Saturday, 28 December 2013

An Overview of the History of Computing

An Overview of the History of Computing
Blaise Pascal
The Pascaline

Blaise Pascal invents a mechanical adder ("Pascaline").
Joseph Jacquard invents a loom controlled by punched cards.
Luddites (after Edward "Ned" Ludd) break into their former factories and mills, destroying machines.
Charles Babbage Difference Engine

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 1887
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 1936
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 storage.

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 relays.
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.
Vacuum Tube 1943-46
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 vacuum tubes. (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.
Transistor 1947
J. Bardeen, W.H. Brattain and Wm. Shockley of Bell Telephone Labs invent the transistor, a high-speed electronic switch.
The Manchester Mark 1 ("Baby"), 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 Maurice Wilkes.
EDVAC, the "first" (conceptually) stored program computer, is built.
Mauchley and Eckert sell the Univac I, the first commercial computer, to General Electric.
Integrated Circuit 1959
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.
Intel 4004 vs. Pentium Pro
Transistors 2300 5.5 million
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: Linley Gwennap, "Birth of a Chip," BYTE, Dec. 1996, p. 78.

Moore's Law
as seen in Intel chips
1971 4004 2300
1974 8080 6000
1978 8086 29,000
1982 80286 134,000
1985 386DX 275,000
1989 486 1,200,000
1993 Pentium 3,100,000
1995 Pentium Pro 5,500,000*
*for CPU, excluding cache
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: 1941
      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 Resources

. The 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 Systems
. History of Computers