Computing History

Computing History

Key events in the history of computing

The Invention of the Abacus

1000 B.C. - 500 B.C.

The first actual calculating mechanism known to us is the abacus, which is thought to have been invented by the Babylonians sometime between 1,000 BC and 500 BC, although some pundits are of the opinion that it was actually invented by the Chinese.

Johannes Gutenberg Johannes Gutenberg: The invention of the printing press

1439 CE - 1550 CE

The invention of the printing press marks the dawn of the information age. Before printing was invented, books had to be painstakingly copied by hand, which usually took many years. Few people could actually read the few books that were available, (such as the bible or classics from antiquity) and they were usually copied (by monks in monasteries) in Latin. It's not surprising this period is often referred to as 'the dark ages'; there was very little information and most people were 'in the dark'. The printing press enable fast copying of books and pamphlets and many texts were published in native languages. This caused huge political and theological turmoil and helped spark the protestant reformation in Europe.

The Pascaline

1642 CE - 1650 CE

In 1642, a 19 year old French mathematician named Blaise Pascal built the mechanical adding machine called the Pascaline. Blaise Pascal originally built this machine to assist his father, who worked as a tax commissioner, and sought to produce a device which could reduce some of his workload. By 1652 Pascal claimed to have produced some fifty prototypes.

Hewlett-Packard is founded :)


Hewlett-Packard is Founded. David Packard and Bill Hewlett found Hewlett-Packard in a Palo Alto, California garage. Their first product was the HP 200A Audio Oscillator, which rapidly becomes a popular piece of test equipment for engineers. Walt Disney Pictures ordered eight of the 200B model to use as sound effects generators for the 1940 movie “Fantasia.”

Colossus Mark I and II

1943 CE

The Colossus machines were electronic computing devices used by British code breakers to read encrypted German messages during World War 2. These were the world’s first programmable (if not fully), digital, electronic, computing device.

First commercial computer (UNIVAC)

1946 - 1952

As well as being the first American commercial computer, the UNIVAC I was the first American computer designed at the outset for business and administrative use (i.e., for the fast execution of large numbers of relatively simple arithmetic and data transport operations, as opposed to the complex numerical calculations required by scientific computers).


1946 CE

As in many other first along the road of technological progress, the stimulus which initiated and sustained the effort that produced the ENIAC (electronic numerical integrator and computer)--the world's first electronic digital computer--was provided by the extraordinary demand of war to find the solution to a task of surpassing importance. To understand this achievement, which literally ushered in an entirely new era in this century of startling scientific accomplishments, it is necessary to go back to 1939.


1949 CE

EDVAC (Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer) was one of the earliest electronic computers. Unlike its predecessor the ENIAC, it was binary rather than decimal, and was a stored program machine.

First Industrial Robot

1954 - 1961

In 1961 the first industrial robot, Unimate, joined the assembly line at a General Motors plant to work with heated die-casting machines. Unimate took die castings from machines and performed welding on auto bodies; tasks that are unpleasant for people. Obeying step-by-step commands stored on a magnetic drum, the 4,000-pound arm is versatile enough to perform a variety of tasks.

First ever TPS!


The first major transaction processing system was SABRE (Semi-Automatic Business Related Environment), developed by IBM and American Airlines.

Development of Operating Systems

1969 - Present

Operating system for digital computers, developed by Ken Thompson of Bell Laboratories in 1969. It was initially designed for a single user (the name was a pun on the earlier operating system Multics). workstation systems, and links desktop applications developed with products such as PowerBuilder and Visual Basic to enterprise application servers running the UniKix transaction processing system A Transaction Processing System (TPS) is a type of information system.

First Microprocessor

1969 - 1971

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

The Visual Display Module (VDM)


The visual display module (VDM) prototype, designed in 1975 by Lee Felsenstein, marked the first implementation of a memory-mapped alphanumeric video display for personal computers. Introduced at the Altair Convention in Albuquerque in March 1976, the visual display module allowed use of personal computers for interactive games.

The Cray 1

1976 CE - 1980 CE

Supercomputers was introduced in the 1960s were designed by Seymour Cray at Control Data Corporation (CDC),which led the market into the 1970s until Cray left to form his own company, Cray Research.

The World Wide Web was born!

