Topic: history of computers

topics > Group: computer science

computer architecture
history of mathematics
history of programming
intelligent machines
networks of relays
Turing machine
von Neumann computer
what is a computer
Subtopic: automaton up

Quote: Aristotle: could do without subordinates if inanimate instruments could do their own work by command or intelligent anticipation [»aris_322]

Subtopic: logical design up

Quote: how to construct a relay switching circuit from equations of the independent and dependent variables [»shanCE6_1938]
Quote: use truth tables to prove theorems about hindrances, i.e., open or closed circuits; e.g., associative and distributive laws [»shanCE6_1938]
Quote: perfect analogy between calculus of switching circuits and Boolean logic; Huntington's postulates and De Morgan's theorem [»shanCE6_1938]
Quote: a lock-in circuit is X=RX+S; X operates from R closing to S opening [»shanCE6_1938]

Subtopic: calculating machine up

Quote: Leibniz invented first calculating machine; for manipulating concepts
Quote: Leibniz designed the first four-species adding machine and other logical artifacts. He invented the binary number system and related algorithms [»kramS2_1996]
Quote: in 1642, Pascal designed and built the first mechanical adding machine; for accounting; used rotating wheels that automatically carried to next position [»compHU_1946]
Quote: in 1666, Morland built a mechanical adding machine for multiplication; used repeated addition [»compHU_1946]
Quote: in 1694, Leibnitz built a machine for multiplication using a crank to set and turn all wheels simultaneously; his stepped reckoner remains in use [»compHU_1946]

Subtopic: analytic machine up

Quote: the computer was first suggested by Charles Babbage [»ferr8_1952]
Quote: Babbage's difference engine led to the analytic engine; built forge, foundry, workshops, and a fire-proof building; hired many assistants [»babbC_1864, OK]
Quote: at initialization, the Analytical Engine receives cards that define a sequence of operations, variables, and data [»menaLF10_1842, OK]
Quote: an operation card sets the mill into a specific state in which it will operate on one pair of numbers [»menaLF10_1842, OK]
Quote: Babbage's analytical engine can backup and advance the operation cards to any extent; can make judgments based on any number of conditions [»babbC_1864, OK]
Quote: Babbage's analytical engine used a store for variables and a mill for calculations [»babbC_1864, OK]
Quote: the Jacquard loom could weave any imaginable design; basis for Babbage's analytical engine
Quote: Babbage's analytical engine used a set of operation cards and a set of variable cards; each set strung together
Quote: Babbage's analytical engine may be fast enough to not need precomputed tables [»babbC_1864, OK]
Quote: Babbage's analytical engine designed for 1000 variables of 50 digits apiece; 100 digit intermediate results [»babbC_1864, OK]
Quote: the operations of Babbage's analytical engine take a minute to perform

Subtopic: relay computer up

Quote: can use relay circuits for complex mathematical operations; anything using a finite number of steps of 'if', 'or', 'and', etc.; e.g., adding two numbers [»shanCE6_1938]
Quote: the Z3 used electromagnetic relays, binary numbers, floating point, punched tape, and a lamp strip for output; one multiply in three seconds [»zuseK_1984]
Quote: make Zuse's Z3 a bounded Turing machine by gluing the ends together; simulate branching and indirect addressing with arithmetic [»rojaR3_1998]
Quote: Java simulation of Zuse's Z3 relay computer; circuits validated using a CAD system [»rojaR9_2000]
Quote: can use a circular tape to simulate program loops in the Z3; no conditional branch [»rojaR9_2000]
Quote: the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator was five tons and 51 feet long; visualized in 1937 as a panels dedicated to mathematical operations [»compHU_1946]
Quote: networks of relays and switches used for control and protective circuits for telephone exchanges, industrial motor-control, and other automated tasks [»shanCE6_1938]

Subtopic: universal machine up

Quote: a constructive process is one that a machine can carry out [»copeBJ_1999]
Quote: Newman and Turing wanted to build a universal Turing machine

Subtopic: von Neumann and aritificial neurons up

Quote: digital computers use relay-like elements of two or more states; e.g., neurons which can be imitated by vacuum tubes at 1000x faster [»vonnJ6_1945]
Quote: build a computer from abstract neurons; will be implemented by vacuum tubes [»vonnJ6_1945]

