A Brief History of Computers
Thousands of years ago, the abacus was invented; it is this seemingly simple device that aided a human with calculations, which would be used as the conceptual model to build the computer. Looking back, one of the earliest instances of computer technology in action was not found in a computer at all, but in a loom. The Jacquard loom, patented in 1804, was programmed by punched cards to create patterns in woven cloth, (Keats 88). Charles Babbage and many others would eventually use punch cards to program the computers they developed. It would not be until almost 100 years later that the first fully electronic computer, the Atanasoff Berry Computer (ABC) would be developed, ushering in the age of electronic computing.
The earliest computing device known, the abacus, a tool for counting and calculating was invented thousands of years ago, and it consisted of beads on a frame whose numerical value was indicated by their position on the frame (Fernandes). In addition to being beads on a frame, an abacus was a stone, or an area on the ground, with grooves in which pebbles were placed and then manipulated for calculating. The abacus was in use centuries before the adoption of the written modern numeral system, and is still widely used (Abacus). The abacus used the biquinary numbering system; a numbering system used in some early computers (Kent, and Williams 51).
Joseph Marie Jacquard patented a loom in 1804. The Jacquard loom’s contribution to computing is the use of punched cards. The use of punched cards was significant for computing because it introduced the concept of stored programs and programming. A particular weave could be programmed onto the punch cards, and stored for later use. Like many developments in computing to come the Jacquard loom was created to streamline a complex task. The Jacquard loom augmented the weaving process by drastically increasing the amount of weaving that could be completed in one day. Before the...