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The Guide to Computing Pioneers in the History of Technology

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Over the past four hundred years computers have been completely revolutionized. At first they were just a thought and were mainly used for calculations, but now they have been completely transformed. They went from being simple machines such as calculators that could only do basic functions but now they are these powerful machine that we would find so hard live without. This paper will give a brief but insightful history of how the computer came into existence and highlight some of the important persons who had a part in it.

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Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal was born in France in the year 1623. He was a mathematician, physicist and philosopher. When working with his father he realised there was a need for machine that could do calculations. In 1642, he invented the Pascaline, a machine that would do simple functions such as addition and subtraction.

Gotfried Leibniz

Gotfried Leibniz was a German philosopher and mathematician. He wanted to make an improved version of Blaise Pascal’s calculator and he did just that! He invented a machine that could not only add and subtract but divide and multiply. It did so by repeatedly adding and subtracting and worked with the turn of a wheel. He called it the Leibniz Wheel or the Step Reckoner. He also invented Binary Arithmetic which we use in computers today.

Charles Babbage

Charles Babbage also known as the “Father of Computers” designed two engines. First was the Difference Engine, it was used for calculating and was quite similar to the Pascaline. He also invented the Analytical Machine, which is said to be the and first general purpose computing machine. It completed more than just simple calculations and could input punch cards, store information in memory and even make prehistoric prints. Though it was not fully completed the idea of a computer that could work automatically was what lead to the computers that we have today.

Ada Loveless

Loveless was a female mathematician, which was quite rare in those times. Ada was intrigued by Charles Babbage’s ideas, she dreamed of a machine that could do more than just calculations but that could be programmed and made to follow instructions. She suggested that the machine use codes and have its own language. This eventually led to her writing a computer program for the Analytical Machine, the first one to date.Herman Hollerith Grace HopperHerman Hollerith Grace Hopper was an American inventor. For a short while he worked at the Census Office. In the year 1880, there was a consensus which took them almost seven years to complete. By the time they were finished it was time to start preparing for the upcoming one. Hopper thought that there was a great need for a machine that would be able to tabulate consensus data, instead of having to do it manually. Therefore he invented the tabulating machine, it tabulated information quickly and save plenty time.. It was one of the precursors of the computer as we know it today.

George Boole

George Boole was born in England in 1815 and was a mathematician.John Von NeumannJohn Von Neumann believed that all computers should have only one basic design and structure and said that it should be able to complete any type of computation without having to modify any hardware. Neumann designed what is called the “Von Neumann architectural design ,“ it involves the program and data being stored in the computers memory. Consisting of the Control Unit, Arithmetic Logic Unit, Memory and Input and Output. This concept is still widely used today.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates was born on October 28th 1955, he is the computer programmer that created the Microsoft Corporation. When he was attending Harvard University, Gates developed BASIC a computer software for microcomputers. Microsoft began to take over in 1980 when IBM (International Business Machines) requested that they make an operating system for their new personal computers.

Stephen Jobs

Jobs was a world renowned American inventor and designer, who along with Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple Inc .In those days computer were primarily used in businesses and were very expensive, Jobs changed the game for computers by designing them to be portable and affordable; so that everyone could have one. In 1975, Jobs along with Steve Wozniak decided to open a business in Jobs’ parents garage selling personal computers. They designed the Apple I computer and was quite sucessful. In 1977,they improved the design of the computer so it had coloured display and a keyboard.The business continued to take off, selling millions of computers and continued make new and improved products that we know today, such as the iphone, ipads, macbooks and much more.

Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak was born on August 11 1950. He is an American inventor and computer programmer. He co- found Apple Inc. along side Steve Jobs. Wozniak always had a keen interest in computer technology even as a child, he created a machine that could play Tic-Tac- Toe.

Steve Wozniak meet Steve Jobs at the University of California. They both shared common interests and later on decided to open a business together. As stated before they began working in Steve Jobs’ parents garage. In the 70’s and 80’s computers were sold in separate componets, Wozniak and Jobs wanted to change that and make them into one pre-constructed device. Wozniak designed the operating system for the Apple I and Apple II. The computer was well received on the market and the company was able to make millions.

Conclusion

Computers have indeed changed over the years we have seen how simple machines such as calculators had a great contribution to modern day computers. It was quite amazing to see how much they have changed and evolved from the Pascaline, to the Analytical Machine and eventually to the Apple computer. Today computers are used at homes, schools, business, factories and basically almost everywhere imaginable. It is very hard to think of a world without them. We should be vey thankful to every computer pioneer that had a part in its creation. They have made our lives so much easier. If it had not been for their dedication, hard work and resilience, we would not have the computers, phones, tablets and other devices that we have now.

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