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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Father of modern digital computers

Father of modern digital computers
The earliest device that qualifies as a digital computer is the “abacus” also known as “soroban”.

The device permits the users to represent numbers by the position of beads on a rack. The first mechanical adding machine was invented by Blaise Pascal in 1642.

Charles Babbage, nineteenth century Professor at Cambridge University, is considered to be the father of modern digital computers.

During his period, mathematical and statistical tables were prepared by a group of clerks. Even the utmost care and precaution could not eliminate human errors.

Babbage had to spend several hours checking these tables.

Soon he became dissatisfied and exasperated with this type of monotonous job.

The result was that he started thinking to build a machine which could compute tables guaranteed to be effort-free.

In this process, Babbage designed a “Difference Engine” in the year 1822 which could produce reliable tables.

In 1842, Babbage came out with his new idea of Analytical Engine that was intend to be completely automatic.

It was to be capable of performing the basic arithmetic functions for any mathematical problem and it was to do so at an average speed of 60 additions per minute.

Unfortunately, he was unable to produce a working model of this machine mainly because the precision engineering required to manufacturer the machine was not available during that period.

However, his effort established a number of principles which have been shown to be fundamental to the design of any computer.
Father of modern digital computers

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