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Author Topic: The most important computer you probably never heard about
DoctorWho

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Icon 6 posted August 08, 2010 14:56      Profile for DoctorWho     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted August 09, 2010 07:58      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
____ 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.

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

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DoctorWho

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Icon 1 posted August 09, 2010 20:03      Profile for DoctorWho     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.

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Laughter is like changing a baby's diapers. It doesn't solve anything but it sure improves the situation. Leo F. Buscaglia

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted August 09, 2010 21:24      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted August 10, 2010 00:29      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted August 10, 2010 04:47      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
____ Hence the statement about patch cables, good thing it was slow, or else the cables would have induced timing errors.

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Benjamin Franklin,

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Mr. Geek 2U
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Icon 1 posted August 10, 2010 19:48      Profile for Mr. Geek 2U     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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!

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Zwilnik

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Icon 1 posted August 11, 2010 02:40      Profile for Zwilnik   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted August 11, 2010 06:20      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted August 11, 2010 07:05      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'll just leave this here

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted August 11, 2010 18:59      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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?

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted August 12, 2010 04:51      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
____ 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/

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

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zorgon
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Icon 1 posted August 18, 2010 11:28      Profile for zorgon     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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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