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A Brief History of Computers By Bernard John Poole, MSIS Associate Professor of Education and Instructional Technology University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

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Presentation on theme: "A Brief History of Computers By Bernard John Poole, MSIS Associate Professor of Education and Instructional Technology University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Brief History of Computers By Bernard John Poole, MSIS Associate Professor of Education and Instructional Technology University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Johnstown, PA 15904

2 From Counting on fingers to pebbles to hash marks on walls to hash marks on bone to hash marks in sand Pre-Mechanical Computing: From Counting on fingers to pebbles to hash marks on walls to hash marks on bone to hash marks in sand Interesting thought: Do any species, other than homo sapiens, count?

3 Mechanical computers From The Abacus c BCE to Charles Babbage and his Difference Engine (1812)

4 Mechanical computers: The Abacus (c BCE)

5 Napier’s Bones and Logarithms (1617) Picture courtesy IBM

6 Oughtred’s (1621) and Schickard‘s (1623] slide rule

7 Blaise Pascal’s Pascaline (1645)

8 Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibnitz’s Stepped Reckoner (1674)

9 Joseph-Marie Jacquard and his punched card controlled looms (1804)

10 Preparing the cards with the pattern for the cloth to be woven

11 Charles Babbage ( ) The Father of Computers

12 Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine [ ]

13 The latest working model of Babbage’s Difference Engine [ ]

14 Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine [ —never completed] Babbage was never able to complete construction of any of his machines due to conflicts with his chief engineer and inadequate funding.

15 Lady Augusta Ada Countess of LovelaceLady Augusta Ada Countess of Lovelace ( ] Lady Augusta Ada Countess of Lovelace Lady Augusta Ada Countess of LovelaceLady Augusta Ada Countess of Lovelace ( ] Lady Augusta Ada Countess of Lovelace Read Lady Augusta Ada’s translation of Menabrea’s Sketch of the Analytical Engine

16 Electro-mechanical computers From Herman Hollerith’s 1890 Census Counting Machine to Howard Aiken and the Harvard Mark I (1944)

17 Herman Hollerith and his Census Tabulating Machine (1884)

18 A closer look at the Census Tabulating Machine

19 The Harvard Mark I (1944) aka IBM’s Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (ASCC)

20 The first computer bug Rear Admiral Dr. Grace Murray Hopper

21 Electronic digital computers From John Vincent Atanasoff’s 1939 Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC) to the present day

22 Alan Turing Alan Turing Alan Turing Alan Turing The Turing Machine Aka The Universal Machine 1936

23 John Vincent Atanasoff ( ) John Vincent Atanasoff ( ) John Vincent Atanasoff ( ) John Vincent Atanasoff ( ) Physics Prof At Iowa State University, Ames, IA

24 Clifford Berry ( ) Clifford Berry ( ) Clifford Berry ( ) Clifford Berry ( ) PhD student of Dr. Atanasoff’s

25 1939 The Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC) The ABC was the first electronic digital computer, invented by John Vincent Atanasoff

26 1943 Bletchley Park’s Colossus The Enigma Machine

27 1946 The ENIAC John Presper Eckert ( ) and John Mauchly ( ) of the University of Pennsylvania Moore School of Engineering

28 The ENIAC: Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer

29 Programming the ENIAC

30 ENIAC’s Wiring! John Von Neumann came up with the bright idea of using part of the computer’s internal memory (called Primary Memory) to “store” the program inside the computer and have the computer go get the instructions from its own memory, just as we do with our human brain. John Von Neumann

31 1951 Univac Typical 1968 prices—EX-cluding maintenance & support!

