# History of computing

The

**history of**is longer than thecomputing history of computing hardware and modern computing technology and includes the history of methods intended for pen and paper or for chalk and slate, with or without the aid of tables. Thepresents a summary list of major developments in computing by date.timeline of computing **Concrete devices**Computing is intimately tied to the representation of "numbers". But long before

abstraction s like "number" arose, there were mathematical concepts to serve the purposes of civilization. These concepts are implicit in concrete practices such as :

*"one-to-one correspondence ", a rule to count "how many" items, say on atally stick , which was eventually abstracted into "number";

*"comparison to a standard", a method for assuming "reproducibility " in ameasurement , for example, the number ofcoin s;

*the "3-4-5" right triangle was a device for assuring a "right angle", usingrope s with 12 evenly spacedknot s, for example.**Numbers**Eventually, the concept of numbers became concrete and familiar enough for

counting to arise, at times with sing-song mnemonics to teachsequence s to others. All the known languages have words for at least "one" and "two", and even some animals like theblackbird can distinguish a surprising number of items. Fact|date=August 2007Advances in the

numeral system andmathematical notation eventually led to the discovery of mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, squaring, square root, and so forth. Eventually the operations were formalized, and concepts about the operations became understood well enough to be stated formally, and even proven. See, for example, Euclid's algorithm for finding the greatest common divisor of two numbers.By the High Middle Ages, the positional

Hindu-Arabic numeral system had reachedEurope , which allowed for systematic computation of numbers. During this period, the representation of a calculation onpaper actually allowed calculation ofmathematical expression s, and the tabulation ofmathematical function s such as thesquare root and thecommon logarithm (for use in multiplication and division) and thetrigonometric function s. By the time ofIsaac Newton 's research, paper or vellum was an important computing resource, and even in our present time, researchers likeEnrico Fermi would cover random scraps of paper with calculation, to satisfy their curiosity about an equation. Even into the period of programmable calculators,Richard Feynman would unhesitatingly compute any steps which overflowed the memory of the calculators, by hand, just to learn the answer.**Early computation**The earliest known tool for use in computation was the

abacus , and it was thought to have been invented inBabylon circa2400 BC . Its original style of usage was by lines drawn in sand with pebbles. Abaci, of a more modern design, are still used as calculation tools today. This was the first known computer and most advanced system of calculation known to date - preceding Greek methods by 2,000 years.In

1115 BCE , theSouth Pointing Chariot was invented inancient China . It was the first knowngear ed mechanism to use adifferential gear , which was later used inanalog computer s. The Chinese also invented a more sophisticated abacus from around the2nd century BCE known as theChinese abacus ).In the

5th century BCE in ancient India, thegrammarian Pāṇini formulated thegrammar ofSanskrit in 3959 rules known as theAshtadhyayi which was highly systematized and technical. Panini used metarules,transformation s andrecursion s with such sophistication that his grammar had thecomputing power equivalent to aTuring machine . Between200 BCE and 400 CE, Jaina mathematicians in India invented thelogarithm . From the13th century , logarithmic tables were produced by Muslim mathematicians.The

Antikythera mechanism is believed to be the earliest known mechanical analog computer. [*[*] It was designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was discovered in 1901 in the*http://www.antikythera-mechanism.gr/project/general/the-project.html "The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project"*] , The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project. Retrieved 2007-07-01Antikythera wreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, between Kythera and Crete, and has been dated to "circa" 100 BC.Mechanical analog computer devices appeared again a thousand years later in the medieval Islamic world and were developed by Muslim astronomers, such as the

equatorium by Arzachel, [*Harvard reference |last=Hassan |first=Ahmad Y. |authorlink=Ahmad Y Hassan |url=http://www.history-science-technology.com/Articles/articles%2071.htm |title=Transfer Of Islamic Technology To The West, Part II: Transmission Of Islamic Engineering |accessdate=2008-01-22*] the mechanical gearedastrolabe byAbū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī ,cite web|url=http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/introduction/woi_knowledge.html|title=Islam, Knowledge, and Science|publisher=University of Southern California |accessdate=2008-01-22] and thetorquetum byJabir ibn Aflah . [*citation|first=R. P.|last=Lorch|title=The Astronomical Instruments of Jabir ibn Aflah and the Torquetum|journal=Centaurus|volume=20|issue=1|year=1976|pages=11-34*] The first programmable machines were also invented by Muslim engineers, such as the automaticflute player by theBanū Mūsā brothersTeun Koetsier (2001). "On the prehistory of programmable machines: musical automata, looms, calculators", "Mechanism and Machine theory"**36**, p. 590-591.] and thehumanoid robot s byAl-Jazari . [*[*] Muslim mathematicians also made important advances in*http://www.shef.ac.uk/marcoms/eview/articles58/robot.html A 13th Century Programmable Robot*] ,University of Sheffield cryptography , such as the development ofcryptanalysis andfrequency analysis by Alkindus. [*Simon Singh, "The Code Book", pp. 14-20*] [*cite web |url=http://www.muslimheritage.com/topics/default.cfm?ArticleID=372 |title= Al-Kindi, Cryptgraphy, Codebreaking and Ciphers |accessdate=2007-01-12 |format= HTML |work=*]When

John Napier discovered logarithms for computational purposes in the early17th century , there followed a period of considerable progress by inventors and scientists in making calculating tools.None of the early computational devices were really

computer s in the modern sense, and it took considerable advancement in mathematics and theory before the first modern computers could be designed.**Navigation and astronomy**Starting with known special cases, the calculation of logarithms and trigonometric functions can be performed by looking up numbers in a

mathematical table , and interpolating between known cases. For small enough differences, this linear operation was accurate enough for use innavigation andastronomy in theAge of Exploration . The uses of interpolation have thrived in the past 500 years: by the twentieth centuryLeslie Comrie andW.J. Eckert systematized the use of interpolation in tables of numbers for punch card calculation.In our time, even a student can simulate the motion of the planets, an N-body differential equation, using the concepts of numerical approximation, a feat which even Isaac Newton could admire, given his struggles with the motion of the Moon.

