Who Built the First Computer?
The invention and building of computers has a long interesting history. A lot has happened in the world of computers and answering the question as to who built the first computer may not be as easy as you might think. That being said, there is a lot of literature and information which sheds light on this subject. It can be argued that there has never been a perfect computer piece developed in the same scope and sphere or technological advancement as the one used today. The computer has developed gradually often taking previous inventions and progresses to come up with a new, more technologically advanced piece. The perfect computer machine wasn’t made from a single timed invention but from improvements done on prior inventions. What this means is that no single person may be given the credit for making the computer. Nonetheless, Charles Babbage is said to have come up with the initial idea of a computer, but again there are misconceptions surrounding that idea. Charles Babbage has been referred to as the Father of Computers because of his concept of building a computer, which he called The Mechanical Computing Engine. But did Charles Babbage really build the first computer?
Looking at the definition of a computer, it is an electronic device meant to work with information. A computer can’t work without having a program. The device represents a decimal number using strings of binary digits. So, a computer is a device that has a center processor unit in addition to an internal memory.
History of Computers & Generations of Computers Explained on YouTube:
The Mechanical Computing Engine:
If you have read about the history of computers, you may have come across the name “Charles Babbage.” He was a British mathematics professor and he is believed to have invented an analytical engine. The Mechanical Computing Engine was the first form of computer that could store programs. Babbage proposed the idea in 1822, and although he had started building the computing engine, he never finished the project because of lack of funds.
In 1837, Babbage brought up the idea again but this time in it entailed the Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU), integrated memory, and basic flow control. Again, the project didn’t materialize because of legal, political, and financial challenges. It’s not until the youngest son to Charles Babbage named Henry Babbage completed a section of the engine, which was meant to perform certain basic calculations in 1910. So, the Mechanical Computing Engine project wasn’t completed fully at that time.
The Functional Engine:
In 1936 in Germany, almost a century later after Charles Babbage’s idea of 1837, Konrad Zuse built the first program-controlled computing machine. Many people think that Konrad Zuse was the person who built the first computer. Zuse’s computing machine was named as Z1. Although Zuse faced many hurdles because of the World War, the project materialized. The Z1 entailed a 64-word memory with each word containing 22 bits. This was the first time a programmable device was built. Zuse later built the Z2 and Z3 versions of the program-controlled computing machine.
The Turing Machine:
Alan Turing proposed the idea of the Turing Machine in 1936. This machine was able to print symbols on paper tape in a way that felt as if an individual was going through a set of logical instructions.