The History of Computers

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A computer is a machine built to do routine calculations with speed, reliability, and ease, greatly simplifying processes that without them would be a much longer, more drawn out process.

Since their introduction in the 1940's. Computers have become an important part of the world. Besides the systems found in offices, and homes, microcomputers are now used in everyday locations such as automobiles, aircrafts, telephones, and kitchen appliances.

Computers are used for education as well, as stated by Rourke Guides in his book, Computers: Computers are used in schools for scoring examination papers, and grades are sometimes recorded and kept on computers (Guides 7).

'The original idea of a computer came from Blaise Pascal, who invented the first digital calculating machine in 1642. It performed only additions of numbers entered by dials and was intended to help Pascal's father, who was a tax collector' (Buchsbaum 13).

However, in 1671, Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz invented a computer that could not only add but, multiply.

Multiplication was quite a step to be taken by a computer because until then, the only thing a computer could do was add. The computer multiplied by successive adding and shifting (Guides 45).

Perhaps the first actual computer was made by Charles Babbage. He explains himself rather well with the following quote:

'One evening I was sitting in the rooms of the Analytical Society at Cambridge with a table full of logarithms lying open before me. Another member coming into the room, and seeing me half asleep called out, 'Well Babbage, what are you dreaming about?', to which I replied, 'I am thinking that all these tables might be calculated by machinery''(Evans 41).

'The first general purpose computer was invented in 1871 by Charles Babbage, just before he died'(Evans 41). It was still a prototype...