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This History Of The Computer & Computing

Posted in News by PC Renewed on November 26th 2018
As an Amazon Certified Refurbisher, it’s fair to say we know a thing or two about refurbished computers, but what about the history of the computer? How did computing start and where did this incredible technology come from?

The History Of The Computer

Technology has a massive impact on our day to day lives in the 21st century. Social media, online shopping, booking holidays, and more. However, the history of the computer dates back much further than the current century. So how was the computer ‘born’ and when did computing begin?

  • Early Computing
    A computer provides the user with assistance in calculations, one of the earliest computers in history was the manual abacus. This calculating tool was used centuries before the current numeral system we use today (the Hindu-Arabic Numeral system), in fact the exact origin of the device is unknown.

    Whilst many people are familiar with abacuses designed for basic numerical operations such as addition, there are also more complex devices that can assist people calculate things such as a square root.
  • Mechanical Computers
    Early in the industrial revolution, mechanical devices were built to assist with analogue calculations. Like many other areas of technology, such as anti-fog windshield fluid, rocketry, or sonar, the science of computers progressed greatly during and after the Second World War. The first digital electronic calculating machines were created during this conflict.

    These computers were electromechanical in nature; the relays were driven by electric switches and as such had a slow operating speed. However, these analogue computers were very useful for the time, for example the United States Navy used such a computer to assist with firing a torpedo at a moving target. It solved this challenge through the use of trigonometry.

    Further on through the Second World War, the first electronic digital programmable computing device (named Colossus) was used at Bletchly Park in order to break encrypted German military communications, this includes the Enigma code.
  • The Modern Computer
    The principle of the modern computer was proposed in 1936 by a man called Alan Turing. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. This is because he created the Turing test which tests if a computer can fool a human into believing that the computer is a human.

    Moving on from the programmable devices such as Colossus, computer science evolved into what is known as the third generation of computing. This consisted of mainframes, then moves towards minicomputers, and then to the desktop computer, similar to what we might recognise today, for example the HP 9100. However, the computer still had a journey to reach the powerful technological wonders of today.
  • The Personal Computer
    After the modern computer moved on from the principles of computing proposed by Turing, computer science moved into the fourth generation with the Personal computer. This includes items such as desktop home computers, laptop computers, personal digital assistants, tablet computers, and wearable computers.
  • The Future?
    Whilst we are currently enjoying the many benefits and wonders of personal computers and there are arguably lots of improvements and new discoveries to be made, there are currently theoretical or experimental forms of computing that could potentially provide us with a glimpse into the future.

    One such example is the Quantum Computer. This computer is different from binary based computers, saving memory in bits as either a 1 or a 0. The quantum computer saves memory in a sequence of qubits, which can be a 1, 0, or any quantum superposition of those two states. In theory, a large scale quantum computer could solve problems much quicker than computers using the best algorithms currently available. This means that quantum computing could provide significant improvements for computing with regards to business, environmental, personal, and military purposes.

    Another example of theoretical/experimental computing is DNA Computing. Instead of using silicon-based computer tech, this style of computing uses biochemistry and molecular biology. This method of computing was invented by Leonard Adleman in 1994, however in 2002 a DNA computer was created by J. Macdonald, D. Stefanovic, and Mr. Stojanovic that was able to play a game of tic tac toe (noughts and crosses) with a human player.

Learn More About Computers & Refurbished Computers On Our Blog

If you would like to learn more information regarding computers, such as computer hardware, computer specifications, or if you would like some advice to help you purchase a computer, please visit the PC Renewed blog.

We have helpful articles including information about the difference between refurbished and used tech, tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your tablet computer, and gift guides for those searching for a present for a special someone in their life.

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