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The Invention of the Computer and Its Pioneers

31.01.2024
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The Invention of the Computer and Its Pioneers
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The Invention of the Computer and Its Pioneers

Computers, the cornerstone of developing technology and an indispensable part of the modern world, are the product of a complex invention and many years of development. The emergence of computers on the stage of history was made by the 19th century mathematician and mechanical engineer Charles Babbage It starts with . Babbage designed the 'Analytical Engine' capable of making automatic mechanical calculations.

Invention of the Computer

He introduced the concept of the digital programmable computer, but the technological possibilities to fully build this complex machine were not available at that time.

The first working programmable computer is attributed to the Z1941, created by German engineer Konrad Zuse in 3. Developed during World War II, this machine is considered the first electromechanical computer. However, the first electronically programmable general-purpose computer, ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), which is considered the ancestor of modern computers, was completed in 1945 by American engineers J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly.

Today, the evolution of electronic devices that come to mind when computers are mentioned is constantly continuing, and many scientists and engineers are contributing to this field. In this process extending from the first idea to the present day, it is once again understood what a great revolution computers are for humanity and their place in our lives.

Historical Origins of the First Computers

Unlike the modern electronic devices that come to our mind when we say computers, the first "computers" of history were living people. Experts in mathematics and calculations; So mathematicians and accountants had this title. Looking back, the word dates back to 1613 and referred to people who performed difficult mathematical operations manually. The term "computer" was first used to describe a machine in the late 19th century, around 1897. This was a turning point in the evolution of the word computer and laid the foundation for today's technological developments.

Antikythera Mechanism: History's First Computer

The Antikythera mechanism is considered the oldest known computer. This device, dating back to the 2nd century BC, was discovered in a shipwreck in the Aegean Sea and is astonishing because it can make astronomical calculations. The Antikythera mechanism served to predict eclipses and reflect the cosmology of the ancient world. This hand-operated mechanical device is a product of intelligence that surpasses its time, with a system of at least 30 gears and a complex structure. Archaeological findings indicate that such mechanisms existed in the Ancient Greek period and shed light on the roots of science and technology. It would not be wrong to say that Antikythera is the ancestor of future computational devices.

Who Invented the Computer?

English mathematician Charles Babbage, known as the inventor of the computer, was the pioneer of automatic mechanical calculating machines. Babbage, who worked on three magnificent machines throughout his life, came up with designs that could be considered the ancestors of modern computers, but could not realize any of them due to financial difficulties.

Babbage designed a Difference Engine in 1822 that could calculate polynomial functions and create tables automatically. The fact that this revolutionary machine was not built is considered one of the moments that changed the course of history. Although supported by the British state, the project was not completed and funding was cut.

Babbage's most important work, the Analytical Engine, was designed as the first programmable mechanical computer. This machine, which is the greatest proof of its forward-thinking, was designed to have a processor (The Mill) and memory (Store) unit similar to today's computers.

Invention of the Computer

Babbage believed that mechanical computers would be superior to human calculations in accuracy and speed. However, although he was not appreciated enough at the time, this genius, which left its mark on the 19th century, laid the foundations of today's computers. Babbage and his works have become immortalized among the keystones of the history of technology.

The Birth and Importance of the First Electric Computers

Understanding the first examples of electrical computers helps us understand how information technology developed to such an extent. World War II has been recorded as a period that necessitated technological progress. In these harsh times, electromechanical computers have played a vital role.

The first electric computers were unique machines that combined analog calculations and digital operations. Despite the limited durability of mechanical relays, these machines far outperformed previous mechanical computers thanks to the speed of the electrical switches. Electrical switches operated 1000 times faster, allowing difficult calculation tasks to be completed in a much shorter time. Thus, electromechanical computers could be used in a wide range of areas, from intelligence analysis to complex calculations under wartime conditions.

The legacy of these inventions continues today and plays a critical role in shaping the modern world by forming the basis of current computer technologies. These pioneering machines have pushed the boundaries of computer science and contributed to building our increasingly digital future.

Birth of the World's First Personal Computer

The magical evolution of information technology in our age began with a historic step taken by François Gernelle in 1973. That year, François created the Micral N, the world's first personal computer. This revolutionary device was capable of processing 500 instructions per second, despite operating at only 50.000 KHz. Micral N, which was offered for sale at a very high cost for that period of 8.500 French Francs, opened the doors to a new era in terms of the use and accessibility of technology.

The following year witnessed a turning point in commercial terms. In 1974, MITS released the Altair 8800, and this computer became such a commercial success that it led to the growth of the MITS team and the hiring of more staff. This commercial success, built on the technological success of Micral N, was recorded as the first steps in the historical development of personal computers.

Undoubtedly, François Gernelle's visionary work ushered in an era of personal computers and paved the way for this technology to be integrated into the lives of millions of people. This progress, which started with Gernelle, has formed the cornerstone of new inventions and innovations in the world of technology.

First Steps of the Portable Computer Market: IBM 5100

The year 1975 was a very important turning point for the technology world. IBM pioneered the portable computer concept and introduced the IBM 5100. This innovative device is considered the commercial ancestor of portable computers and was considered a step that greatly improved mobility under the conditions at the time. However, compared to today's portable computers, it had a rather figurative approach to the definition of "portable" with its weight of 23 kg.

The IBM 5100 was powered by a 16-bit processor and used quarter-inch cartridge tape drives for data storage. It also allowed its users to carry out their transactions on a monochrome screen and offered two different options for background color: black and white. The launch of the IBM 5100 went down in history as a milestone in the evolutionary process of personal computers and paved the way for the development of laptops and mobile devices in the following years.

Invention of the Computer