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Time Warp

A look at the history and development of computing and why Raspberry has done the 'TIME WARP"

This insight into history of computing hardware covers the developments from simple devices to assist with calculation, to mechanical calculators, punched card data processing systems to modern stored programme computers.

Before the 20th century, most calculations were done by humans. Those mechanical devices to help humans with calculations were called "calculating machines" and the machine operator was called the computer.

The first 'computers' were just mechanical devices that required the user to set up the initial values of an elementary arithmetic operation, then the operator would manipulate the machine to obtain the result. For instance, the slide rule and analogue computers represented numbers in a continuous form, for example the distance along a scale, a voltage or rotation of a spindle.

Ancient times

Things have been used to help computation for thousands of years, usually ways of counting things, using sticks and stones or whatever else was available. The abacus was widely used in ancient times for arithmetic tasks and was used in Babylonia as early as 2400 BC. Since then many other forms of reckoning devices have been invented. Several simple mechanical analog computers were built in ancient and medieval times to perform astronomical calculations.

Calculating tools

Scottish mathematician and physicist John Napier found that the multiplication and division of numbers could be done by the addition and subtraction of their logarithms. This led to a device called 'Napier's bones', an abacus-like device that simplified these calculations. This led to the invention in the 1600's of various slide rules and other mathmatical calculating devices.

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