Top 15 biggest inventions in computer science

The word "computer" was first used in 1613 to describe a human who performed calculations or computations. The definition remained the same until the end of 19th century, when the tech industry gave rise to machines whose primary task was calculating.

Inventions in computer science

There are lot of things that we don't know about the rapid progress of computer development, plus the contributions of many scientists. Hence, to fill you in with all necessary computer knowledge we have gathered a few notable inventions in computer science, from the first machine to microchip era.

1. First Computer: Difference Engine(1821) - The "Difference Engine" was a proposed mechanical computer to be used to output mathematical tables. Commissioned by the British government, Charles Babbage started working on it, but due to its high production cost, the funding was stopped and the machine was never completed.

2. General Purpose Computer: Analytical Engine(1834) - Charles Babbage conceived a more ambitious machine, the first general purpose programmable computing engine, later called Analytical Engine. It has many essential features found in the modern digital computer. The machine was programmable using punched cards, the engine had a "Store" where numbers and intermediate results could be held, and a separate "Mill" where the arithmetic operations were performed.

3. Analog Computer: Differential Analyzer(1930) - Vannevar Bush, MIT engineer developed the first modern analog computer. It was a analog calculator that could be used to solve some specific set of differential equation, a type of problem common in engineering and physics application, which are often very tedious to solve. The machine produced approximate, albeit practical. solutions.

4. The First Computer Network(1940) - Between 1940 and 1946 George Stibitz and his team developed a series of machines with telephone technologies - employing electromechanical relays. These machines served more than one user. Soon they became obsolete because they were based on slow mechanical relays rather than electronic switches. Today, the dominant basis of data communication is Packet Switching: the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) was an early packet switching network and the first network to implement the protocol suite TCP/IP (in 1982). Both became the technical foundation of the Internet.

5. Working Programmable Computer: Z3(1941) - Konrad Zuse already had a working mechanical computer Z1 but it worked for only few minutes at a time. The use of a different technology - relays, led to Z2 and eventually Z3. Z3 was an electromagnetic computer for which program and data were stored on external punched tapes. It was a secret project of the German government and put to use by The German Aircraft Research Institute. The original machine was destroyed in the bombing of Berlin in 1943.

6. Electronic Computer: Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC)(1942) - Createdby John Vincent Atanasoff & Clifford Berry, the hence named Atanasoff-Berry Computer or ABC was used to find the solution for simultaneous linear equations. It was the very first computer that used binary to represent data and electronic switches instead of mechanical. The computer however was not programmable.

7. Programmable Electronic Computer: Colossus(1943) - The Colossus created by Tommy Flowers, was amachine created to help the British decrypt German messages that were encrypted by the Lorenz cipher, back in World War II. It was programmed by electronic switches and plugs. Colossus broughtthe time to decipher the encrypted messages down from weeks to mere hours.

8. General PurposeProgrammable Electronic Computer: ENIAC(1946) - Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC) was Turing-complete, digital machine that could solve a wide range of numerical problems through reprogramming. It was primarily used to calculate artillery firing tables, and helped with computations for the feasibility of the thermonuclear weapon. By the end of its operation (1955), ENIAC contained 7200 crystal diodes, 17468 vacuum tubes, 10000 capacitors, 70,000 resistors and over 5 million hand-soldered joints. It was roughly 8 x 3 x 100 feet in size, weighted 30 tons, and consumed 150 kW of electricity. It used card readers for input and card punch for output. The computer had a speed on the order of one thousand times faster than that of electro-mechanical machines.

9. First Assembler: Initial Orders for EDSAC(1949) - Assembler is a program that converts mnemonics (low-level) into numeric representation (machine code). The initial orders in EDSAC (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator) was the first of such a system. It was used to assemble programs from paper tape input into the memory and running the input. The programs were in mnemonic codes instead of machine codes, making "initial code" the first ever assembler by processing a symbolic low level program code into machine code.

10. First Personal Computer: Simon(1950) - "Simon" by Edmund Berkeley was the first affordable digital computer that could perform four operations: addition, negation, greater than, and selection. The input was punched paper, and the program ran on paper tape. The only output were through five lights.

11. Open Source Software: A-2 System(1953) - The A-0 system later evolved into A-2, released as ARITH-MATIC. It was developed at the UNIVAC division of Remington Rand and released to customers by the end of 1953. Users were provided the source code for A-2 and invited to send their enhancements back to UNIVAC.

12. First Computer Mouse(1964) - The computer mouse as we know today is was invented by Douglas Engelbart with the assistance of Bill English, and was patented on 17th November, 1970. It was just a tiny piece of a much larger project, aimed at augmenting human intellect. Engelbart required the ability to interact with information display using some sort of machine to move a cursor on the screen. There were already different devices then in use, including light pen and joysticks. He was however looking for the most efficient device.

13. First Touchscreen(1965) - Touch Displays: A Programmed Man-Machine Interface, which was published in Ergonomics journal in 1967. The idea was adopted for use by air traffic controllers in the United Kingdom until the 1990s. Furthermore, the first resistive touchscreen was developed by George Samuel Hurst, who got US patent #3911215 in 1975.

14. First Object Oriented Programming Language: Simula(1967) - Based on C. A. R. Hoare's concept of class constructs, Ole-Johan Dahl & Kristen Nygaard updated their "SIMULA I" programming language with objects, classes and subclasses. This resulted in the creation of SIMULA 67 which became the first object-oriented programming language.

15. First Microprocessor: Intel 4004(1971) - The chip design was started in April 1970, and it was completed under the leadership of Federico Faggin in January 1971. Smaller than a human thumbnail, the 4-bit register with a clock speed of 740 kHz, had 2300 transistors with 10-micron spacing, capable of performing 60,000 operations per seconds, and costs $200, while having as much computing power as the ENIAC computer. Busicom calculator 141-PF was the first commercial product to use a microprocessor.

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