32 Samuel MorseSamuel Morse, 1844 Lee de Forrest, the audion, 1907 William Shockley et al. 1947) Jack Kilby & Robert Noyce, 1958 M.E. “Ted” Hoff, 1971 Vinton Cerf & Robert Kahn, 1982 Tim Berners-Lee, 1991 “What hath God wrought!” First telegraph message sent by Samuel Morse, 1844 Electronic and computing technology quickly progressed—at an ever-accelerating pace— from vacuum tubes (Lee de Forrest, the audion, 1907) to transistors (William Shockley et al. 1947) to semiconductors (Jack Kilby & Robert Noyce, 1958) to microprocessors (M.E. “Ted” Hoff, 1971) to personal computers [Atari, Apple, IBM, et al., ] to networking and the Internet (Vinton Cerf & Robert Kahn, 1982] to the World Wide Web (Tim Berners-Lee, 1991) to mobile/cell phones, tablet PCs and beyond… Today, you’ll find computers everywhere you care to look and they are controlling an increasingly broad spectrum of the devices we use as we go about our daily lives. The phone is now (2014) a full-blown computing, communication, and entertainment device. Whatever next?… Lee de Forrest William Shockley et al Jack Kilby Robert Noyce M.E. “Ted” Hoff Vinton CerfRobert Kahn Tim Berners-LeeSamuel MorseLee de ForrestWilliam Shockley et alJack Kilby Robert NoyceM.E. “Ted” HoffAtariAppleIBMVinton CerfRobert KahnTim Berners-Lee Samuel MorseSamuel Morse, 1844 Lee de Forrest, the audion, 1907 William Shockley et al. 1947) Jack Kilby & Robert Noyce, 1958 M.E. “Ted” Hoff, 1971 Vinton Cerf & Robert Kahn, 1982 Tim Berners-Lee, 1991 “What hath God wrought!” First telegraph message sent by Samuel Morse, 1844 Electronic and computing technology quickly progressed—at an ever-accelerating pace— from vacuum tubes (Lee de Forrest, the audion, 1907) to transistors (William Shockley et al. 1947) to semiconductors (Jack Kilby & Robert Noyce, 1958) to microprocessors (M.E. “Ted” Hoff, 1971) to personal computers [Atari, Apple, IBM, et al., ] to networking and the Internet (Vinton Cerf & Robert Kahn, 1982] to the World Wide Web (Tim Berners-Lee, 1991) to mobile/cell phones, tablet PCs and beyond… Today, you’ll find computers everywhere you care to look and they are controlling an increasingly broad spectrum of the devices we use as we go about our daily lives. The phone is now (2014) a full-blown computing, communication, and entertainment device. Whatever next?… Lee de Forrest William Shockley et al Jack Kilby Robert Noyce M.E. “Ted” Hoff Vinton CerfRobert Kahn Tim Berners-LeeSamuel MorseLee de ForrestWilliam Shockley et alJack Kilby Robert NoyceM.E. “Ted” HoffAtariAppleIBMVinton CerfRobert KahnTim Berners-Lee

33 Acknowledgements (continued on next slide) For one of the best written books on the history of computers, check out Engines of the Mind : The Evolution of the Computer from Mainframes to Microprocessors -- by Joel N. Shurkin (Paperback)Engines of the Mind : The Evolution of the Computer from Mainframes to Microprocessors -- by Joel N. Shurkin (Paperback) A movingly beautiful book on Alan Turing is Alan Turing: the Enigma, by Andrew HodgesAlan Turing: the Enigma, by Andrew Hodges An excellent, readable book on Cryptography is Simon Singh’s THE CODE BOOK. The Secret History of Codes and Code-BreakingSimon Singh’s THE CODE BOOK. The Secret History of Codes and Code-Breaking Tutorials on the encryption software PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) can be found at All pictures and some of the information were obtained from various sites on the World Wide Web. Complete list follows: Abacus: Napier: Slide Rules: Pascal’s Pascaline: Leibnitz Stepped Reckoner: Jacquard looms:

34 Acknowledgements (continued) Charles Babbage: Lady Augusta Ada, Countess of Lovelace: Electricity: (beautifully written pocket history ofhttp://www.mediaeng.com/historyelect.html electricity & magnetism) Herman Hollerith: Howard Aiken & The Harvard Mark I: Alan Turing: John Vincent Atanasoff: Biographies of Atanasoff and Clifford Berry: J. Presper Eckert: John Mauchly: The patent controversy: ARPANet: Thanks to the following EDTECH listserv colleagues and friends who have reviewed the presentation and provided amendments and additional material for inclusion on the slides and in the notes. Nancy Head, online instructor, Michigan Virtual High School (MVHS), U.S.A., on the web at Mandi Axmann, Instructional Designer, Open Universities Australia


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