Week One Kayley Frey

21 May

The origin of the computer is surely a significant¬†era that has helped enable modern day people to continue to develop and experiment with different computing devices. Throughout both video lectures, the early, analog computational devices are clearly exhibited and provide great insight into the development. A few key devices, including the Jacquard loom and the castle clock, are highlighted in the first lecture. The castle clock is regarded as the first programmable analog computer which was developed in 1206 and helped pave the way for similar future devices. The Jacquard loom functioned as a way to manufacture textiles that had complex patterns and it was the first machine to use “punch cards” which are used to program mechanical computers. The lectures and readings also highlight important people who have greatly contributed to the establishment of digital computers. Charles Babbage and Herman Hollerith seem to be two of the more influential figures. Charles Babbage developed two different engines, a difference engine and an analytical engine. Although he didn’t live to fully finish his projects, his work was used for future endeavors. Babbage was the one who ultimately discovered that mathematical tables could be calculated mechanically. Each of his “engines” worked to calculate different sorts of data. This is an important step in the development of computers because it allowed less human error in calculations. It also allowed future computer scientists to build off his work. Herman Hollerith and his tabulating machine still have much relevance today. Hollerith¬†founded the Tabulating Machine Company which later combined to become IBM. Today, IBM is still a huge technology company and the efforts by Hollerith helped to make IBM what it is today and continues to dominate the technology world. As computers and computing devices expanded and changed over the years, 20th century devices became a bit more useful. Devices like ENIAC and EDVAC, as well as Leo and Univac, created more different uses for computers. ENIAC was used in the U.S. army’s ballistic research lab to calculate artillery firing tables. Many of the 20th century systems were used for military purposes. Another system called Leo was the first official business computer and was used mostly for outsourcing and valuation jobs which included payroll, production, and inventory. America’s first business computer was named Univac and was used to predict the 1952 presidential election. It was the first commercial computer and it was primarily designed for business and administrative purposes. These devices continued to grow in ways of use, but the physical size of them also grew, some into very large computing devices.

One Response to “Week One Kayley Frey”

  1. brusha11 May 22, 2015 at 7:01 pm #

    Kayley, I thought your post was very informative of the history of computers. I agree with you that the Jacquard loom was a key step towards mechanical computers. The punch cards used in these machines would be a model for programming in other computation devices. I also agree that Carl Babbage played a huge role in the advancement of computers. His devices that could do calculations mechanically would surely reduce human error, which you had stated. During the second lecture it brought up a lot of the devices that were used during WWII for military calculations and other functions. I find it important to note that computers were used primarily by engineers and mathemiticians for governmental purposes and then it progressed into more administrative and business purposes. You did mention this in your post and you also explained the uses for these devices very well. Your post was very informative and straight to the point. I do not disagree with any of the information you explained, and I believe it answers the questions very thoroughly.