Technology

First Mechanical Computer, Turing Machine, Colossus, the Z1 details

When Was the Computer Invented?

There are many classifications of computers so answering the questions as to when the first computer was invented can be difficult. When you look at the first mechanical computer that was created in 1822 by Charles Babbage, it is far from what we consider a modern times computer. There are earlier inventions that helped build the computer like calculator, tablet machines, abacus, and others. Use of the word “computer” was initially different from what the world is used today. In 1613, the word “computer” was used to refer to a human who did calculations and computations and that definition remained so until towards the end of 19th century when machines designed for calculating where invented during the industrial revolution.

If we are to talk about when the computer was invented, we have to look at the different inventions and concepts for computing machines.

History of Computers & Generations of Computers Explained on YouTube:

The First Mechanical Computer:

 The Difference Engine was considered to be the initial automatic computing machine and it was conceptualized and developed by Charles Babbage in 1822. The Difference Engine could compute numerous sets of numbers and make hard copies of the obtained results. Ada Lovelace helped Babbage to develop the Difference Engine and she was perceived as the first computer programmer because of her work as well as notes on the computing engine. The project didn’t get accomplished as intended because of lack of funds, so a complete full-scale functional machine was not developed. However, in 1991, the Difference Engine No 2 was completed by the London Science Museum and the printing mechanism was completed in 2000.

Charles Babbage also proposed the Analytical Engine in 1837 and this was the first general mechanical computer. This Engine comprises basic flow control, integrated memory, arithmetic logic unit, and punch cards. It was the general-purpose computing concept. Also, because of funding issues, Charles Babbage could complete building the Analytical Engine. However, his youngest son did work on a part of the machine that could perform basic calculations.

The Turing Machine:

This was the first concept to represent what may be considered a modern computer and it was proposed in 1936 by Alan Turing. The Turing machine became the basis for theories about computers and computing. This machine could print symbols within paper tapes that resembled a person following a set of logical instructions. These are the same fundamentals that we find in modern computers.

The Colossus:

This is considered the first electric programmable computing machine and it was developed by Tommy Flowers. The machine was demonstrated in 1943 and it had been built to assist the British code breakers to be able to read encrypted German messages.

The Z1:

Between 1936 and 1938 Konrad Zuse created the Z1 machine and it was perceived to be the first programmable computer. This electro-mechanical binary computer was also deemed the first really functional modern computing machine.

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