Computing History

By Sam Carman

In 1642 Pascal invented the Calculator

In 1623 Blaise Pascal was born, he was a french mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher. In 1642, in an effort to ease his father's endless, exhausting calculations, and recalculations, of taxes owed and paid, Blaise Pascal, not yet nineteen, constructed a mechanical calculator capable of addition and subtraction, called Pascal's calculator or the Pascaline.

1703 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz invents the binary system

The modern binary number system was fully documented by Gottfried Leibniz in the 17th century in his article Explication de l'Arithmétique Binaire. Leibniz's system used 0 and 1, like the modern binary numeral system. As a Sinophile, Leibniz was aware of the I Ching and noted with fascination how its hexagrams correspond to the binary numbers from 0 to 111111, and concluded that this mapping was evidence of major Chinese accomplishments in the sort of philosophical mathematics he admired.

10th December 1815 Ada, Lady Lovelace, is Born

Augusta Ada King, Lady Lovelace, is born. Her father was Lord Byron, the famous poet. She was educated by private tutors, advanced study in mathematics being provided by De Morgan. Considered the first computer programmer, Ada worked with Charles Babbage writing extensive comments on his Difference Engine and Analytical Engine, and programming for the last one. She died on November 27, 1852

A century later, in the 1970's, the computer language ADA was developed and named after Ada, Lady Lovelace. Based on the language PASCAL, ADA is a general-purpose language designed to be readable and easily maintained.