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Who Invented the Computer?

legendary names legendary inventions but

who invented one of the most significant

inventions of all time the computer many

embarked on the quest to invent such a

machine but who was first and what

machine qualifies as the first real

computer in 1834 British mathematician

Charles Babbage conceived of the

analytical engine a machine with a

memory and calculating unit which could

be programmed the analytical engine was

never built but would it have worked in

1991 a difference engine based on a

simpler Babbage design was built it

operates exactly as Babbage predicted

150 years earlier can mathematical

statements be proved true or false

this question became the foundation of

theoretical computer science Alan Turing

a British mathematician and Crypt

analyst imagined a machine that could

compute any problem that was presented

in a set of instructions in essence a

general-purpose computer the universal

Turing machine was a conceptual

blueprint for automatic computation

meanwhile German engineer Konrad Sousa

built a series of machines for his

calculations Souza's z3 was the earliest

fully functioning program controlled

machine but more isolated Sousa and his

work wasn't widely known

technology advances in world war ii

catapulted computing into a new modern

era american physicists john mauchly and

engineer presper eckert built the ENIAC

the first all-electronic computer

controlled by a program it was much

faster than previous machines but had no

memory to store programs and needed to

be tediously rewired for each problem

after the war ENIAC was Declassified and

unveiled to members of the scientific

community now they saw the importance of

storing the program in memory they

rushed to build their own computers the

Manchester baby was a prototype of just

such a stored-program computer built by

Manchester University it ran a program

from memory On June 21st 1948 a patent

for the computer has never been awarded

Konrad Sousa tried in the 1940s but his

first patent application was denied for

being vague and his second was delayed

for decades in 1964 a patent on the

ENIAC was awarded to its inventors

Eckert and Mauchly the Eckert Buckley

computer corporation had been acquired

in 1950 by the company that became

Sperry Rand Sperry Rand now demanded

royalties from anyone building a

computer when competitor Honeywell

refused a fierce legal battle ensued but

Honeywell's lawyers uncovered a

little-known fact in 1940 John Vincent

Antonov an assistant professor at Iowa

State had shown his computing machine to

a visitor John Mauchly because of that

visit the court's opinion was that Mach

Lianne Decker derived their idea from a

prior work the general concept of the

computer was not patentable

so who invented computers not one person

but many influenced and inspired by each

other

not a single breakthrough but a series

of incremental steps that continues even

today as new generations pursue new

realms of computing and its vast

possibilities

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