A Brief History of Computers

Brian, I took out EK 1.3.1E here because the Pokemon Go story is yellow. It's on the baby name page. --MF, 2/26/18
On this page, you will explore the long history of devices used for computation.

When was the first computer built? That depends on where you draw the line between computers and non-computers.

  1. Explore the timeline below, which shows selected events in the history of computing starting 20,000 years ago. Decide what you think makes sense to call the first real computer.

timeline of computer history

Look at the timeline. The year markers at the bottom are equally spaced, but the number of years between them is not the same. The number of years does change in a regular way from marker to marker: right to left it goes up by a multiple of ten. We call such a scale logarithmic.
  1. Discussion:
    • Does a device have to be programmable to be a computer?
    • Does it have to operate by itself?
Here are two key ideas: