Who Invented The Computer

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Paper tapes, used as information storage for control purposes were first employed in the 1720s by Basile Bouchon and Jean-Baptiste Falcon to control looms. By changing tapes, one could quickly reprogram the loom to weave different patterns. Joseph Jacquard more fully automated loom control with punched cards in 1801. These cards were used by Babbage in his computing machines to order the sequence of calculations.

Charles Babbage (1791-1871) is considered by many to be the inventor of the computer. He designed two machines, a "difference engine" and an "analytical engine" which used algorithms to calculate complex equations algorithmically.

The first programmer was Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace (1815-1852), daughter of the famous Romantic poet Lord Byron. In 1843, Ada developed a plan for how his machines could calculate Bernoulli numbers; this plan is normally credited as the first computer program.

More complex calculating and tabulating machines evolved in the early twentieth century, until the first general purpose electronic computer, the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), was developed in 1941-1945.

Soon after the invention of the computer was the discovery by Grace Hopper of the first computer bug, a moth trapped in a relay of the Harvard University Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator on 9 September, 1945.




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ognesperanza | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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It could be argued that the abacus is the first device for ‘computing, invented in Chine between 2600 BC and 300 BC- it was used for tabulating numbers and


The "difference engine" conceived in 1786 by J.H. Müllerr is arguably the first of device like a computer.  Müllerr’s  devices was never built, and the plans were discovered by Charles Babbage in 1822, who is credited as creating the first computer.    Babbage’s device used a crank handle and a number system, sort of like a massive calculator, and was part funded by the British Government.  It was later improved as a general analytical engine but later returned and produced an improved design (his "Difference Engine No. 2") between 1834 and 1869.

If you mean Electronic Computer that would be recognisable by modern standards then Alan Turing from Cambridge UK, in the employ of the British Governent created a machine to crack the enigma codes named Colossus, which was the worlds first digital, electronic computing device.  Much of Turing’s work was top secret until recently. 

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Wiggin42 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Valedictorian

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The word computer was first coined in the 18th century and it referred to actual human people who did calculations as part of their job. The computer machine was thought up of by Babbage.

Charles Babbage, an English mechanical engineer and polymath, originated the concept of a programmable computer. Considered the "father of the computer",[4] he conceptualized and invented the first mechanical computer in the early 19th century. After working on his revolutionary difference engine, designed to aid in navigational calculations, in 1833 he realized that a much more general design, an Analytical Engine, was possible.

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fact-finder | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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English mathematician Charles Babbage (1792–1871) designed a mechanical computing machine called the "analytical engine." It is considered the forerunner of the digital computer, a programmable electronic device that stores, retrieves, and processes data.

While attending Cambridge University in 1812, Babbage conceived of the idea of a machine that could calculate data more rapidly than existing computing methods, and without human error. The Industrial Revolution (a period of technological development; c. 1750–c. 1850) had been underway for more than half a century, and the world was becoming increasingly complex. Human errors in mathematical tables posed serious problems for many rapidly growing industries. After graduating from Cambridge, Babbage returned to the idea of developing a device to facilitate computation. Beginning work in 1834, he spent the rest of his life and much of his fortune trying to build such a machine. Babbage's device used punch cards to store data, and was intended to print answers. Although he was unable to complete his invention, the "analytical engine" was the forerunner of the modern digital computer.

More than one hundred years later the first fully automatic calculator was invented—development began in 1939 at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Under the direction of mathematician Howard Aiken (1900–73), the first electronic digital computer, called Mark I, was invented in 1944. (The Mark II followed in 1947.) In 1946 scientists at the University of Pennsylvania completed ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Calculator), the first all-purpose electronic digital computer. ENIAC was operated by 18,000 vacuum tubes, which required a great deal of power and generated a considerable amount of heat. The first computer to handle both numeric and alphabetical data with equal facility was the UNIVAC (UNIVersal Automatic Computer), developed between 1946 and 1951, also at the University of Pennsylvania.

