When was the first computer invented?

Article from ComputerHope

First mechanical computer or automatic computing engine concept

In 1822Charles Babbage purposed and began developing the Difference Engine, considered to be the first automatic computing engine that was capable of computing several sets of numbers and making a hard copies of the results. Unfortunately, because of funding he was never able to complete a full-scale functional version of this machine. In June of 1991, the London Science Museum completed the Difference Engine No 2 for the bicentennial year of Babbage’s birth and later completed the printing mechanism in 2000.

Analytical EngineLater, in 1837 Charles Babbage proposed the first general mechanical computer, the Analytical Engine. The Analytical Engine contained anArithmetic Logic Unit (ALU), basic flow control, and integrated memoryand is the first general-purpose computer concept. Unfortunately, because of funding issues this computer was also never built while Charles Babbage’s was alive. In 1910, Henry Babbage, Charles Babbage’s youngest son was able to complete a portion of this machine and was able to perform basic calculations.

First programmable computer

The Z1, originally created by Germany’s Konrad Zuse in his parents living room in 1936 to 1938 is considered to be the first electro-mechanical binary programmable (modern) computer and really the first functional computer.

The first electric programmable computer

The Colossus was the first electric programmable computer and was developed by Tommy Flowers and first demonstrated in December 1943. The Colossus was created to help the British code breakers read encrypted German messages.

The first digital computer

Short for Atanasoff-Berry Computer, the ABC started being developed by Professor John Vincent Atanasoff and graduate student Cliff Berry in 1937 and continued to be developed until 1942 at the Iowa State College (now Iowa State University). The ABC was an electrical computer that used vacuum tubes for digital computation including binary math and Boolean logic and had no CPU. On October 19, 1973, the US Federal Judge Earl R. Larson signed his decision that the ENIAC patent by Eckert and Mauchly was invalid and named Atanasoff the inventor of the electronic digital computer.

ENIACThe ENIAC was invented by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly at the University of Pennsylvania and began construction in 1943 and was not completed until 1946. It occupied about 1,800 square feet and used about 18,000 vacuum tubes, weighing almost 50 tons. Although the Judge ruled that the ABC computer was the first digital computer, many still consider the ENIAC to be the first digital computer because it was fully functional.

The first stored program computer

The early British computer known as the EDSAC is considered to be the first stored program electronic computer. The computer performed its first calculation on May 6, 1949 and was the computer that ran the first graphical computer game, nicknamed “Baby”.

The first computer company

The first computer company was the Electronic Controls Company and was founded in 1949 by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, the same individuals who helped create the ENIAC computer. The company was later renamed to EMCC or Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation and released a series of mainframe computers under the UNIVAC name.

First stored program computer

First delivered to the United States Government in 1950, the UNIVAC 1101 or ERA 1101 is considered to be the first computer that was capable of storing and running a program from memory.

First commercial computer

In 1942, Konrad Zuse begin working on the Z4, which later became the first commercial computer after being sold to Eduard Stiefel a mathematician of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich on July 12, 1950.

The first PC (IBM compatible) computer

On April 7, 1953 IBM publicly introduced the 701, its first electric computer and first mass produced computer. Later IBM introduced its first personal computer called the IBM PC in 1981. The computer was code named and still sometimes referred to as the Acorn and had a 8088processor, 16 KB of memory, which was expandable to 256 and utilizing MS-DOS.

The first computer with RAM

MIT introduces the Whirlwind machine on March 8, 1955, a revolutionary computer that was the first digital computer with magnetic core RAM and real-time graphics.

TransistorsThe first transistor computer

The TX-O (Transistorized Experimental computer) is the firsttransistorized computer to be demonstrated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1956.

The first minicomputer

In 1960Digital Equipment Corporation released its first of many PDP computers the PDP-1.

The first mass-market PC

In 1968Hewlett Packard began marketing the first mass-marketed PC, the HP 9100A.

The first workstation

Although it was never sold, the first workstation is considered to be the Xerox Alto, introduced in 1974. The computer was revolutionary for its time and included a fully functional computer, display, and mouse. The computer operated like many computers today utilizing windowsmenusand icons as an interface to its operating system.

The first microprocessor

Intel introduces the first microprocessor, the Intel 4004 on November 15, 1971.

