computer science

Samuel Morland and his Calculator Machine

Samuel Morland and his Calculator Machine

On December 30, 1695, English academic, diplomat, spy, inventor and mathematician Samuel Morland passed away. Morland was a polymath credited with early developments in relation to computing, hydraulics and steam power. He is probably best known for his designs of early calculator machines. Youth and Education Samuel Morland was born in Sulhamstead Bannister, Berkshire, England, the son of Thomas Morland, the rector of Sulhamstead Bannister parish church in Berkshire. Morland entered Winchester…
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Grace Hopper and the Programming Languages

Grace Hopper and the Programming Languages

On December 9, 1908, American computer scientist Grace Brewster Murray Hopper was born. Besides being credited for having invented the term “debugging”, Hopper was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer in 1944. She invented the first compiler for a computer programming language and was one of those who popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages which led to the development of COBOL, one of the first high-level…
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Fred Cohen and the first Computer Virus

Fred Cohen and the first Computer Virus

On November 10, 1983, U.S. student Fred Cohen at the University of Southern California‘s School of Engineering presented to a security seminar the results of his test, a program for a parasitic application that seized control of computer operations, one of the first computer viruses, created as an experiment in computer security. But, the history of computer viruses dates back even further. The first academic work on the theory of self-replicating computer…
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The Pentium FDIV Bug

The Pentium FDIV Bug

On October 30, 1994, Thomas Nicely, a professor of mathematics at Lynchburg College, published his findings about a serious bug in the arithmetic unit of Intel’s latest Pentium processor, known as the Pentium FDIV Bug. Because of the bug, the processor can return incorrect decimal results, an issue troublesome for the precise calculations needed in fields like math and science. The Pentium FDIV bug is the most famous (or infamous) of the…
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Tom Kilburn and the First Stored-Program Computer

Tom Kilburn and the First Stored-Program Computer

On August 11, 1921, English engineer Tom Kilburn was born. Kilburn became known for having written the computer program used to test the first stored-program computer, the Small-Scale Experimental Machine, SSEM, also known as “The Baby” in 1948. “… the most exciting time was June 1948 when the first machine worked. Without question. Nothing could ever compare with that.” Tom Kilburn, Autumn 1992 Tom Kilburn was born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England and…
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Mark Weiser and his vision of Ubiquituous Computing

Mark Weiser and his vision of Ubiquituous Computing

On July 23, 1952, computer scientist Mark David Weiser was born. Weiser was chief scientist at Xerox PARC in the United States and is widely considered to be the father of ubiquitous computing, a term he coined in 1988. In contrast to desktop computing, ubiquitous computing can occur using any device, in any location, and in any format. A user interacts with the computer, which can exist in many different forms, including laptop computers,…
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John Cocke and the RISC Architecture

John Cocke and the RISC Architecture

On May 30, 1925, American computer scientist John Cocke was born. Cocke is recognized for his large contribution to computer architecture and optimizing compiler design. He is considered by many to be “the father of RISC computer architecture.” John Cocke – Background Information John Cocke was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. His father Norman was the president of Duke Power Company and a member of the Board of Trustees of Duke University.…
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Robert Metcalfe and the Ethernet Technology

Robert Metcalfe and the Ethernet Technology

On May 22, 1973, Robert Metcalfe, by the time PhD student in electrical engineering working at Xerox PARC, wrote a memo describing a way to transmit data from the early generation of personal computers to a new device, the laser printer. He named the new network technology Ethernet after the disproven luminiferous ether as an “omnipresent, completely-passive medium for the propagation of electromagnetic waves“. Over time, Ethernet has largely replaced competing wired…
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Howard Aiken and the Harvard Mark I Computer

Howard Aiken and the Harvard Mark I Computer

On March 9, 1900, computer pioneer Howard Hathaway Aiken was born. He was the original conceptual designer behind IBM’s Harvard Mark I computer, forerunner of the modern electronic digital computer. “The desire to economize time and mental effort in arithmetical computations, and to eliminate human liability to error is probably as old as the science of arithmetic itself.” — Howard Aiken, in Proposed Automatic Calculating Machine (1937) Early Years Howard Aiken’s parents…
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William Higinbotham and Tennis for Two

William Higinbotham and Tennis for Two

Tennis for Two played on an Oscilloscope On October 25, 1910, US-american physicist William “Willy” A. Higinbotham was born. A member of the Manhattan Project, he later became a leader in the nonproliferation movement of nuclear weapons. Moreover, he is also known for his development of ‘Tennis for Two‘, the first interactive analog computer game and one of the first electronic games to use a graphical display. William Alfred Higinbotham was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut,…
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