Further Information: Aspray, William, ed. Computing Before Computers. Ames, Ia.: Iowa State University Press, 1990; Campbell-Kelly, Martin, and William Aspray. Computer: A History of the Information Machine. New York: Basic Books, 1996; "Charles Babbage." MSN Encarta. [Online] Available http://www.encarta.msn.com/find/search.asp?search=babbage%2C+charles, November 8, 2000.

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ravu91 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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Charles Babbage invented the concept of a programmable computer in about 1856.

It partly depends on what you mean by "computer", but the earliest claim is that Charles Babbage invented the first programmable computer in 1822. The machine was called a "difference engine" and it was intended to generate mathematical tables. This machine contained 25,000 parts and weighed 15 tons. Babbage followed this with a "difference engine 2" which, although well funded, was never completed. Babbage also designed a printer to go along with the computer, but this also was never completed. In 1989-1991, the London science museum made a difference engine 2 and printer from Babbage's design. Both worked perfectly
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ohoboho | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Honors

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This question does not necessarily have an answer because there have been many different creations that fit under the definition of computer. However it is accepted that  Charles Babbage is the father of the first computer and that was the Analytical Engine, which was not what a computer is today and did not use the Von Neumann architecture, but it could store memory and was programable.

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Zac Egs | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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Personally I think that it is not easy to give a true answer since many scientists and researchers contributed to the invention of this device. We can suggest that (inter alia) Dupont de Nemours was one of its great theoreticians.



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broncoboy7 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

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The first 'computer', per se, was invented by Charles Babbage in the 1820s. This computer was the "Difference Engine #1". The first computer Programmer was Ada Lovelace, who, in the 1840s, worked on Babbage's Engine. The first use of 'punch cards' to control an operation was the Jacquard Loom, invented in 1801 by Joseph Marie Jacquard to control textile manufacturing. This could be considered the first computer. There is the Programma 101, which was a desktop calculator created by the Olivetti company. The first PC with a GUI was the Xerox Alto, created by Xerox. The first Mac with a GUI was the Apple II, and the first well known one after that was the IBM 5150.

Babbage, Lovelace, Jacquard, Olivetti, Xerox, Macintosh, and IBM all contributed to the invention of the computer. 


It was a team effort, so to speak.

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adhamito | (Level 1) Honors

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“Alan Turing is arguably the man who most changed the world in the 20th Century. It’s thanks to him that you’re reading this online – and in English, not German.” His story is one of great genius and triumph – of a man who was far ahead of his time – but also heartbreaking tragedy.

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sarahchocoholic | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

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The first computer was invented by Charles Babbage in the 1820s. 

The first electronic digital computers were developed between 1940 and 1945 in the United Kingdom and United States. Originally, they were the size of a large room, consuming as much power as several hundred modern personal computers.

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teamreadit | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

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This question does not necessarily have an answer because there have been many different creations that fit under the definition of computer. However it is accepted that  Charles Babbage is the father of the first computer and that was the Analytical Engine, which was not what a computer is today and did not use the Von Neumann architecture, but it could store memory and was programable.

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etotheeyepi | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Modern computers use binary memory. Maybe the first binary memory was the cams on rotating pipes, which controlled the the hammers on medieval bell towers.


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alan588 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

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1822 by Englishman Charles Babbage. He is known as "the father of the Computer". This machine used the decimal numbers system and was powered by cranking a handle. The British government first financed the project but then later cut off support. Babbage went on to design his much more general analytical engine but later returned and produced an improved design (his "Difference Engine No. 2") between 1834 and 1869. 

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goanskygurl22 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

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Charles Babbage was an english matematician, inventer and philosopher. He started working on on the computer in 1812 and finally completed it in 1822 :)

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jjrichardson | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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The machine which is sitting in front of you.

The machine which can draw graphics, set up your modem, decipher your PGP, do typography, refresh your screen, monitor your keyboard, manage the performance of all these in synchrony... and do all of these through a single principle: reading programs placed in its storage.

But the meaning of the word has changed in time. In the 1930s and 1940s "a computer" still meant a person doing calculations. There is a  So to indicate a machine doing calculations you would say "automatic computer". In the 1960s people still talked about the digital computer as opposed to the analog computer.

