The computers that you see and use today hasn't come off by any inventor at one go. Rather it took centuries of rigorous research work to reach the present stage. And scientists are still working hard to make it better and better. But that is a different story.
First, let us see when the very idea of computing with a machine or device, as against the conventional manual calculation, was given a shape.
Though experiments were going on even earlier, it dates back to the 17th century when the first such successful device came into being. Edmund Gunter, an English mathematician, is credited with its development in 1620. Yet it was too primitive to be recognized even as the forefather of computers. The first mechanical digital calculating machine was built in 1642 by the French scientist-philosopher Blaise Pascal. And since then the ideas and inventions of many mathematicians, scientists, and engineers paved the way for the development of the modern computer in following years.
But the world has had to wait for yet another couple of centuries to reach the next milestone in developing a computer. Then it was the English mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage who did the wonder with his works during 1830s. In fact, he was the first to work on a machine that can use and store values of large mathematical tables. The most important thing of this machine is its use in recording electric impulses, coded in the very simple binary system, with the help of only two kinds of symbols.
This is quite a big leap closer to the basics on which computers today work. However, there was yet a long way to go. And, compared to present day computers, Babbage's machine could be regarded as more of high-speed counting devices. For, they could only work on numbers alone!
The Boolean algebra developed in the 19th century removed the numbers-alone limitation for these counting devices. This technique of mathematics, invented by Boole,... [continues]
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