The Time Tunnel
History of an amazing machine
Self-taught British mathematician who gave scientific respectability to
Gottfried Leibniz's idea that one and zero could express all mathematical ideas, thus laying the foundation for modern
higher algebra, Boole proposed a form of logic (now known as Boolean algebra) using two digits: 1 to represent something
and 0 to represent nothing or to lack of something. This idea and the ability to place logic underneath mathematics in the
form of true and false statements, would be instrumental in development of circuitry, computation and digital computers.
Augusta Ada King
English thinker who helped Charles Babbage with the difference and
analitical engines without formal education and in a time when women generally did not study mathematics. She was best known
for tranlating from french to English a report on a lecture Babbage gave. She added her own lengthy note to the text and has been
credited with developing the concepts of "loop" and "subroutine." Babbage said she explained the machine much better than he
did and seemed to understand it better. Some have called her the first world's programmer, but others believe she clarified and
analized Babbage's ideas rather than adding anything original. King, born Augusta Ada Byron, was the only legitimate child of the
poet Lord Byron, although she never met him. Ada, the department of defense's programming language, is named for her.
Frank Stephen Baldwing
Created the first properly constructed variable-toothed gear about
1875 in the United States, at the same time willgodt Odhner was making a similar one in Europe. The gear, which was
reliable, small and easy to use, resulted in a breakthrough in the calculating machine industry. Baldwin patented a mechanical
calculation machine in 1873 and went into business with Jay Randolph Monroe. Unfortunately for Baldwin, the machines
produced beginning in 1911 became known as Monroe calculators.
A Swede working in Russia who created the first properly constructed
variable-toothed gear in Europe in about 1875, at the same time Frank Baldwin was making a similar one in the United States.
The gear, which was reliable, small and easy to use, resulted in a breakthrough in the calculating machine industry.
William S. Burroughs
New york born inventor who, after working in a bank, was so appalled by
the inaccuracies of hand accounting that he created and patented a printing adding machine in 1888. With the financial support of
some St. Louis businessmen, he created the American arithmometer company. Either because the 50 machines he made didn't sell
or didn't meet his standard, he dropped them out a two story window, one by one, in 1889, but a redesigned version he patented
the next year was an astonishing success. By 1913 (years after he died from tuberculosis), his company dominated the office
1890. The Hollerith tabulator tabulated statistic with punch cards.
New York-born engineer who developed a way to use punched cards
to tabulate data for the U.S. census bureau's 1890 census. His Hollerith cards and associated machines revolutionized
business including railroad businesses in the United States and overseas. It is said that John Shaw Billings, a high-ranking census
official, gave Hollerith the idea for the cards. Hollerith went on to found the Tabulating Machine Company, which in a roundabout
way eventually became IBM.
Dorr E. Felt
Machinist who invented the comptometer, a key-driven business
calculator that sped up calculations by adding the results as numbers were entered. He began working on the machine in
1884 with a wooden macaroni box, skewers, staples, and rubber bands and ended up with a monopoly on desktop calculators
for 15 years. The machine's main drawback was that it coudn't print, as the one created by William Burroughs would be able
New York-born president of the International Business Machines (IBM)
corp. who built up the company during world war II and also invested in Howard Aiken's plan to build the
Harvard-Mark I calculator. Aiken later snubbed Watson's and IBM's role in the project, establishing a lifelong rift between
the two men.
Percy E. Ludgate
Irish accountant who designed and perhaps constructed a mechanical
analytical engine around the turn of the century, although little information is available about him, and his drawings and
manuscripts have disappeared. The machine appears to have been quite different from charles Babbage's and may have
been powered by an electrical motor.
Clair D. Lake
IBM engineer credited by Howard Aiken as one of the co-inventors
of the Harvard-IBM Mark 1, a large-scale calculating machine finished in 1944. It was noted for its reliability and accuracy and
did calculations full-time for world war II. Aiken was considered the driving force of the project, but Lake has been credited
with its implementation.
Massachusetts-born engineer and politician who created the
mechanical differential analyzer, the first serious attempt to design a computer that could do many kinds of scientific
computations and the herald of the modern computer age. He also introduced the idea of hypertext in the article
"As we may think," published in 1945. Bush created the National defense research committee in 1940 to organize
scientists and engineers for World War II, and his leadership was instrumental in the Manhattan project.
Leslie John Comrie
Scientist who was among the first to use business calculating
machines for scietific purposes. Comrie, head of the National Almanac office in London, used the Burroughs machine to
calculate and print astronomical tables and also adapted the Hollerith machine to do scietific calculations of the motions
of the moon for the years 1935 to 2000. It is said that he spent seven months punching 20 million holes in half a million
Japanese engineer considered the father of Japan's computer industry.
He created an allelectrical statistical calculation machine that used binary logic and relay circuits, and he also led the team in 1950
that created Japan's first large electronic computer, The Tokyo Automatic calculator (TAC), with vacuum tubes. The TAC
became the basis for the country's first all-transistor computers. He also founded the Information Processing Society of Japan.
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