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There are certainly enough news stories and technological developments going on today in the world of computing to keep anyone's mind fully occupied. It's also important however, to have a historical perspective on this topic, not only to understand and appreciate its past origins but also to help in predicting its future paths. From the ancient abacus to future quantum computers there has been one common purpose that has not changed - the use of a mechanism to help us model and predict our world using mathematical functions. Beyond that though, it's hard to recognize the similarities. While the abacus was quite adequate to model the commerce transactions of early merchants it certainly doesn't have the capabilities to generate a video game or show weather patterns on a display screen. To satisfy our growing demands we have had to increase both the speed of data manipulation and the number size, or data bits, we use to represent each element of what we are modeling. We have also had to develop the capability for "programming" in order for the machine to perform its functions in an automated way. Here we will deal with the journey of these advancements.
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Some links of interest:
Charles Babbage - A pioneer in mechanizing mathematical computation
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