Who Invented Computer?
Building the computer did not come from one invention or a single conceptualization. The computer has come up from the evolvement of ideas and concepts. Much credit should be given to the British mathematician Charles Babbage for initially drawing up plans for a computing machine he called Analytical Engine. This was a versatile device that begun with a previous concept of building what he called the Differential Machine in 1822. The concept of creating the Analytical Machine started in 1834 and it was intended to improve the shortcomings witnessed in the 1822 plans of the Difference Machine. Babbage’s dream was to build a device whose wheels, rods, and gears could be arranged or programmed so that they perform numerous tasks- for example, solving equations and composing music. However, only a fragment of the concept was completed and so the work of Babbage did come to be finished until the Science Museum in London in 1991 built a replica of the machine.
Another British mathematician called Alan Turing also made strides in creating the computer. It took about 100 years from the time of Cabbage for Alan Turing to revive the concept of universal machine. The code-breaking colleagues of Alan Turing at Bletchley Park exploited the theoretical powers of the machine during the Second World War. They designed the Colossus and it was used to break the secret ciphers of Hitler. Although historians continue to argue about the person who built the initial genuine computer, in general, it can be said that both engineers from Britain and US did make milestones in creating electronic computing machines by carrying forward the dream of Babbage.
History of Computers & Generations of Computers Explained on YouTube:
Who is the Father of Computers?
Charles Babbage is considered to be the father of computers.
Babbage’s Computing Machine Concept:
The Analytical Engine is the first computer to be invented that resembled modern computing machines. Before the invention, a person who had the definition of the computer would sit down all day to add and subtract numbers and enter the results into tables. Results entered in tables would then appear in books to allow people to use them to accomplish tasks like calculating taxes and launching artillery shells precisely. The Babbage Analytical Machine was a mammoth number-crunching machine.
In 1790, Napoleon Bonaparte initiated Babbage’s project by ordering a change from the old-fashioned imperial measurements systems to the new-fangled metric system. Many human computers (people who added and subtracted numbers and entered the results in tables) made alternations and changes in conversions and completion of the tables for almost 10 years. But Bonaparte wouldn’t publish the tables in books so the human computers sat there just collecting dust in Paris’ Académie Des Sciences.
When Babbage visited Paris the City of Light in 1819 and viewed the manuscripts that were unpublished having tables appearing page after page, he began to wonder. Babbage wondered if there could be a way to create the tables faster using less manpower and making few mistakes. Babbage asked himself, “If creative, diligent inventors could make the inspiring machines like the steam locomotive and cotton gin and other marvels that were created during the Industrial Revolution, then why not a computing machine that can make calculations.”
After returning to England, Babbage decided that he would build a computing machine and came up with the Difference Engine and later the Analytical Engine. The latter was a complex machine that could do intricate calculations like division and multiplication. Both projects didn’t come to be accomplished because of limited funds and political reasons.
John Atanasoff’s Computing Machine:
John Vincent Atanasoff created the first digital computing machine or computer using vacuum tubes. He called his the Atanasoff-Berry Computer or the ABC and it laid the groundwork for modern computer machines. However, the ABC wasn’t programmable.
Atanasoff worked together with Cliff Berry to develop the ABC from 1937 to 1942 at the now Iowa State University. This computing machine had more than 300 vacuum tubes used to make digital computation like Boolean logic and binary math.
The ABC was only capable of solving systems of linear equations; in 1942 it was successfully tested. Nonetheless, its intermediate result storage in form of a paper card reader or writer wasn’t perfected. After John Vincent Atanasoff set his foot out of Iowa State College to undertake assignments of the World War II, the project was discontinued. The work of Atanasoff and Berry became recognized when a U.S. District Court invalidated the patent of ENIAC concluding that the inventors of ENIAC had obtained their subjected matter of making a digital computer from the ideas of Atanasoff.
ENIAC was said to be the works of J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly performed at University of Pennsylvania with the construction kicking off in 1943 and completed in 1946.
Konrad Zuse’s Digital Computing Machine:
Konrad Zuse of Germany created what can be said to be the first functional modern computer the Z1 from 1936 to 1938. It was the first program-controlled computer. The Z1 was a binary drive mechanical computing system with limited programmability and ability to read instructions from punched tape. The machine comprised all parts you would find in a modern computer, for example, micro-sequences, control unit, memory, input-output devices, and floating point logic.
Alan Turing’s Computing Concept:
In 1936, Alan Turing created the first concepts of the modern computer with his Turing Machine. The Turing Machine brought forward the foundation for theories regarding computing and computers. His device could print symbols on the paper tape.
In essence, different computing concepts where invented by different engineers and Charles Babbage is seen to be the pioneer of the modern computing system with other names like Konrad Zuse, John Vincent Atanasoff, and Alan Turing also featuring in.