The first personal computer

In 1975, Ed Roberts coined the term “personal computer” when he introduced the Altair 8800. Although the first personal computer is considered by many to be the Kenback-1, which was first introduced for $750 in 1971. The computer relied on a series of switches for inputting data and output data by turning on and off a series of lights.

The Micral is considered the be the first commercial non-assembly computer. The computer used the Intel 8008 processor and sold for $1,750 in 1973.

The first laptop or portable computer

IBM 5100The IBM 5100 is the first portable computer, which was released on September 1975. The computer weighed 55 pounds and had a five inch CRT display, tape drive, 1.9MHz PALM processor, and 64KB of RAM. In the picture to the right, is an ad of the IBM 5100 taken from a November 1975 issue of Scientific America.

The first truly portable computer or laptop is considered to be theOsborne I, which was released on April 1981 and developed by Adam Osborne. The Osborne I was developed by Adam Osborne and weighed 24.5 pounds, had a 5-inch display, 64 KB of memory, two 5 1/4″ floppy drives, ran the CP/M 2.2 operating system, included amodem, and cost US$179.

The IBM PC Division (PCD) later released the IBM portable in 1984, it’s first portable computer that weighed in at 30 pounds. Later in 1986, IBM PCD announced it’s first laptop computer, the PC Convertible, weighing 12 pounds. Finally, in 1994, IBM introduced the IBM ThinkPad 775CD, the first notebook with an integrated CD-ROM.

The first Apple computer

Steve Wozniak designed the first Apple known as the Apple I computer in 1976.

The first PC clone

The Compaq Portable is considered to be the first PC clone and was release in March 1983 byCompaq. The Compaq Portable was 100% compatible with IBM computers and was capable of running any software developed for IBM computers.

The first multimedia computer

In 1992, Tandy Radio Shack becomes one of the first companies to release a computer based on the MPC standard with its introduction of the M2500 XL/2 and M4020 SX computers.

Other major computer company firsts

Below is a listing of some of the major computers companies first computers.

Compaq – In March 1983, Compaq released its first computer and the first 100% IBM compatible computer the “Compaq Portable.”
Dell – In 1985Dell introduced its first computer, the “Turbo PC.”
Hewlett Packard – In 1966, Hewlett Packard released its first general computer, the “HP-2115.”
NEC – In 1958NEC builds its first computer the “NEAC 1101.”
Toshiba – In 1954Toshiba introduces its first computer, the “TAC” digital computer.

Opening Keynote: Ariel Waldman on Hacking Space Exploration

We are very excited to announce that Ariel Waldman of Spacehack.org  will be delivering the opening Keynote for OTA12.

Ariel is the Founder of Spacehack.org, a directory of ways to participate in space exploration, and the creator of Science Hack Day  SF, an event that brings together scientists, technologists, designers and people with good ideas to see what they can create in one weekend. She is also the coordinator for Science Hack Days around the world, an interaction designer, and a research affiliate with Institute For The Future.

Additionally, she sits on the advisory board for the SETI Institute‘s science radio show Big Picture Science, is a contributor to the book State of the eUnion: Government 2.0 and Onwards, and is the founder of CupcakeCamp. In 2008, she was named one of the top 50 most influential individuals in Silicon Valley. Previously, she was a CoLab Program Coordinator at NASA, a Digital Anthropologist at VML (a WPP agency), and a sci-fi movie gadget columnist for Engadget.

Keynote: Hacking Science & Space Exploration

From hearing particle collisions to discovering distant galaxies: how people are creating unexpected interfaces for open source space exploration and science.

Science should be disruptively accessible – empowering people from a variety of different backgrounds to explore, participate in, and build new ways of interacting with and contributing to science. There has been a considerable movement in the last several years to make science more open between scientific disciplines and to the perceived “public”. But simply making science open – by placing datasets, research, and materials online and using open source licensing – is only half the battle. Open is not the same as accessible. Often the materials are very cryptic or are buried deep within a government website where they’re not easy to find. It’s not until someone builds an interface to these open datasets that they truly become accessible and allow for hundreds of thousands of people to actively contribute to scientific discovery.

