This is topic The most important computer you probably never heard about in forum Hardware, Robots, AI, Geek Toys! at The Geek Culture Forums!.


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Posted by DoctorWho (Member # 392) on August 08, 2010, 14:56:
 
This video shows how the ABC computer from the 1940s operated by using a replica. I find it fascinating how it operated and how basically computers today use the same underlying principles that this machine had way back when.
 
Posted by TheMoMan (Member # 1659) on August 09, 2010, 07:58:
 
____ Dr. Who Please get aboard your Tardis and go back to when GE made Static Controls, Gates: And, Nand, OR, and Nor, then see who they paid royalties to. These were standard industrial controls for machines. They read if each function and limit switch had been reached.
 
Posted by DoctorWho (Member # 392) on August 09, 2010, 20:03:
 
Hmmm, my TARDIS must be acting up. As far as I know GE didn't really get into computers until the 1950s. In fact the only older programmable computer I know about that was binary and electrical was invented by Konrad Zuse in 1936.
 
Posted by The Famous Druid (Member # 1769) on August 09, 2010, 21:24:
 
quote:
Originally posted by DoctorWho:
the only older programmable computer I know about that was binary and electrical was invented by Konrad Zuse in 1936.

The ABC wasn't programmable.
 
Posted by Ashitaka (Member # 4924) on August 10, 2010, 00:29:
 
this is an intereting statement,

We could say the ABC wasn't designed to be programmed, but I disagree on the "the ABC wsn't programmable" statement.

It wasn't programmable in the traditianal sense. It ran one programm and that was solving sets of equations.

but. if you wanted to do something else with the computer, say doing an integration, it could be done, it would just require a little electrical/mechanical engineering. ( Babbages machine could do integrations)

Changing how this computer's "CPU" does opperatins is plausable. Changing how a modern silicon CPU does an operation is not possible once it has been produced.

to summarize: Just because the computer program is hard wired in this computer, it doesn't mean you couldn't reprogramm it.
 
Posted by TheMoMan (Member # 1659) on August 10, 2010, 04:47:
 
____ Hence the statement about patch cables, good thing it was slow, or else the cables would have induced timing errors.
 
Posted by Mr. Geek 2U (Member # 28663) on August 10, 2010, 19:48:
 
Hello! Hello! Hello!

Please, please, please, don't war no more!

I cannot imagine a geek worth his or her Star Trek collection does not know this:

Honeywell, Inc. v. Sperry Rand Corp., et al. 180 USPQ 673 (D. Minn. 1973) (Case 4-67 Civil 138, 180 USPO 670

Dr. John Atanasoff is the inventor of the electronic digital computer!

Have a great day!

Mr. Geek 2U!
 
Posted by Zwilnik (Member # 615) on August 11, 2010, 02:40:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Geek 2U:
Hello! Hello! Hello!

Please, please, please, don't war no more!

I cannot imagine a geek worth his or her Star Trek collection does not know this:

Honeywell, Inc. v. Sperry Rand Corp., et al. 180 USPQ 673 (D. Minn. 1973) (Case 4-67 Civil 138, 180 USPO 670

Dr. John Atanasoff is the inventor of the electronic digital computer!

Have a great day!

Mr. Geek 2U!

That was only because Colossus was still covered by the Official Secrets Act at the time and couldn't be mentioned..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus_computer

It was also great for drying washing apparently.
 
Posted by The Famous Druid (Member # 1769) on August 11, 2010, 06:20:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Zwilnik:
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Geek 2U:

Dr. John Atanasoff is the inventor of the electronic digital computer!

That was only because Colossus was still covered by the Official Secrets Act at the time and couldn't be mentioned..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus_computer

I think you'll find the ABC predates Colossus.

Depending on your definition of 'computer' the prize can go to either the Zuse Z3 (1941 - programmable, but not electronic), the ABC (1942 - electronic but not programmable) or Colossus (1943 programmable and electronic) or the Manchester 'baby' (1948 - programmable, electronic, stored-program).

Oh, and there's this special-purpose 'computer' from 1949.

And, of course, if you go by date of design rather than date of construction, Mr Babbage beat them all by a country mile.

Nice Wikipedia article
 
Posted by GrumpySteen (Member # 170) on August 11, 2010, 07:05:
 
I'll just leave this here
 
Posted by The Famous Druid (Member # 1769) on August 11, 2010, 18:59:
 
quote:
Originally posted by GrumpySteen:
I'll just leave this here

quote:
from TFA:
It included a display of the zodiac and the solar and lunar orbits, and a pointer in the shape of the crescent moon which travelled across the top of a gateway, moved by a hidden cart and causing automatic doors to open, each revealing a mannequin, every hour....

...five robotic musicians who automatically play music...
...and two falcon automata dropping balls into vases...

It was possible to re-program the length of day and night everyday in order to account for the changing lengths of day and night throughout the year

An 800 year old computer with lots of unnecessary features, that needed daily tinkering to keep it working.
Who knew Microsoft was so old?
 
Posted by TheMoMan (Member # 1659) on August 12, 2010, 04:51:
 
____ I never thought of clocks as computers however computers need clocks, so I guess they are related.

http://www.cardcow.com/23129/apostolic-clock-hershey-museum-pennsylvania/
 
Posted by zorgon (Member # 546) on August 18, 2010, 11:28:
 
ABC predates Colossus. I'd heard of it. Pretty cool.

Neither one was a true general-purpose computer, as they were made for specific tasks: ABC did algebra, Colossus broke Enigma encryption.

Think the title of "first computer" in the sense of "computer" as we use it today still goes to ENIAC, which owes more to the ABC than to Colossus in terms of how it worked.
 


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