**Weather prediction**The numerical solution of differential equations, notably the

Navier-Stokes equations was an important stimulus to computing,withLewis Fry Richardson 's numerical approach to solving differential equations. To this day, some of the most powerful computer systems of the Earth are used forweather forecast s.**ymbolic computations**By the late 1960s, computer systems could perform symbolic algebraic manipulations well enough to pass college-level

calculus courses. Using programs like "Mathematica " and others it is now possible to visualize concepts such asmodular form s which were only accessible to the mathematical imagination before this.**References****ee also***

Timeline of quantum computing

*Algorithm

*List of mathematicians

* category

*History of free software

*List of books on the history of computing

*Charles Babbage Institute - research center for history of computing at University of Minnesota**External links*** [

*http://www.computer.org/portal/site/annals IEEE Annals of the History of Computing*]

* [*http://www.algana.co.uk/HistoryofComputingGroup/HistoryofComputingGroup.htm Richmond (UK) History of Computing Group*]

* [*http://ei.cs.vt.edu/~history/ The History of Computing*] by J.A.N. Lee

* [*http://www.thocp.net/ The History of Computing Project*]

* [*http://techwatch.reviewk.com/2008/06/baby-celebrates-birth-of-computing-60-years/ Baby celebrates 60 years of Computing*]

* [*http://www.sigcis.org SIG on Computers, Information and Society of the Society for the History of Technology*]

* [*http://www.maxmon.com/history.htm A History of Computers*]

* [*http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/computing-history/ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry*]

* [*http://www.myoddpc.com/other/history_of_computer.php The history of computer*]

* [*http://www.cbi.umn.edu/ Charles Babbage Institute: Center for the History of Information Technology*]

* [*http://www.tomandmaria.com/Tom/Resources/ResourceFile.htm Key Resources in the History of Computing*]

* [*http://www.pbs.org/nerds/ Cringely's "Triumph of the Nerds"*]

* [*http://www.davros.org/misc/chronology.html A Chronology of Digital Computing Machines (to 1952)*] by Mark Brader

* [*http://www.bitsavers.org/ Bitsavers*] , an effort to capture, salvage, and archive historical computer software and manuals from minicomputers and mainframes of the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s

* [*http://www.rk86.com/frolov/ Soviet calculators and computers collection*] by Sergei Frolov

* [*http://www.emula3.com emula3.com*] Emulation plus historic documents and images (see Library and Gallery sections)

* [*http://theses.library.uwa.edu.au/adt-WU2006.0082/ Cyberhistory (2002)*] by Keith Falloon. UWA digital thesis repository.

* [*http://rwservices.no-ip.info:81/biblio.html Annotated bibliography of references to handwriting recognition and pen computing*]**Computer History Museums**:"See "

*Wikimedia Foundation.
2010.*

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**History of computing hardware**— Computing hardware is a platform for information processing (block diagram) The history of computing hardware is the record of the ongoing effort to make computer hardware faster, cheaper, and capable of storing more data. Computing hardware… … Wikipedia**History of computing hardware (1960s–present)**— The history of computing hardware starting at 1960 is marked by the conversion from vacuum tube to solid state devices such as the transistor and later the integrated circuit. By 1959 discrete transistors were considered sufficiently reliable and … Wikipedia**List of books on the history of computing**— Early popularizations (not written as history) = *Edmund Callis Berkeley, Giant Brains, or Machines That Think , 1949, John Wiley Sons, ISBN 0 471 06996 5 A contemporary book about computers. *Wallace J. Eckert and Rebecca Jones, Faster, Faster:… … Wikipedia**List of history of computing articles**— This page is only for the use of the wiki project: Computing.Here is a list of all of the articles involving information about the history of computing.* History of computing * History of personal computers * History of computing hardware *… … Wikipedia**IEEE Annals of the History of Computing**— The IEEE Annals of the History of Computing is a quarterly journal published by the IEEE Computer Society. It contains peer reviewed articles and other contribitions on the history of computing, computer science and computer hardware by computer… … Wikipedia**Association for History and Computing**— The Association for History and Computing (AHC) is an organization dedicated to the use of computers in historical research.The AHC is an international organization with the aim of promoting the use of computers in all types of historical study,… … Wikipedia**Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation**— Fate Renamed Successor IBM Founded 1911 Defunct 1924 … Wikipedia**history list**— UK US noun [countable] [singular history list plural history lists] computing a record of what information the previous users of a computer have put into the computer Thesaurus: parts of computer programs, syst … Useful english dictionary**Computing**— For the formal concept of computation, see computation. For the magazine, see Computing (magazine). For the scientific journal, see Computing (journal). A difference engine: computing the solution to a polynomial function … Wikipedia**History of computer science**— The history of computer science began long before the modern discipline of computer science that emerged in the twentieth century. The progression, from mechanical inventions and mathematical theories towards the modern concepts and machines,… … Wikipedia