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Computer history

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Computer history


Computers affect the lives of nearly everyone living today. No matter where it is that someone calls their home; there is almost a certainty that they have some sort of daily interaction with computers or some kind of computer driven device. Every morning, millions of people of every field imaginable go off to work and start up their computers. These daily activities occur often without much thought, but there are more than just minor factors that have led up to the development of today's computer.

Through research and advances made as early as the late nineteenth century, and even before that in some instances, today's computer related technologies have emerged. A major influence in the development of what is now known as the computer were made by the United States military in the 1940's and 1950's. The needs of the military at the time required that a system be created that could aid in the aiming of ballistic military equipment. Today's modern computers are undoubtedly the result of the United States military's early developments and technological advancements in computing. Because of the military's need for the computer earlier this century, great advancements have been, and will continue to be made in the way of computers and other technologies.

Truly the first computers, or tools made with the intention of being used for calculating, were made many centuries ago. Throughout history, people have used a diverse array of devices to help them do both simple and complex calculations. Tools have varied from fingers to computers. Tools such as the abacus have aided men for many centuries in doing math. They have simplified complicated tasks, and have, in some instances, even made it possible to avoid doing certain manual tasks. However, one of the most deserving devices of praise is the common computer of today. The electronic computers now in use gain much of their influence from the United States military's work from earlier this century (Beveridge).

From Military Needs to Every Desktop

A major advocate during the early and middle parts of this century of computer technology and advancement was the military. It was interested in the computer primarily for its ability to greatly improve accuracy in missile shots. Many different people, along with the creation and advancement of technologies, were needed in order for the military's ambition for the use of computer capabilities to be accomplished. Several of the key people involved in the advancement of computers and some of the technologies resulting are discussed in some of the following articles.

Several events and inventions from early this century paved the road for the development that would later occur by the United States military. One example is that of Vannevar Bush. Bush invented a large-scale differential analyzer, a device that was a precursor to the computer. The 1930's saw the first of the electronic computers. In 1935, a scientist named Konrad Zuse developed the Z-1 computer. Soon thereafter, in 1936, John Vincent Atanasoff and John Berry developed the Atanasoff-Berry computer. Later developments made by Bell Telephone Lab led to the creation of the Complex Number Calculator in 1939. Though many of these advancements were helpful, they lacked what was needed by the United States military. However, soon the military would be drawn to the possibilities that were offered by computers (Beveridge).

Prior to the start of the Second World War, the United States military gained much interest in the potential that the newly developing computers of the time had to offer. Though quite primitive by today's standards, the military saw that there was much possibility in the computers capabilities and advantage that could be gained through the use of computers. During the time of World War I, there were only analog computer systems available. These differ from modern computers in that they are more mechanical than they are electronic. The function of the analog computers in the first of the World Wars was to calculate a torpedoes course when launched from a submarine. Additionally, some analog systems were used for the purpose of bombsights in war aircraft.

Howard Hathaway Aiken (1900 - 1973), a Harvard University mathematician, and Grace Hopper (...

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Keywords: computer history museum, computer history timeline, computer history in hindi, computer history pdf, computer history in tamil, computer history and generation, computer history in marathi, computer history museum hours

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