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Computers imageThe first counting device was the abacus, originally from Asia. It worked on a place-value notion meaning that the place of a bead or rock on the apparatus determined how much it was worth.

The first counting device was the abacus, originally from Asia. It worked on a place-value notion meaning that the place of a bead or rock on the apparatus determined how much it was worth.

1600s: John Napier discovers logarithms. Robert Bissaker invents the slide rule.

1642: Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician and philosopher, invents the first mechanical digital calculator using gears, called the Pascaline. Although this machine could perform addition and subtraction on whole numbers, it was too expensive and only Pascal himself could repare it.

1804: Joseph Marie Jacquard used punch cards to automate a weaving loom.

1812: Charles P. Babbage, the "father of the computer", discovered that many long calculations involved many similar, repeated operations. Therefore, he designed a machine, the difference engine which would be steam-powered, fully automatic and commanded by a fixed instruction program.

In 1833, Babbage quit working on this machine to concentrate on the analytical engine.

1840s: Augusta Ada. "The first programmer" suggested that a binary system shouled be used for staorage rather than a decimal system.

1850s: George Boole developed Boolean logic which would later be used in the design of computer circuitry.

1890: Dr. Herman Hollerith introduced the first electromechanical, punched-card data-processing machine which was used to compile information for the 1890 U.S. census. Hollerith's tabulator became so successful that he started his own business to market it. His company would eventually become International Business Machines (IBM).

1906: The vacuum tube is invented by American physicist Lee De Forest.

1939: Dr. John V. Atanasoff and his assistant Clifford Berry build the first electronic digital computer. Their machine, the Atanasoff-Berry-Computer (ABC) provided the foundation for the advances in electronic digital computers.

1941, Konrad Zuse (recently deceased in January of 1996), from Germany, introduced the first programmable computer designed to solve complex engineering equations. This machine, called the Z3, was also the first to work on the binary system instead of the decimal system.

1943: British mathematician Alan Turing developped a hypothetical device, the Turing machine which would be designed to perform logical operation and could read and write. It would presage programmable computers. He also used vacuum technology to build British Colossus, a machine used to counteract the German code scrambling device, Enigma.

1944: Howard Aiken, in collaboration with engineers from IBM, constructed a large automatic digital sequence-controlled computer called the Harvard Mark I. This computer could handle all four arithmetic opreations, and had special built-in programs for logarithms and trigonometric functions.

1945: Dr. John von Neumann presented a paper outlining the stored-program concept.

1947: The giant ENIAC (Electrical Numerical Integrator and Calculator) machine was developped by John W. Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert, Jr. at the University of Pennsylvania. It used 18, 000 vacuums, punch-card input, weighed thirty tons and occupied a thirty-by-fifty-foot space. It wasn't programmable but was productive from 1946 to 1955 and was used to compute artillery firing tables. That same year, the transistor was invented by William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain of Bell Labs. It would rid computers of vacuum tubes and radios.

1949: Maurice V. Wilkes built the EDSAC (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Computer), the first stored-program computer. EDVAC (Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer), the second stored-program computer was built by Mauchly, Eckert, and von Neumann. An Wang developped magnetic-core memory which Jay Forrester would reorganize to be more efficient.

1950: Turing built the ACE, considered by some to be the first programmable digital computer.

1951: Mauchly and Eckert built the UNIVAC I, the first computer designed and sold commercially, specifically for business data-processing applications.

The first UNIVAC was delivered to the United States Census Bureau on March 31, 1951, and was dedicated on June 14 that year.The fifth machine (built for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission) was used by CBS to predict the result of the 1952 presidential election. With a sample of just 1% of the voting population it correctly predicted that Dwight Eisenhower would win.

The UNIVAC I computers were built by Remington Rand's UNIVAC-division (successor of the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, bought by Rand in 1950).

1950s: Dr. Grace Murray Hopper developed the UNIVAC I compiler.

1957: The programming language FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslator) was designed by John Backus, an IBM engineer.

1959: Jack St. Clair Kilby and Robert Noyce of Texas Instruments manufactured the first integrated circuit, or chip, which is a collection of tiny little transistor. There are few men whose insights and professional accomplishments have changed the world.

Jack Kilby was one of these men. His invention of the monolithic integrated circuit - the microchip - laid the conceptual and technical foundation for the entire field of modern microelectronics. From Jack Kilby's first simple circuit has grown a worldwide integrated circuit market whose sales in 2007 totaled $219 billion.

1960s: Gene Amdahl designed the IBM System/360 series of mainframe (G) computers, the first general-purpose digital computers to use intergrated circuits.

1961: Dr. Hopper was instrumental in developing the COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language) programming language.

1963: Ken Olsen, founder of DEC, produced the PDP-I, the first minicomputer (G).

1965: BASIC (Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) programming language developped by Dr. Thomas Kurtz and Dr. John Kemeny.

1969: The Internet is started. (See History of the Internet)

1970: Dr. Ted Hoff developed the famous Intel 4004 microprocessor (G) chip.

1971: Intel released the first microprocessor, a specialized integrated circuit which was ale to process four bits of data at a time. It also included its own arithmetic logic unit. PASCAL, a structured programming language, was developed by Niklaus Wirth. 1975: Ed Roberts, the "father of the microcomputer" designed the first microcomputer, the Altair 8800, which was produced by Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS). The same year, two young hackers, Bill Gates and Paul Allen approached MITS and promised to deliver a BASIC compiler. So they did and from the sale, Microsoft was born.

1976: Cray developed the Cray-I supercomputer (G). Apple Computer, Inc was founded by Steven Jobs and Stephen Wozniak.

1977: Jobs and Wozniak designed and built the first Apple II microcomputer.

1980: IBM offers Bill Gates the opportunity to develop the operating system for its new IBM personal computer. Microsoft has achieved tremendous growth and success today due to the development of MS-DOS. Apple III was also released.

1981: The IBM PC was introduced with a 16-bit microprocessor.

1982: Time magazine chooses the computer instead of a person for its "Machine of the Year."

1984: Apple introduced the Macintosh computer, which incorporated a unique graphical interface, making it easy to use. The same year, IBM released the 286-AT.

1986: Compaq released the DeskPro 386 computer, the first to use the 80036 microprocessor.

1987: IBM announced the OS/2 operating-system technology.

1988: A nondestructive worm was introduced into the Internet network bringing thousands of computers to a halt.

1989: The Intel 486 became the world's first 1,000,000 transistor microprocessor.

1993: The Energy Star program, endorsed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), encouraged manufacturers to build computer equipment that met power consumpton guidelines. When guidelines are met, equipment displays the Energy Star logo. The same year, Several companies introduced computer systems using the Pentium microprocessor from Intel that contains 3.1 million transistors and is able to perform 112 million instructions per second (MIPS).