Early Computing Machines and Inventors

Jul 7th, 2015
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The abacus, which emerged about 5,000 years ago in Asia Minor and is still in use today, may be considered the first computer. This device allows users to make computations using a system of sliding beads arranged on a rack. Early merchants used the abacus to keep trading transactions. But as the use of paper and pencil spread, particularly in Europe, the abacus lost its importance. It took nearly 12 centuries, however, for the next significant advance in computing devices to emerge. In 1642, Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), the 18-year-old son of a French tax collector, invented what he called a numerical wheel calculator to help his father with his duties.

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Computers: History and DevelopmentNothing epitomizes modern life better than the computer. For better or worse, computers have infiltrated every aspect of our society. Today computers do much more than simply compute:supermarket scannerscalculate our grocery bill while keeping store inventory; computerizedtelephone switching centersplay traffic cop to millions of calls and keep lines of communication untangled; andautomatic teller machineslet us conduct banking transactions from virtually anywhere in the world. But where did all this technology come from and where is it heading? To fully understand and appreciate the impact computers have on our lives and promises they hold for the future, it is important to understand their evolution.Early Computing Machines and InventorsTheabacus, which emerged about 5,000 years ago in Asia Minor and is still in use today, may be considered the first computer. This device allows users to make computations using a system of sliding beads arranged on a rack. Early merchants used the abacus to keep trading transactions. But as the use ofpaper and pencilspread, particularly in Europe, the abacus lost its importance. It took nearly 12 centuries, however, for the next significant advance in computing devices to emerge. In 1642,Blaise Pascal(1623-1662), the 18-year-old son of a French tax collector, invented what he called a numerical wheel calculator to help his father with his duties. This brass rectangular box, also

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