Calculator (Encyclopedia of Science)
The calculator is a computing machine. Basic calculators perform basic mathematical functions (addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication). More sophisticated calculators can perform functions of the higher-based mathematical branches of trigonometry and calculus. The odometer, or mileage counter, in an automobile is a counting machine, as is the pocket calculator and the personal computer. They may have different ability levels, but they all tally numbers.
Although the abacus, the first tool of calculation, has existed since ancient times, advanced calculating machines did not appear until the early 1600s. Blaise Pascal, a French scientist and philosopher, developed in 1642 the
Pascaline, a machine capable of adding and subtracting nine-digit numbers. Figures were entered by moving numbered wheels linked to each other by gear, similar to a modern automobile's odometer. In 1671, German philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz improved Pascal's design, creating a machine that performed multiplication. In...
(The entire section is 418 words.)
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