Charles Babbage, an English mathematician, is considered to be the great-grandfather of the computer.Over 150 years ago, in 1840 to be exact, he invented a sophisticated calculating machine, and called it the "Analytical Engine." As with many inventions, his creation was far in advance of its time.It took another 100 years before the first computers were built, and as you know, they were huge and incredibly heavy. Take, for instance, the famous Mark I. It was the world’s firstelectro-mechanical computer and was used during World War 2 by the U.S. Navy. In comparison to 20th-century systems, it could be likened to a battleship: 2.6 meters high, 16 meters wide, 2 meters deep, and weighing amassive 5 tons!
The machine – the hardware – could not develop without the software to match, of course. In this respect, two women mathematicians played key roles.
Ada Lovelace Byron, daughter ofthe poet Lord Byron, wrote in 1843 what today we'd call programs for Charles Babbage’s "Analytical Engine." She was a pioneer and is considered to be the very first programmer in history. That's why130 years later, the U.S. Department of Defence gave her forename – Ada – A-D-A – to one of the most important computer programs in the world. It is used not only by the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Forcebut also by big industry, universities, and other centers of research.
Grace Hopper, an American woman, invented in 1952 the very first compiler of all times, a program which translates a programminglanguage so that it can be understood by computers. It was a sensational breakthrough which opened doors to automatic programming and thus directly to contemporary personal computers (PCs).
Today,computers are at the center of thousands upon thousands of other inventions. They are the heartbeats of the modern world. Computers are every-where – from kitchens to concrete mixers, from planes to...