The History And Development Of Computers

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's October 2001

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In this world, there is one machine that can solve any problem, perform any task, and improve every minute. This glorious machine is the computer. Throughout the history of the world, computers have evolved greatly; from primitive pieces of wood and beads which could only do simple math (Jones, 6), to 30-ton machines that would fill up entire rooms (Jones, 14), and then to beholding the entire world at your fingertips. Today, the computer is an extremely important part of life. With the complex components of today's computer, it is very hard to believe where this fascinating piece of machinery came from.

Back in the early Middle Ages, there were no such thing as calculators, computers, or even electricity. In order to perform simple math calculations, there was a very basic invention that existed, called an abacus . The abacus, which originated somewhere in the Middle East, consisted of a wooden frame which was divided into an upper and a lower section.

Going through the abacus were rods, which held wooden beads. In the upper section, which is also known as "heaven," there were two beads, and in the lower section, which is called "earth," there were five. The rods correspond to columns, and the beads correspond to numbers. Each bead below the divider counted as one, while each bead above the divider counted as five (Galan, 6).

Different types of abaci were created in the early history of the world, but soon enough, the abacus lost its importance as paper and pencil were more widely accepted. The next significant invention that brought the world closer to computers, nearly 12 centuries later, is that of Blaise Pascal. In 1642, he developed a mechanical adding machine, which he named the Pascaline . It consisted of a rectangular brass box, which had...