History of Computer System (Evolution)

We know the computer system is a fast calculating machine that performs different operations.  Although the computer was originally invented for high speed and accurate calculations, it is not only a calculating device.

The development of computers (History of Computer system) started with mechanical devices. Slowly they were improved to the electro-mechanical device and finally, the electronic computers came into existence.

The beginning of modern computer science can be traced back to long ago. People used stones for counting or make scratches on walls or tied knots in a rope to record information.

All these computing techniques required some physical efforts from men. A lot of work was required for large calculations and the process was very slow.

There are many milestones in computer evolution some of the important milestones are given below

History of computer: Mechanical Era

1. Abacus

Abacus - History of Computer System
Abacus [History of Computer – Mechanical Era]

ABACUS is the first manual calculating device developed by the Chinese in 3000 B.C. Abacus consists of a rectangular wooden frame with rods carrying round beads.

A transverse bar (center bar) divides each of these rods into two unequal portions. Consisted of beads on movable rods. Which is divided into two parts.

  • One is the upper smaller portion which is called Heaven.
  • The next one is the lower portion which is called Earth.

The abacus is still used by millions of people throughout Asia. And many children in the united states are introduced to this tool in kindergarten or elementary school.

What is the Full Form of ABACUS?

– Abundant Beads Addition and Calculation utility system

2. Napier’s Bones

In 1614, John Napier, a Scottish mathematician, made a more sophisticated computing machine called the Napier’s bones.

This was a small instrument made of 10 rods on which the multiplication table was engraved. It was made of the strips of ivory bones, and so the name Napier’s bones.

Napier’s bone was a manually operated calculating device. It was made up of rods and sticks with numbers marked on them which can be used to performing multiplication of any number. It was also called a “cardboard multiplication calculator“.

This process was published by john Napier in 1917 in a book titled rabdologia. So the process is also called rabdology.

3. Slide rule

In 1620, the first slide rule came into existence. It was jointly devised by two British mathematicians Edmund Gunter and William ought. 

The computer system was based on the principle that actual distances from the starting point of the rule are directly proportional to the logarithm of the numbers printed on the rule.

The slide rule is embodied by two sets of states that are joined together with a marginal space between them. Space is enough for the free movement of the slide in the groove of the rule.

4. Pascaline

Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician, invented the first mechanical adding machine called paceline in 1642.

Blaise pascal developed this device to assist his father, Etienne pascal in his work when he was 18 years old.

It worked on the clock word mechanism principle which consists of eight dials, gears and wheels. The numbers were entered by dialing a series of numbered wheels. Where the movement of the wheels started at 9 and moved to 0.

An automatic carry-over system was accomplished by rotating the adjacent wheel by one digit. This machine was capable of performing additions and subtraction only.

A programming language “pascal” was later named to honor his contribution.

5. Stepped Reckoner

Gottfried Leibnitz a german mathematician. He extended Blaise pascal’s ideas and constructed a new machine called stepped reckoner in 1671.

His machine was able to perform all the four basic mathematical operations: addition, subtraction multiplication, and division.

Leibnitz’s machine used stepped cylinders, each with nine teeth of varying lengths. Pascal’s and Leibniz’s devices were the forebears of today’s desktop computers

6. Jacquard loom

In 1801, joseph Marie Jacquard, a French textile weaver, invented a jacquard’s loom with an automatic card reader.

This power loom used a series of cards with holes punched at different positions. To automate the weaving process, these cards were placed between the needles and the thread, thereby creating different patterns.

This idea of using punched cards to communicate with the machine was an important step in the development of computers.

The presence or absence of a hole in a punched card represented the two digits of the binary system, which is the base for all modern digital computers.

7. Charles Babbage’s Engine

Charles Babbage, an English mathematician, originated the idea of a programmable computer. He designed a ‘Difference Engine’ in  1823 and an ‘Analytical Engine’ in 1833 for the computation of mathematical tables.

Charles Babbage (1791-1871), the computer pioneer, designed the first automatic computing engines. And this was a great achievement in “History of Computer system

The first complete Babbage Engine was completed in London, 153 years after it was designed. Which consists of 8,000 parts, weighs 5 ton,s and measures 11 feet long.

8. Tabulating Machine

Herman Hollerith, an American census statistician, developed a mechanical tabulating machine in 1887.

It was based on punched cards to rapidly process data for the 1890 United States census. Hollerith established the Tabulating Machine Company in 1996 to manufacture his inventions.

In 1911, the Tabulating Machine Company merged with the international time Recording company, The Dayton sale company, and the Bundy Manufacturing Corporation to form the computing-Tabulating-Recording company(CRT).

CRT was renamed the International Business Machine (IBM) in February 1924.

Learn about Basics of Computer System by clicking here…


History of computer: Electromechanical Era

In this era, we develop calculator with the integration of mechanical and electronic vacuum tube

1. Howard Mark I

Howard Aiken, an American computer engineer, and mathematician, in collaboration with engineers at IBM, undertook the construction of an electro-mechanical computer called mark I in 1937.

  • One of the first programs to run on the Mark 1 was initiated on 29 March 1944 by john von Neumann.
  • It was a general-purpose electromechanical computer that was used in the war effort during the last part of world war II.

2. ABC(Atanasoff-Berry computer)

Professor John Vincent Atanasoff and his graduate student Clifford Berry built the world’s first electronic digital computer called Atanasoff Berry computer at Iowa State University during 1939-1942.

  • Vacuum tubes were used in this computer for storing and for arithmetic logic functions.
  • It was designed for solving systems of simultaneous linear equations.
  • It was used by the military to compute ballistic data.
  • The ABC featured about 300 vacuum tubes for control and arithmetic calculations (instead of direct counting).
  • Memory capacitors, and punched cards as input/output units.

History of computer : Electronic Era

1. ENIAC(Electronic numerical integrator and computer)

ENIAC(electronic numerical integrator and computer) is the first programmable general-purpose electronic digital by the united states during world war II.

  • It was invented by John Presper Ecken and John Mauchly at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • It can be used for solving numerical problems.

2. EDSAC(Electronic delay storage automatic calculator)

EDSAC is an early British computer considered to be the second stored-program electronic computer.

  • It was created by the University of Cambridge in England by Maurice Wikes.
  • EDSAC was built according to the von Neumann machine principles.
  • It is the first computer to run graphical computer games, and implementation of fac-toe called oxo.

3. UNIVAC-I(universal automatic computer)

It was the first general-purpose electronic digital computer design for business applications produced in the united states.

  • It was designed principally by John Presper Eckert and John Mauchly (the inventors of the ENIAC).
  • UNIVAC I used about 5000 vacuum tubes, weighed 16686 pounds.
  • The main memory consisted of 1000 words of 12 characters.

Learn More about History of Computer. Just Click over the Link below which shows a brief timeline on “History of Computer”

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by Rajesh Bhatt
Rajesh is an IT Lecturer with a keen interest in Technological Research over the world. He is equally passionate about Gadgets, Music & Travelling.

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