Intel. Yugoslavian Galaksija is probably what Apple would be in communist country…

Setun is an interesting one too – a ternary computer.

(not so)fun fact – ibm manufactured machines for nazi germany, for counting jews

tldr; history of computers is for the most part history of IBM

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