Computers have been around for a very long time. It has been reported that a 2000 years old computer-like device was found during excavations in Malta. The first device we can name computer was the Abacus or a counting frame, a calculating tool that was in use centuries before the adoption of the written modern numeral system. Abacus is actually still widely used by merchants, traders and clerks in Asia, Africa, and elsewhere. Over the centuries many other inventions contributed to creation of the very first computer-like machine but the slide rule, invented by William Oughtred in 1622 based on logarithmic scales is likely to be the most important one.
However, the first computer resembling today’s modern machines was the Analytical Engine, a device conceived and designed by Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace between 1833 and 1871.
Brief History of Computing
Almost a century later in 1936 a man named Konrad Zuse invented the Z1 Computer, which was the first model to be freely programmable.
The WW2 erupted and in 1942, the first modern electronic computer was invented by John Atanasoff & Clifford Berry, named the ABC Computer. Two years later, Howard Aiken and Grace Hopper invented the Harvard Mark 1 Computer. The next computer to come on the scene was the ENIAC 1 which had over 20,000 vacuum tubes, and was invented by John Presper Eckert & John W. Mauchly in 1946.
A major breakthrough occurred between 1947 and 1948 when John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and Wiliam Shockley invented the transistor, the component which will play a major role in the future of computers. In 1948, two more computers came about: The Manchester Baby Computer and The Williams Tube. The inventors were Frederic Williams and Tom Kilburn.
The UNIVAC Computer, invented by John Presper Eckert and John W. Mauchly came into the scene in 1951 as the first commercial computer.
IBM entered the computer history in 1953 with the IBM 701 EDPM Computer. The next year, they worked with a man named John Backus to create the FORTRAN Computer Programming Language, which was one the first high level programming language.
Designed to read magnetic ink on checks in 1955 the Stanford Research Institute, Bank of America, and General Electric put into use by 1959 computers named ERMA and MICR while in 1958, Jack Kilby & Robert Noyce invented the integrated circuit.
The very first computer game, known as “Spacewar Computer Game” hit the scene in 1962, courtesy of Steve Russell and MIT and two years later Douglas Engelbart invented Windows and the computer mouse. The original internet, known as ARPAnet, was built in 1969. Just one year later in 1970 the very first computer memory (RAM), Intel 1103 chip came out.
In 1971, the very first microprocessor, the Intel 4004 Computer Microprocessor was invented by Federico Faggin, Ted Hoff and Stanley Mazor. The same year, IBM worked with Alan Shugart, founder of Seagate to create the floppy disk. In 1973, the ethernet came into the scene as a result of Robert Metcalfe‘s work with Xerox.
In late 70s several computers came into play: Scelbi & Mark-8 Altair and IBM 5100 Computers, the first consumer computers including Apple I, II & TRS-80 and Commodore Pet Computers. During this time the VisiCalc Spreadsheet Software was developed by Dan Bricklin & Bob Frankston. As VisiCalc pays for itself in just two weeks Seymour Rubenstein and Rob Barnaby presented their WordStar Software, the first Word Processor.
IBM released its first at home computer, the IBM PC in 1981. Later that year, Microsoft released the MS-DOS operating system. In 1983, Apple released the Lisa, the first computer with a graphical user interface followed by a more affordable version known as the Macintosh in 1984. In 1985, Microsoft designed Windows to compete with Apple’s GUI.
Over the next three decades, several advancements in computer technology allowed the Internet to become a powerful communication tool, connecting billions together. Today, computers can be found everywhere allowing us to enjoy the virtual world with no boundaries. By 2020 it is expected microprocessors with WiFi to be present in all home appliances, cars and boats and by 2030 in every single product including food, beverages, clothing, etc.