1980 - 1991

The World Wide Web was born. Tim Berners-Lee, a researcher at CERN, developed HTML. He came up with specifications such as URL and HTTP. He based the World Wide Web on enquiry-based system that used hypertext and enabled people to collaborate over a network. His first web server and browser became available to the public.

Mac OS

1984 - Present

Mac OS is the trademarked name for a series of graphical user interface-based operating systems developed by Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) for their Macintosh line of computer systems. The Macintosh user experience is credited with popularizing the graphical user interface. The original form of what Apple would later name the "Mac OS" was the integral and unnamed system software first introduced in 1984 with the original Macintosh, usually referred to simply as the System software.

World Wide Web

1989 CE - Present

The World Wide Web is often abbreviated to WWW. It is the universe of network-accessible information of human knowledge.

It is a system of interlinked, hypertext documents accessed through the Internet. It was created by Sir Timothy Berners-Lee in 1989. The World Wide Web contains web pages that are created by anybody using a web browser. These web pages contain detailed text, images, videos and other multimedia that can navigated, browsed and contributed to by other people.

The Linux Kernel

1991 - Present

In 1991, in Helsinki, Linus Torvalds started a project that later became known as the Linux kernel. It was initially a terminal emulator, which Torvalds used to access the large UNIX servers of the university he was in. He wrote the program specifically for the hardware he was using and independent of an operating system because he wanted to use the functions of his new PC with an 80386 processor.

First SmartPhone :)


The first smartphone was called Simon and it was created by Intel. Besides being a mobile phone, it also contained a calendar, address book, world clock, calculator, note pad, e-mail, send and receive fax, and games. It had no physical buttons to dial with. Instead customers used a touch-screen to select phone numbers with a finger or create facsimiles and memos with an optional stylus. Text was entered with a unique on-screen “predictive” keyboard. By today’s standards, the Simon would be a fairly low-end product; however, its feature set at the time was incredibly advanced.

The Mosaic Web Browser is released!

1993 - 1994

The Mosaic web browser is released. Mosaic was the first commercial software that allowed graphical access to content on the internet. Designed by Eric Bina and Marc Andreessen at the University of Illinois’s National Center for Supercomputer Applications, Mosaic was originally designed for a Unix system running X-windows. By 1994, Mosaic was available for several other operating systems such as the Mac OS, Windows and AmigaOS.

Windows XP First Released

October 25 2001 - 2009

Released on October 25th 2001, Microsoft Windows XP which stands for eXPerience, codename “Whistler” after Whistler, British Columbia. This operating software was generally built for home and business desktops. By January 2006, over 400 million copies were in use.

Windows Vista released

2007 - 2011

Windows Vista is a line of operating systems developed by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs, and media center PCs. Prior to its announcement on July 22, 2005, Windows Vista was known by its codename "Longhorn."[3] Development was completed on November 8, 2006; over the following three months it was released in stages to computer hardware and software manufacturers, business customers, and retail channels. On January 30, 2007, it was released worldwide,[4] and was made available for purchase and download from Microsoft's website.[5] The release of Windows Vista came more than five years after the introduction of its predecessor, Windows XP, the longest time span between successive releases of Microsoft Windows desktop operating systems. It was succeeded by Windows 7 which was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009, and for the general public on October 22, 2009.

6th Sense TED :)


SixthSense brings intangible, digital information out into the tangible world, and allowing us to interact with this information via natural hand gestures. ‘SixthSense’ frees information from its confines by seamlessly integrating it with reality, and thus making the entire world your computer.

Windows 7

2009 - Present

Originally, a version of Windows codenamed Blackcomb was planned as the successor to Windows XP (codename Whistler) and Windows Server 2003. Major features were planned for Blackcomb, including an emphasis on searching and querying data and an advanced storage system named WinFS to enable such scenarios. However, an interim, minor release, codenamed "Longhorn," was announced for 2003, delaying the development of Blackcomb.[11] By the middle of 2003, however, Longhorn had acquired some of the features originally intended for Blackcomb. After three major viruses exploited flaws in Windows operating systems within a short time period in 2003, Microsoft changed its development priorities, putting some of Longhorn's major development work on hold while developing new service packs for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Development of Longhorn (Windows Vista) was also restarted, and thus delayed, in August 2004. A number of features were cut from Longhorn

Behold the iPad!

2009 - 2010

The iPad is a tablet computer designed and marketed by Apple for Internet browsing, media consumption, gaming, and light content creation. It established a new class of devices between smartphones and laptops.