History of
Before Computer and After Computer
Computer Was a Person
Man Always Looked For an Alternate, a Substitute
Computer is...

These definitions could be nuts and bolts to chew for a few. So, in simple words, a computer is a machine that works on your command. It stores your information, and retrieves it when you want. It’s a machine that can get your work done faster.

Three dots on the timeline of history can be looked upon as the three stages to the making of a Computer.

Three Stages to the Phenomenon: Computer

Every invention in its own way is a milestone, but with the computer, it was like building another sun; a sun whose power inspired the launch of a satellite, automatic cars, machines, robots and internet.

Today’s computer was nowhere close to what its early predecessors were. The best way to understand the journey of computers from human to machine can be explained in three stages.

One look at these stages and an obvious understanding floats up that major developments have taken place within a small timeframe.

Stage One: Early Computing Devices

Ever since man felt the need to count livestock and members of his family or tribe, he would do it on his fingers and toes. As the early man led a nomadic life, counting made him feel secure. The feeling that you haven’t lost the things you owned yesterday, developed a sense of security in him.

But when he found counting on fingers was not enough to meet his need, he began to use pebbles and sticks.


Tablets and Counting Board

The Next Computing Device

Oldest Astronomical Calculator

For another 1500 years, mankind continued to live by the clock with no major developments in the domain of calculating tools.

Faster Calculation with Logarithms

Another Computing Device – Rulers

Taking it to Another Notch – Pascaline (A Mechanical Calculator)

Stage Two: The Base of Computer Technology – Binary System and Charles Babbage’s Breakthrough Invention

Here Comes the Ones and Zeros

Mathematical Implications of the Binary System

The Backdrop – Industrial Revolution

Major Breakthrough – Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine.

Machine that made a Difference – Analytical Engine

After the Difference Engine project was scrapped by the government authorities. He began to work on the machine that went on to become the first mechanical general purpose computer, invented in 1837.

Ada Lovelace – The First Computer Programmer

Boolean Algebra – the Base for Computer Science

Father of Modern Automatic Computation – Herman Hollerith

All said and done, the early twentieth century computer was yet a human, using simple components. He still used ten numbers and few signs to compute huge mathematical tasks with the help of mechanical computers available at that time.

The Boolean Connection
Stage Three: Four Generations of Computer

Konrad Zuse Built the World’s First Commercial Computer

The Sultan of software Bill Gates once said, “I will always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job, because he will find an easy way to do it.”

Chronologically, Gates’ quote came much later. In the early 1930s, there was one such lazy person who could fit Gates’ bill, a German civil engineering student Konrad Zuse. He detested calculating, hence worked on a way to skip the cumbersome process.

Zuse’s Z series

What does the Electromechanical Relay do?

In those days, electromechanical relay was widely used in the telephone industry. Zuse learnt about this circuit and its application. He knew that for his computer to support large calculations it will require a number of relays and apparently relays weren’t cheap in those days. With the help of his family and friends, Zuse continued to work on his endeavors. He kept working on various ways to have combinations of switches work, as a result, he landed up designing a mammoth looking device that occupied the entire living room of his parents’ flat on Wrangelstrasse.

Vacuum Tubes – Better Than Relays

Vacuum Tubes in Computer

First Generation of Computers (1941-1956)

The World War Angle

Colossus Comes to the Rescue

Weapons Demanded Precision

At the University of Pennsylvania

Electrical Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC)

But ENIAC had Few Shortcomings

The Stored Program Made Computer Powerful

Alan Turing – The Brain behind Store Program

Another Leaf - UNIVAC

Second Generation Computer (1954-1959)

Third Generation (1959-1971)

SABRE – Prototype of Buying and Selling Online

Fourth Generation (1971-Present)

Minicomputer to Personal Computer

Altair 8800 – First Minicomputer
SCELBI (Scientific Electronic Biological, pronounced, “sell-bee”)

Personal Computer

Computers today are in their fifth generation. Today’s computing devices are based on artificial intelligence and are making progress in applications such as voice recognition, AFIS (Automated Finger Identification System) and other biometric technologies. Quantum computation, molecular computing and nanotechnology are some of the promising technologies that are going to shape the future.

An Indispensable part of Today - Computer

Long time ago, around third century, the Greek philosophers believed the earth was the center of solar system, and stars and planets moved around the earth, this description was represented in the Geocentric Model.
Centuries passed and in 16th century, Nicolaus Copernicus formulated a comprehensive Heliocentric Model that says the sun is the center of the solar system.
But today, if you take one cursory look around, you will find our lives are so governed by Computer. So, it wouldn’t be wrong suggesting a Computercentric Model, where the computer lies at the centre of our lives.