Subtopic: early computers up

Quote: announcement of Manchester "baby" computer; universal, fully electronic, 32 words of storage, adders, multipliers, control unit [»willFC9_1948]
Quote: Manchester "baby" computer correctly ran 3.5 million operations in 52 minutes
Quote: brief history of the development of the EDSAC by Wilkes and others; 1946-1949 [»wilkMV_1951]
Quote: the EDSAC used 1024 numbers of ultrasonic memory; 17 or 35 binary digits from -1 to 1 [»wilkMV_1951]
Quote: a Japanese computer, the TAC, used the same order codes and subroutine library as the EDSAC; only source was this book [»wilkMV_1951]
Quote: computers can perform arithmetic operations exceedingly rapidly, remember a great many numbers, and make decisions on intermediate results [»ferr8_1952]
Quote: description of the Manchester computer; 10,000 bits of memory, 650,000 bits of disk, paper tape, 16 feet long, 4,000 valves [»ferr8_1952]
Quote: the Ferranti computer was the first built by an engineering firm, the first commercially available; two new memories [»ferr8_1952]

Subtopic: computer network up

Quote: the Internet connected the ARPANET with the ARPA packet radio network using packet switched gateways [»clarDD8_1988]
Quote: the Internet is a packet switched communications facility; a network of networks connected by gateways using store and forward packet forwarding

Subtopic: performance up

Quote: average order times for the EDSAC was 1.5 ms with multiply at 4.5 ms; the tape reader ran at 50 chars/sec and the teleprinter at 7 chars/sec [»campM1_1980]

Subtopic: instruction set up

Quote: the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator had a multiplying unit, dividing unit, 72 adding registers, 60 constant registers, tables of log x, sine x, and 10^x; like mill and store of Babbage [»compHU_1946]
Quote: EDSAC code used 18 orders indicated by letters with an address and length flag [»wilkMV_1951]
Quote: earliest instruction sets for a computer and first program [»knutDE12_1970]
Quote: the IBM 360 has a systematic architecture; condition code, registers, memory, 8-bit bytes, 32-bit integers, 32 and 64-bit reals, two's complement [»wirtN1_1968]
Quote: the Ferranti Mark I included a hardware random number generator; e.g., random walk probability [»turiA3_1951]
Quote: the Ferranti Mark I included a real-time clock accurate to five seconds [»turiA3_1951]
Quote: use complementary numbers for subtraction [»compHU_1946]

Subtopic: address modification up

Quote: a computer can modify the address component of an order; earlier computers used fixed address instructions [»vonnJ6_1945]
Quote: construct a program with many fewer orders by modifying the orders during program execution [»wilkMV_1951]
Quote: in 1955, EDSAC's B-register (index register) made instruction modification obsolete; invented at Manchester University [»campM1_1980]

Subtopic: parallel processing up

Quote: can interpose additional computation for a quarter of the cycles; reduces time to 9.9 seconds

Subtopic: recursion up

Quote: EDSAC's floating point interpreter had recursion, an index register. and DO-loops; first recorded use of recursion [»campM1_1980]

Subtopic: computer memory up

Quote: Turing and Newman explained to Williams and Kilburn how numbers live in houses with addresses [»copeBJ_1999]
Quote: the magnetic store is divided into tracks; each half-track is loaded into a page of memory; each page, a cathode ray tube, contains 64 lines of 20 binary digits each [»turiA3_1951]
Quote: Autocode's one-level store, a cache, automatically moved floating-point variables between drum disks and electronic store [»campB4_1980]

Subtopic: input/output up

Quote: users punched their own tape and hanged the tape with a ticket on a horizontal wire; the operator processed the tapes in order [»wilkMV_1951]
Quote: the sequence control unit reads 24-bit commands (move A to B and start C) from a perforated paper tape [»compHU_1946]
Quote: Babbage's engine would ring a bell for values of a transcendental; if given the wrong card, it would ring a louder bell [»compHU_1946]
Quote: "up transfer" and "down transfer" because the Mark I placed electrostatic memory on a lower floor than its magnetic drum and teleprinter [»campB4_1980]
Quote: Babbage used Jacquard cards, punched cards read by needles that raised particular warp threads; interlaced with twine in an endless sequence, pegs guided the cards over a cylinder [»compHU_1946]

Subtopic: music up

Quote: the Analytical Engine could compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music from the relations of pitched sounds and musical composition [»menaLF10_1842, OK]
Quote: description of the first music program on an ALTAIR 8800; fool on the hill and daisy [»dompS5_1975]
Quote: Strachey's first program was 20 pages long; after fixing a couple of errors, it ran to completion and played "God Save the King"

Related Topics up

Topic: computer architecture (46 items)
Topic: history of mathematics (57 items)
Topic: history of programming (91 items)
Topic: intelligent machines (28 items)
Topic: networks of relays (27 items)
Topic: Turing machine (30 items)
Topic: von Neumann computer (14 items)
Topic: what is a computer
(62 items)

Updated barberCB 11/05
Copyright © 2002-2008 by C. Bradford Barber. All rights reserved.
Thesa is a trademark of C. Bradford Barber.