- Blaise Pascal invents a mechanical adder ("Pascaline").
- Joseph Jacquard invents a
controlled by punched cards.
- Luddites (after Edward "Ned" Ludd) break into their former factories and mills,
Charles Babbage (1792-1871) proposes the
Difference Engine [which AEOnline confuses with the Analytical Engine],
a complex mechanical calculator for solving polynomial equations.
- Babbage designs the Analytical Engine.
- Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852), translates "Observations on Mr.
Babbage's Analytical Engine" (with her "Notes").
- George Boole develops the logical algebra that will underlie computer logic.
- Herman Hollerith invents a
sorting and tabulating machine
to solve the 1880 U.S. census problem, and founds the Tabulating Machine Company
(later, International Business Machines).
- Vannevar Bush completes the Differential Analyzer,
an analog computer (mechanical calculator) which could solve calculus problems.
(See Bush's 1945 article
As We May Think.)
Alan Turing publishes "On Computable Numbers," which lays the
theoretical groundwork for computer science.
- Konrad Zuse (b. 1910; see also Jurgen Schmidhuber's page on Zuse and Zuse internet archive),
with assistance from Helmut Schreyer, builds a
general-purpose computer using binary arithmetic and mechanical
1938 Z1 -- uses mechanical switches, keyboard input
1939 Z2 -- uses electro-magnetic relays, punched film input
1941 Z3 -- first operational fully programmable computer
See Zuse's own description of the development of the Z1, Z2, and Z3.
- John V. Atanasoff
at Iowa State University, assisted by Clifford Berry, builds the
Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC),
a special-purpose machine using vacuum tubes
to find solutions to systems of linear equations.
- Howard H. Aiken of Harvard (with a grant from IBM) builds a
general-purpose computer, the Harvard Mark I, using electro-magnetic
- Alan Turing and other British scientists, mathematicians, and engineers
working at Bletchly Park build the first electronic computer, the Colossus,
designed for code-breaking, using 2000 vacuum tubes.
- John Mauchley and J. Presper Eckert of the Moore School of Engineering (PA)
design and build the
Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC),
a general-purpose electronic computer with 18,000
(For more detailed information, see
The ENIAC Story.)
- John von Neumann spends two days with the ENIAC team and writes a
proposal for a stored-program computer, the EDVAC.
- J. Bardeen, W.H. Brattain and Wm. Shockley of Bell Telephone Labs
transistor, a high-speed electronic switch.
- The Manchester Mark 1
the first stored program computer, is completed by a team led by Freddie Williams and Tom Kilburn
EDSAC, Cambridge's stored program computer, is completed by a team led by
- EDVAC, the "first" (conceptually)
stored program computer, is built.
- Mauchley and Eckert sell the Univac I, the first commercial computer, to
- Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments and Robert Noyce of Fairchild
independently invent the integrated circuit (IC), combining many
transistors an a silicon chip.
- Fairchild markets the first commercial IC.
- Ted Hoff (1937-) of Intel invents the microprocessor
(the 4004), placing the entire
CPU of a computer on a single chip.
- The Intel 4004 is used in an electronic calculator.
|Die size||12 mm2||196 mm2|
|Transistor size||10 microns||0.35 microns|
|Clock speed||750 kHz||200 Mhz|
|MIPS rating||0.06 (est.)||440|
|Memory capacity||4 KB||64 GB|
|Package size||16 pins||387 pins|
Source: BYTE, Dec. 1996, p. 82
Organize your knowledge of the history of computing by filling in the following grid:
|Name of Developer and Computer||Year(s)||Technology||Number System||Programmability||Comments|
|Babbage's Analytical Engine||1834 - 35||steam and gears||Not completed|
|Atanasoff and Berry's ABC||1939 -||decimal|
|Zuse's Z2 and Z3||Z2: 1938
|Z3: the first operational fully programmable digital computer|
|Aiken's Harvard Mark I (IBM ASCC)||1936 - 1943||"first true working computer" according to Decker and Hirschfield (?)|
|Turing et al. Colossus||1943||electronic (vacuum tubes)||?||single-purpose (code breaking)||first operational electronic computer|
|Mauchley and Eckert's ENIAC||1943 - 46|
|Ted Hoff's Intel 4004 microprocessor||1971||large-scale integration (LSI)||first microprocessor; first used in a calculator|
Related ResourcesThe History of Computing (Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech)
A Brief History of Computers and Networks
Global Networking: a Timeline --- view the history of computing in a broader historical context
Babbage printer finally runs (BBC News, 2000 April 13)
John W. Mauchly and the Development of the ENIAC Computer: An Exhibition in the Department of Special Collections, Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania -- extensive ENIAC documentation
History of Computing Information (U.S. Army Research Lab) -- mostly ENIAC-related material
Article on the 50th anniversary of EDSAC (BBC News, 1999 Apr 15)
World's smallest transistor (BBC News, 1999 Nov 19)
A History of Information Technology and Systemshttp://www.tcf.ua.edu/AZ/
History of Computers