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Brief History of Computer Science

Updated on July 7, 2019

What was the first computer? Depends on your definiton

What is a computer? And where shall we begin the history thereof? The definition of a computer is a machine for performing calculations automatically. So an abacus is a hand powered computer performed 'automatically' by the cerebellum.

Today's computer has been developed in many stages from the abacus to what sits on your desktop right now. So the definition of the computer that is 'first' is different based on what year, decade the questioner is thinking about.

1642 Pascal Mechanical add and subtract.

1670's Leibniz Mechanical add, subtract, divide and multiply.

1822 Babbage difference engine.

1890 Hollerith punch card Census Tabulator

1937 The first digital computer Atanasoff-Berry Computer - not programmable.


Hey, we don't have to hand crank it no more

1942 First electronic computer ENIAC using vacuum tubes.

1949 First stored programed computer, EDSAC.

1956 First transistorized computer TX-O from MIT.

1960first "mini' computer from DEC, please note, that mini in 1960 meantthat the computer did not fill up an entire building or floor. I saw the magnetic core memoryof this at IBM's computer museum in Endicott-Johnson, New York. Itlooked like a rug woven by a child's hand where at each crossing ofwires there was a very tiny magnetic doughnut.

History of the IBM personal computers

1973 IBM's the SCAMP, a demo prototype.

1975 IBM 5100 'Portable' Computer - it weighed 50 pounds and could cost up to $20,000.

1979 IBM 5520 sported a 130 megabyte hard drive.

1981 IBM 5150  Intel 8088, 4.77 MHz

1984 IBM 5170 had a 6 MHz Intel 80286 microprocessor.

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Computers Hardware Historical General History


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