Mobile Developer’s Guide To The Galaxy: An unplanned success story

– Guest Post by Marco Tabor of Enough Software @enoughmarco

Enough Software will be giving away 400 hard copies of the Developer’s Guide to the Galaxy at OTA12 – we’ll announce the details of how you can pick your copy up at the event.

What a great plan: Publishing a non-commercial and free handbook about mobile technologies, invite the whole community to contribute and put out updates whenever the ecosystem’s changes make it necessary. By doing so, you will always have a nice (and useful!) give-away when your company exhibits at events, you gain visibility as multi-platform experts and you keep on expanding your network. Once you have some attention, it will be easy to find companies who are willing to sponsor the printing – even though they do not control what is written about their products: The big players know pretty well that they have to please developers and provide them with useful tools and information if they want them to develop for their platform, use their tools and/or distribution channels. A great plan indeed. But we never had that plan.

When we started putting out the first edition of our “Developer’s Guide To The Galaxy” at Mobile World Congress 2009, we simply did it because we realized that a lot of people were loosing the big picture in the fragmented and ever-changing mobile world. Back then it was a tiny brochure with 40 pages and I think the longest chapter spoke about J2ME. There never was a commercial idea or business plan behind this. It turned out that the demand was bigger than expected: We quickly ran out of copies, a lot of experts came up to us and offered their support as writers and a company offered some money to cover the printing costs of a re-print. So the second edition came out just some weeks later. It already had 60 pages.

Then Android gained traction and of course we needed to include that in the book, so we extended the content again and printed a third edition. And so it continued.

At this year’s Mobile World Congress we published the 10th edition. It has over 200 pages, 20 authors are involved and almost all the 5000 copies we printed are distributed already (of course we will hold back some boxes for OTA 2012!). Nokia, BlueVia, Immersion and Deutsche Telekom financed the printing this time. Our friends from WIP even published a companion guide which concentrates on app marketing.

It turned out once again that you do not need a detailed plan and stick to it, especially when things are changing as quickly as they do in our business. Just start something if you think it makes sense. If you keep following a good idea, you have a good chance that it will develop its own dynamics.

Download a digital copy:
Mobile Developer’s Guide To The Galaxy No. 10
Mobile Developer’s Guide To The Parallel Universe of App Marketing

Big Data Week

23rd April – 29th April – London / New York / San Francisco / Sydney

Big Data Week is one of the world’s most unique global platforms, treatment offering a series of interconnected activities and conversations around the world across not only technology but also the commercial use cases for Big Data.

Big Data week was founded by @stewarttownsend on a wet and windy Sunday afternoon, being a co-organiser of four London based Big Data events he felt there was a gap between meetups across not just London but the globe, communities tended to stay in one part of the Big Data landscape and thus the idea was born to bring together all the communities and networks across a week of events, alongside his co-organiser @empiricator (Carlos) they have built a week of FREE community events that explores the core areas around Big Data these are

  1. Data Scientists
  2. Data Technologies
  3. Data Visualization
  4. Data Business

The week consists of a series of events across the globe with London hosting 8 of these and ending with a data hackathon which was born from the London meetup Data Science London this is a hackathon over 24 hours and spread across the globe from London to San Francisco and Sydney, with data scientists aiming to solve problems set on four large data sets with the end result accumulating in a overall winner to be announced at the end of the competition.

For a full list of events go to www.bigdataweek.com but we have Hilary Mason Chief Data Scientist at Bit.ly speaking at Data Science London on the Monday evening, Doug Cutting the Co- founder of Apache Hadoop foundation on a panel with Edd Dumbill Strata program chair as the moderator and the CTO from Moshi Monsters talking at Londata on Thursday about their growth and how data has been crucial to them.

If you want to attend or run your own events then go to www.bigdataweek.com for more information or contact@bigdataweek.com

Follow us on twitter @bigdataweek and use the hashtag #bigdataweek


We are super-duper pleased with our new website design, thanks to the lovely Harry and Helen over at minimoko.

It seems only fitting that our very first blog post to the new site should be to give them a big thanks for all of their hard work.

The logo which Luke Razzell of Weaver Digital designed for us last year looks fantastic in this new setting.

It’s still a work in progress, but all of the basics are here, and if you’ve got any questions or feedback you can give us a shout @overtheair.