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# The Origin and History of the Computer

Module 1 Section 2 22Prehistory There are a number of people to whom the title Grandfather Father or even Godfather of computing have been applied One of these is 1Charles Babbage a Victorian engineer mathematician and philosopher Babbage designed The Difference Engine This was a device to calculate navigational tables which were so important at the time but which were often ridden with errors introduced through manual calculations Analytical Engine it is a general-purpose device capable of performing arithmetic or logical functions Interest in machines for automating processes was not renewed until two factors made it urgent 1The Second World War 2The growth in office-based work 2Alan Turing He studied mathematics he published a paper to refute the mathematician David Hilbert who claimed that any mathematical problem could be solved Turing designed Turning Machine general-purpose mechanical device which would receive basic instructions from a tape stream telling it what to do By using this hypothetical device Turing proved Hilbert wrong - not all mathematical problems can be solved It was the basis for the computers which were to follow in that it could imitate the function of another machine such as a typewriter given the appropriate instructions He is the founder of what is now called Artificial Intelligence During the Second World War Turing worked at the secret British code-breaking centre He worked on an electronic computer called Colossus which had many similarities to the American pioneering computer ENIAC 3John von Neumann When talking about digital computers many people refer to the von Neumann architecture Neumann made his name as a brilliant mathematician and extraordinary intellect ENIAC Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer was the first large-scale computer and was conceived by John Mauchly and Presper Eckert It used vacuum tubes instead of the electromechanical relays used in other computing devices The vacuum tubes performed the same function that transistors do in a

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