Who is credited for the invention of the first computer
The Man Who Invented the Computer: The Biography of John Atanasoff, Digital Pioneer by Jane SmileyFrom one of our most acclaimed novelists, a David-and-Goliath biography for the digital age.
One night in the late 1930s, in a bar on the Illinois–Iowa border, John Vincent Atanasoff, a professor of physics at Iowa State University, after a frustrating day performing tedious mathematical calculations in his lab, hit on the idea that the binary number system and electronic switches, combined with an array of capacitors on a moving drum to serve as memory, could yield a computing machine that would make his life and the lives of other similarly burdened scientists easier. Then he went back and built the machine. It worked. The whole world changed.
Why don’t we know the name of John Atanasoff as well as we know those of Alan Turing and John von Neumann? Because he never patented the device, and because the developers of the far-better-known ENIAC almost certainly stole critical ideas from him. But in 1973 a court declared that the patent on that Sperry Rand device was invalid, opening the intellectual property gates to the computer revolution.
Jane Smiley tells the quintessentially American story of the child of immigrants John Atanasoff with technical clarity and narrative drive, making the race to develop digital computing as gripping as a real-life techno-thriller.
History of Computers: A Brief Timeline
In particular, when viewing the movies you should look for two things: The progression in hardware representation of a bit of data: Vacuum Tubes s - one bit on the size of a thumb; Transistors s and s - one bit on the size of a fingernail; Integrated Circuits s and 70s - thousands of bits on the size of a hand Silicon computer chips s and on - millions of bits on the size of a finger nail. The progression of the ease of use of computers: Almost impossible to use except by very patient geniuses s ; Programmable by highly trained people only s and s ; Useable by just about anyone s and on. Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert at the University of Pennsylvania. ENIAC was also the first machine to use more than 2, vacuum tubes, using nearly 18, vacuum tubes.
DIY Linux. Internet Entertainment. Technology Explained. When was the first computer invented? It sounds like it should be a simple question to answer, right? Keep reading to find out more.
Who Invented the First Computer?
The computer was born not for entertainment or email but out of a need to solve a serious number-crunching crisis. By , the U. Census results. The government sought a faster way to get the job done, giving rise to punch-card based computers that took up entire rooms. Today, we carry more computing power on our smartphones than was available in these early models. The following brief history of computing is a timeline of how computers evolved from their humble beginnings to the machines of today that surf the Internet , play games and stream multimedia in addition to crunching numbers.
We could argue that the first computer was the abacus or its descendant, the slide rule, invented by William Oughtred in But the first computer resembling today's modern machines was the Analytical Engine , a device conceived and designed by British mathematician Charles Babbage between and Before Babbage came along, a "computer" was a person, someone who literally sat around all day, adding and subtracting numbers and entering the results into tables. The tables then appeared in books, so other people could use them to complete tasks, such as launching artillery shells accurately or calculating taxes. It was, in fact, a mammoth number-crunching project that inspired Babbage in the first place [source: Campbell-Kelly ]. Napoleon Bonaparte initiated the project in , when he ordered a switch from the old imperial system of measurements to the new metric system. For 10 years, scores of human computers made the necessary conversions and completed the tables.