It is widely believed that the first computer was built by Charles Babbage. It is the top answer to any question found in books as well as on the Internet, also we write answers to exam questions that “the world’s first computer was designed by Charles Babbage”. But there are many more ‘world’s first computers.

Machines made by Babbage

Difference Engine Computer
Picture: Charles Babbage, Difference Engine Computer

Charles Babbage who was born in 1791 an eighty-year-old British scholar of various fields, including mathematics and mechanical engineering. His two most famous machines are the Difference Engine and the Analytical Engine. The Difference Engine, which began processing in 1822, was able to assist in the steps of mathematical polynomial expressions.

Analytical Engine Computer
Picture: Analytical Engine Computer

The proposed Analytical Engine was developed in 1837, more complex than the Difference Engine. The basic components of modern computers, such as the CPU and memory, were named by Babbage as ‘Mill’ and ‘Store’. He was unable to provide the full funding needed to set up the machine. In 1991, the London Museum of Science developed a fully functional model, using mechanical techniques from Babbage’s time.

Computers in ancient China and Greece

Southern Orientation Layout
Picture: Southern Orientation Layout

Babbage is considered the father of modern computing, but two devices used in the past are considered to be the first analog computers. They are a “south-facing compass vehicle’ found in China and a machine named ” Antikythera” found in Greece.

 South direction indicator car was based on a 5th-century war chariot known as the Dongwu Che. It has been customized with a southerly view feature to it. Around the 1st century. This was a compass pointing to the right, but it did not use magnets. It adjusts its direction at the start of a journey, and its index is changed by a system of cogwheels attached to the wheels as it travels.

  Ancient Greek Computer: Antikythera

A visitor to the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece, finds a trio of deformed flat bronze fragments covered with green seaweed that has been deposited on the seabed for more than two millennia. Although it looks like a moldy piece of rock, it is sure to amaze anyone who looks at it with interest. Although not obscure due to corrosion, it still has a triangular-toothed gear and a circle divided into angles, similar to the gears seen on the inside of a clock. Even more surprising fact is that no other object of similar antiquity has yet been found.

Picture: Antikythera

 Scientists believe that this amazing artifact, known as the Antikythera Mechanism, was used to predict astronomical events in the distant past. This is information about the Antikythera mechanism, which is considered to be the first computer in the world which was introduced to the world by the ancient Greeks.

Supercomputer in the deep sea

 A group of divers has uncovered a mysterious gearbox on the Mediterranean island of Antioch, south of Greece, to protect themselves from a storm. That was in 1900. Further diving into the sea, they found the wreckage of an ancient ship, which resulted in archaeologists’ attention to the wreckage of the Antikythera ship, which sank nearly two millennia ago. They believe that the ship Antikythera may have sunk while on a voyage between Rome and Anatolia (present-day Turkey).

Picture: Antikythera

Explorers further examined the wreckage and found a machine the size of a shoebox. It had several facets and was finished with about 30 gears made of bronze. Although this mysterious object has been broken into several pieces, archaeologists have been able to uncover the purpose for which it may have been used in the past. Ancient Greek astronomers used a hand-operated gearbox to make predictions about the position of the sun, moon, and other stars on any given day in the future.

3D image of Antikythera mechanism
Picture: 3D image of Antikythera mechanism

Despite being corroded on the seabed for more than two thousand years, with the help of modern technology, in 2016 explorers were able to create a three-dimensional image of the ancient Greek computer and complete several clauses recorded in the Antikythera mechanism. According to the scientific journal Almagest, these words indicate a set of instructions needed to use the Antikythera mechanism. For example, the new information revealed that there is a zodiac sign showing how the planets move along the various star patterns shown on the front of the gearbox.

Clock and skin Antikythera mechanism

Archaeologists point out that the Antikythera mechanism is similar in size to an old-fashioned clock that can be placed on a table. Fragments of wood found among the rubble indicate that it may have been buried in a wooden cover. Archaeologists believe that the clock, as well as the wooden cover, had a rounded face and spinning spikes. Also, the Antikythera mechanism may have had a handle on one side to rotate it back and forth, and seven or more cogwheels that were connected to each other during rotation would drive the corresponding cogs at different speeds.

Unlike a clock, the Antikythera mechanism had seven thorns, orbiting the Sun, Moon, and Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, all visible to the naked eye. Archaeologists believe that it may have been possible to pinpoint the exact time of the eclipse and the lunar eclipse.

