History of Computer


A. The Pre-mechanical Age: 3000 B.C. ² 1450 A.D.
1. Writing and Alphabets--communication First humans communicated only through speaking and simple drawings known as petroglyths (signs or simple figures carved in rock). Many of these are pictographs -- pictures or sketches that visually resemble that which is depicted. Geometric signs (dots, squares, etc.). Ideographs (symbols to represent ideas or concepts). Many people think computers are 20th century inventions. Yet, computing began when our ancient ancestors devised the first, rudimentary counting methods. y First development of signs corresponding to spoken sounds, instead of pictures, to express words. Starting in c. 3100 B.C., the Sumerians in Mesopotamia (southern Iraq) devised cuneiform -- the first true written language and the first real information system. Pronounced coo-nay-eh-form Cuneiform s evolution; Pictographs were turned on their sides (2800 B.C.) and then developed into actual

cuneiform symbols (2500 B.C.) -- as this clay tablet illustrates. y Around 200 B.C., Phoenicians created symbols that expressed single syllables and consonants (the first true alphabet). y The Greeks later adopted the Phoenician alphabet and added vowels; the Romans gave the letters Latin names to create the alphabet we use today. 2. Paper and Pens -- input technologies. y Sumerians input technology was a sylus that could scratch marks in wet clay. y About 2600 B.C., the Egyptians wrote on the papyrus plant. y Around 100 A.D., the Chinese made paper from rags, on which modern-day paper-making is based. 3. Books and Libraries -- output technologies (permanent storage devices). y Religious leaders in Mesopotamia kept the earliest books y The Egyptians kept scrolls. y Around 600 B.C., the Greeks began to fold sheets of papyrus vertically into leaves and bind them together. 4. The First Numbering Systems. y Egyptian system: The numbers 1-9 as vertical lines, the number 10 as a U or circle, the number 100

as a coiled rope, and the number 1,000 as a lotus blossom. y The first numbering systems similar to those in use today were invented between 100 and 200 A.D. by Hindus in India who created a ninedigit numbering system. y Around 875 A.D., the concept of zero was developed. 5. The First Calculators: The Abacus. One of the very first information processors.

The abacus was man s first recorded adding machine. It was in 500 B.C when the abacus was invented in Babylonia, then popularized in China, the abacus is an ancient computing device constructed of sliding beads on small wooden rods, strung on a wooden frame. You could call the abacus the first Calculator.

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