Who Invented the Computer?

Who Invented the Computer?

There is no single inventor of the computer. What the history of the computer will show is that several people contributed to its growth.

The Earliest Computers

Because the term is so general, it’s hard to pinpoint which was the first one. Some point to the abacus, a device invented in 1621 by the mathematician Will Oughthred. The apparatus could perform simple math calculations including logarithms. In 1642 Pascal came out with the Pascaline and is regarded as the world’s first calculator.

Other calculating devices were made by Gottfried Leibniz and Charles Thomas. In 1812 Charles Babbage came up with the Difference Engine. In the history of the computer, some actually cite this as the first one.

The idea was that it could perform several math calculations and be programmed by a single individual. However he was never able to finish the project due to technical reasons.

Digital Computers

As early as 1906, the scientist Alan Turing had written about a digital computer. But it was in 1939 that his vision was fully realized. It was invented by Dr. John Astanoff.

But it was during World War II that computer innovations really took off. The reason was that the Allies needed them to break the Germans’ war codes. One of the earliest high speed machines was called ENIAC (Electrical Numerical Integration and Calculator).

The ENIAC marked a turning point in the history of the computer. 1,800 sq ft large, it was a thousand times more powerful than any computer built before it. In 1950 the SWAC was invented. It possessed a clock and a storage system.

Around the same time patents for transistors were filed. In the 1960s magnetic disks began to be used to store programs. The end result was that computers started getting smaller and more powerful. The 1970s also witnessed the increased usage of the microchip where all the data could be stored.

The 1980s

As computers became more powerful and cheaper, their potential for business was seen. In 1981 IBM produced the first PC (personal computer). A couple of years later, Steve Jobs and his company would release the first Apple computer.

The history of the computer in the 1980s was one of rapid expansion. Aside from Apple and IBM, companies like Atari and Commodore released computers for business and games.

The 1990s

The 1990s saw the emergence of Microsoft Windows. The introduction of a graphical user interface allowed non technical and causal users the chance to use computers. This was coupled with the release of even faster processors.

At the same time, accessories like printers and scanners became more powerful and affordable. Computer applications and games also grew in numbers never seen before.

Also in 1990, Tim Berners Lee started working on the basic makeup of the World Wide Web. As computer usage grew, it would become linked to the Web and the Net.

The history of the computer is a fascinating one. As you can see, not one single individual is responsible for it. Rather it is the result of the collective efforts of various individuals and groups.

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One Response to “Who Invented the Computer?”

  1. mike says:

    Charles Cabbage?! I think you mean Babbage

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