Antikythera predicts solar eclipses

In 2014, scientists announced that that equipment was used not only to predict the date of the solar eclipse and lunar eclipse but also other information related to solar/lunar eclipse. Such as the position of the Sun and the Moon at the time of the eclipse and their angular diameter.

Antikythera debris
Picture: Antikythera debris

But the answer to why the Greeks developed computers that can predict the eclipse? Has not yet been given. Archaeologists believe that the eclipses and lunar eclipses foreshadowed future events that may have laid the foundation for such a computer.

This article then goes on to describe the development of the computer. I think this article lacks one if I do not mention a few things about it. So let’s take a look at some information about the development of computers from the past to the present.

The world’s first programming computer from Germany

Zusa's Z1 computer
Picture: Zusa’s Z1 computer

The pioneer German pioneer Konrad Zuse developed the world’s first programmable computer. Produced in Berlin between 1935 and 1938, the first version was called the Z1.

The Z1 computer was able to read commands with a 35mm aperture. But it did not achieve much efficiency due to its nearly 30,000 non-precision metal parts. It was destroyed by an airstrike during World War II.

Sadly, Zusa developed a similar computer series, the Z2 in 1940, the Z3 in 1941, and the Z4 in 1949. The Z3 became the world’s first fully functional, fully automated, digital computer. It was a 22-bit binary calculator. It had a loop and the memory and number counting were done using a telephone relay. But no conditional activation (IF-ELSE etc.) was used.

The first electronic computer from Britain

Using Colossus computer
Picture: Using Colossus computer

If you think the computer should be powered by electricity, then Tommy Flowers, a British telephone engineer, was the inventor of the world’s the first computer. He invented the Colossus device. It was used to understand encrypted messages exchanged with the Commander-in-Chief of Germany during World War II.

This computer was able to perform Boolean and computational tasks using thermal valves. It was the world’s first programmable, digital computer.

But the Colossus computer’s programming tasks were done by switches and plugs instead of stored software. If you need to change the program, you have to completely change the layout by re-wiring.

Manchester Baby that can store programs

Modified SSEM
Picture: Modified SSEM

The Small-Scale Experimental Machine (SSEM) is considered to be the world’s first electronic computer that can store computer programs. It was also nicknamed Manchester Baby. It was created by Frederick Williams, Autom Kilburn, and Jeff Tuttle. They worked at the University of Victoria in Manchester, England. The Manchester Baby computer was first launched on June 21, 1948. 23.)

This computer is not designed for practical use. It was created just for experimentation. This is why this computer was used to test the world’s first RAM. The Manchester Mark I computer was later developed in 1949 by the three founders. Then in 1951, they developed the Ferranti Mark 1 (also known as the Manchester Electronic Computer). It was the world’s first commercially available general-purpose computer.

The rapid development of computers after 1950

Xerox Alto, the ancestor of the modern computer design
Picture: Xerox Alto, the ancestor of the modern computer design

The Manchester electronic computer was not as capable as it could be today, but it was not until the mid – 1950s that computer competition began. It’s so fast that even today you can not buy a computer with the mindset to fit it for many more years. The best computer that comes today is the one that will become obsolete tomorrow.

In 1953, IBM developed the world’s first scientific computer, the 701. In 1955, MIT introduced the computer with the first integrated RAM, the Whirlwind, and in 1956, the first transistor computer model. The world’s first desktop computer was developed in 1964 in Italy. It was named Programma 101. About 44,000 of those computers were sold at the time. In 1968, Hewlett Packard, or HP, began selling the HP 9100A, the world’s first large-scale desktop computer.

The first computer with a modern computer model was the Xerox Alto in 1974. It had a graphical interface (GUI) and a mouse. The software, which Used had icons, windows, and menus. It was not marketed publicly but was used in universities around the world. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs received a model of the Alto in 1979. His Apple Lisa computer and Macintosh system were based on the principles of the Alto.

Finally, in August 1981, IBM launched the Personal Computer product. Its open architecture became very popular and related accessories were manufactured. One year after its inception, it had surpassed the Macintosh and produced about 753 pieces of software.

I think you have learned facts that you did not know by reading this article. So, which of these computers do you think should be considered as the world’s first computer?


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