Daily Archives: 2024-04-01

There were no ancient computers and it’s fine

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Ehhh, They're hammering the "Programmable/Stored Program" requirement real hard. There were lots of useful devices for performing calculations, switching signals, data acquisition, and control prior to full-bore computers (arithmetic aids, telephone switches, etc.), and many of them were necessary preconditions for the stored-program computer. There were also very clearly people who understood the potential of computing machines before they were realizable, which were necessary to their development. I do agree that Babbage and Lovelace get over-emphasized because they are _compelling characters_ rather than because of their centrality. (And I have a pet peeve that the important thing from Lovelace is that she was the first person to write down that you could use a computing machine for something-not-arithmetic, the claims about programming are more disputable and less interesting.
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