But nowadays, I think it is better to reserve the word "computer " for the type of machine which has swept everything else away in its path: the computer on which you are reading this page, the digital computer with "internally stored modifiable program. "

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jlh97 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

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Computer technology familar to that still used today, was first pioneered by British Mathematican Alan Turing. Turing developed and used this technology during WW2 and was instrumental in breaking the Enigma code for the British government to allow RAF and USAAF attacks on German submarines.

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etotheeyepi | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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A previous post suggested that many people contributed to inventing the computer.  John Vincent Atanasoff should get some of the credit.


One might say that Tom Watson, the CEO of IBM, invented the computer because he focused his entire organization to that end.

See The Maverick and His Machine: Thomas Watson, Sr. and the Making of IBM by Kevin Manev

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bunnybears | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

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Charles Babbage, who died on October 18, 1871 in london. He was born on1799, so he died when he was79 year old

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ayush17 | Student | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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CHARLES BABBAGE(1791-1871), computer pioneer, designed the first automatic computing engines. He invented computers but failed to build them. The first complete Babbage Engine was completed in London in 2002, 153 years after it was designed. Difference Engine No. 2, built faithfully to the original drawings, consists of 8,000 parts, weighs five tons, and measures 11 feet long.

We invite you to learn more about this extraordinary object, its designer Charles Babbage and the team of people who undertook to build it. Discover the wonder of a future already passed. A sight no Victorian ever saw.

An identical Engine completed in March 2008 is on display at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.



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owen001 | eNotes Newbie

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Charles Bambridge the first mechanical computer i the 19 century,

Alan Turing, the first electronic or electric computer 1940,s

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arrellbelle | Student, College Sophomore | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Charles Babbage, a British Mathematician, was the first gentleman to invent a computer that was remotely close to the ones we are using now, during 1833 - 1871. He is also known as the "Father of the Computer". However, many people argued that the first inventor was a man named William Oughtred.

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nicole8923 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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The first computer resembling today's modern machines was conceived and designed by British mathematician Charles Babbage between 1833 and 1871.

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BuRaK_114 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

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"Who invented the computer?" is not a question with a simple answer. The real answer is that many inventors contributed to the history of computers and that a computer is a complex piece of machinery made up of many parts, each of which can be considered a separate invention. But maybe Charles Babbage. 


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a19360 | Student | (Level 1) Honors

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Even though Charles Babbage was known as the father of computers, the abacaus is mainly considered the first computing device.

Before the era of electronic computers, humans that do calculating as a job were also called computers.

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luiji | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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charles babbage created the first computer as we know them today. However, computers have been around for ages. The first computer was the abacus. You know, those racks with beads which we use for counting... apparently that was the first computer... that's what i've been taught at least...

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sid-sarfraz | Student, Graduate | (Level 2) Salutatorian

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The computer was invented, conceived and designed by British mathematician Charles Babbage between 1833 and 1871.  

The first, programmable “computing machine”

He invented the computer so that math calculations can be made without errors. He is generally known as "Father of Computers". He started his project but could not complete it, as he ran out of money. Later his invention was completed and now being used for various purposes.

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samson24 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

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Charls Babbage

 Thank you.      Charles. If it wasn't for you 20000000 people wouldn't  be playing world of Warcraft right now....... Hizah!
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ironjon29 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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Computer technology has been around for millions, if not billions of years thanks to aliens seeking to see the human race prosper. The technology was truly a gift from above, but the goverment wouldnt want you to know this of course, but i speek the truth. 

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susdas | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

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The computer was invented by Charles Babbage as mostly known in the world though some don't believe it. He is to be known as the father of computer.

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gracie557 | Student, Grade 7 | eNotes Newbie

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Alan Turing is the man who, in the 1930s, laid the groundwork for computational science, while Konrad Zuse, around the same time, created something called the “Z1,” generally credited as “the first freely programmable computer.”

And yet all of the above could prove wrong, depending on what a British research team and millions of dollars turn up over the next decade.