What is Computer and Its History
When a person thinks of a computer, they typically think of a machine that can do all sorts of tasks, such as calculate the average speed of a car. The computer, however, brought a new image to computing. The first computers were very crude, but eventually advanced. The image of the computer is what everyone associates with computing today. Here are some of the key players in the history of the computer.
The difference engine was designed by Charles Babbage and was considered the first automatic computing machine. This device computed several sets of numbers and produced hard copies of the results. Ada Lovelace was Babbage’s assistant during its development. Though he never created a fully functional computer, his ideas and designs did not go unnoticed. In fact, the Difference Engine No. 2 was finally completed by the London Science Museum in 1991, along with its printing mechanism.
The British government helped Babbage finance the project and gave him a grant to complete the device. With the money, he hired a machinist to make the parts. This was later followed by an army of people who wanted to get to Babbage’s house and destroy it. Then, he hired a machinist who could make 25,000 parts. The result was a machine that could process up to 10,000 different types of data at a time.
The invention of the Difference Engine in 1813 was a success and revolutionized mathematics. It was a simple machine that could perform mathematical operations. The first computer was called the Difference Engine and was capable of processing twenty-decimals. It was operated by discrete digits, and toothed wheels carried the digits. However, the first versions of the
Difference Engine had only eight decimal digits, and the machine was not very accurate.
Charles Babbage had developed several other inventions before his famous Difference Engine. In 1821, he was working on a machine called the Analytical Engine. This machine would be capable of performing any arithmetical operations. It would also have a memory unit for storing numbers and other information. It would run on steam and have one attendant. However, it was not built as he imagined.
A computer of this sort could be considered a revolutionary invention. It was not until the 1970s that the history of Babbage’s computer could be fully understood. The machine was initially designed as a tool to input punched cards, which were then used to produce a standardized output format. Its output was a printer. However, today, personal digital assistants are the most popular computer models.
The inventor of the first computer, Charles Babbage, was born to a wealthy family and received considerable private tutoring. He attended a small educational academy in Enfield, a suburb of London. While studying at the Academy, Babbage spent many hours in the library reading books on mathematics. He had two tutors during his education. He also became a professor at
Cambridge University. It is said that his creations revolutionized the field of mathematics in Great Britain.
Charles Babbage is widely recognized as the ‘Father of the Modern Computer’. Despite the fact that none of his computers were ever built in their entirety, he did come up with a project that proved to be far more ambitious than his earlier computer prototypes. The Automatic Difference Engine was initially designed to assist with the calculation of mathematical tables used for navigation. However, this project was never built because of technical limitations, and the next project was much more ambitious.
Charles Babbage was born into a wealthy family in Devonshire. He attended a good school, and eventually earned a degree from Cambridge. While he was a gifted mathematician, he discovered that his professors had much less knowledge than he did. Nonetheless, this young man was determined to change the way math was taught at Cambridge. In 1839, he helped start the Analytical Society, which later evolved into the Computing History Foundation.
The Difference Engine No.2, a working example of Babbage’s computer, is now exhibited at the Science Museum. In June 1991, it was completed as part of a exhibit commemorating the bicentennial of Babbage’s birth. Despite the complexity of the computer, it was the work of a deeply insightful man who had the drive to create a universal computer.
In the late 1940s, Eckert and Mauchly formed a company called the Eckert-Mauchly Computer
Corporation. They later changed the name to the Univac Division of Remington Rand, and Mauchly became a senior executive. He eventually left Unisys and joined Sperry. After retiring from Unisys, he worked as a consultant for the company. Despite his prestigious title, Eckert is often overlooked in computer history.
The development of the ENIAC computer system was so successful that Mauchly and Eckert started work on a successor to the ENIAC. In addition to developing the EDVAC, Eckert and Mauchly worked with John von Neumann. The two men resigned from the Moore School of Electrical Engineering after a dispute arose over intellectual property rights. However, the company still needed a contract to obtain funding to continue the work.
Mauchly had already studied mathematics at the Moore School, where he developed his interest in electronic calculating machines. He and Eckert discussed the possibility of building a large electronic computer for scientific research. In 1943, Mauchly, along with J.P. Eckert, headed the engineering side of the project. Together, they developed the computer, which was officially christened Project PX. This machine helped the military to calculate artillery range tables.
Eckert and Mauchly incorporated the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation in 1948. While Eckert remained chief engineer, Mauchly assumed the role of president. He was also responsible for disseminating the company’s progress and signing contracts with A.C. Nielsen Company, Prudential Insurance Company, and the American Totalisator Company. In addition to their research, Mauchly and Eckert became influential in the computer history of America.
As a result of these contracts, Eckert and Mauchly struggled to raise funds for their projects.
Their work with the NBS resulted in a study contract for the Universal Automatic Computer.
Mauchly and Eckert then founded a company to develop the computer, which they named the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation. In May of 1948, the company signed a contract to build the UNIVAC.
Mauchly and Eckert went on to become the first computer-manufacturing company in the United
States. They were able to gain a high profile when they founded the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, which eventually became the Sperry Rand Corporation. Their work with the company led to the UNIVAC, the first operational stored-program electronic digital computer in the United States. Both Eckert and Mauchly won numerous honors during their long careers and are credited for the invention of computer history.
Mauchly and Eckert were keen to share their knowledge of electronic digital computers and their potential. The two inventors were so interested in the idea of a forum for computing professionals that the school asked both Mauchly and Eckert to present lectures during a summer course, sponsored by the Army Ordnance Department and Office of Naval Research.
This summer course was an important step in the transfer of technology.
In 1955, Mauchly became the director of the UNIVAC Applications Research Center at SperryRand. In 1957, the company’s merger with Remington Rand saw Mauchly take on a more managerial role in computer development. He also developed the critical path method to schedule a computer program. In 1967, he started a consulting company, Dynatrend. These two men are responsible for some of the most important events in computer history.
John Mauchly went on to have an extremely successful career in engineering and entrepreneurship. In his early days, Mauchly took a summer course at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. His motivation was to learn more about electronics so he could build new things. The faculty members were impressed and Mauchly was hired as an electrical engineering instructor. The company is now called Eckert Mauchly.
Mauchly and Eckert began developing the first commercial computer, the UNIVAC, and worked together to perfect the software. Their ambitions were too great for the company to finance the project. In February 1950, the company was sold to Remington Rand, later to become Unisys. In this short time, they sold 43 units of the UNIVAC. This was the beginning of the modern computer age.