Journey Through Time: A Brief Breakdown of the History of Computer Science

History of Computer Science

Before we set the wheels in motion, computer science is the branch of science that deals with the theory, design, and application of computers. 

And it is without a doubt that the invention of computers in the early 19th century has and is still helping shape the world in various forms in this current century. 

Computers have made it possible for technologies including but not limited to artificial intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Robotics, 5G, Virtual and Augmented Reality, and Data Science. 

With the rapid development and triage of technologies associated with the computer, one must possess the fundamentals of data science to be safe from imminent cyber-attacks. With that in mind, why don’t you enroll in a Master of Data Science online, seeing as online education is readily accessible from the comforts of your homes? 

Recent news publications show that many people are extremely intrigued to know and explore the prospects of what the computer may be capable of in the coming years.  Some lingering questions among people include “Can we travel to the future and back?”, “Can we freeze time?”, etc.

As Carl Sagan puts it, “You have to know the past to understand the present.” Fortunately, this article offers a robust understanding of the history of computers. 

A piece of prerequisite information to know is that the history of computers spans multiple decades. A Brief Breakdown of the History of Computer Science.

History of Computer Science

1800s- 90s: Purely mathematics

During this period in the History of Computer Science,  Joseph Marie Jacquard, Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, Per Georg Scheutz, Edvard, and Herman Hollerith were among the first pioneers who attempted to create a computer. 

Joseph Marie Jacquard, a French merchant, influenced the primitive design of a computer using punched wooden cards. Charles Babbage was an English mathematician who then developed a steam-driven system for calculating tables of numbers. Ada Lovelace, also an English mathematician, was a pioneer in computer programming; she developed an algorithm for the computation of Bernoulli numbers. 

Georg Scheutz and his son Edvard, both from Sweden, built and designed the world’s first printing calculator – capable of computing tabular differences and printing the results. Based on Marie Jacquard’s invention of punched wooden cards for computers, Herman Hollerith leveraged that to help calculate the 1890 U.S. Census. 

According to a publication by Columbia University, Hollerith saved the government several years of calculation and the U.S. taxpayer approximately $5 million. Hollerith is widely regarded as the father of modern automatic computation. 

Hollerith is the founder of International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).

1930s – 40s: More mathematics and the computer

Alan Turing, John Von Neumann, and other great mathematicians developed several mathematical frameworks that paved the way for the invention of computers. 

Through the combined efforts of Alan Turing, John Von Neumann, and other dynamic scientists, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) was created. The ENIAC was completed in 1945 and could perform complex calculations at incredible speeds. 

1950s – 60s: Computer science  & improvement in hardware 

This period saw the development of high-level programming languages such as Formula Translation (FORTRAN) and COBOL. 

FORTRAN and COBOL revolutionized how computers were programmed, this made writing code hassle-free. 

Transistors replaced vacuum tubes as a major hardware component of a computer. The use of transistors enabled computers to handle large data processing tasks as they had faster processing speeds. 

Hard drives worked on the principle of magnetism and were fresh on the market. Hence, they were used as storage devices for computers, providing much more value in data storage as opposed to the former, such as punch cards or tape reels. 

1970s and 80s: Emergence of databases, personal computing, and the early internet

Owing to the emergence of relational databases, Structured Query Language (SQL) was developed. SQL left an indelible impact in the sense that it revolutionized how all types of data were accessed and manipulated. 

Personal computing was birth into the market by the introduction of microprocessors in the 1970s by Apple and IBM. The first ever personal computers made were the Apple II and IBM PC. 

Apple II and IBM PC laid a solid foundation for the modern personal computer we all use today. 

During this time, researchers developed the Internet for the sole purpose of connecting computers across networks. The internet at the time was called the U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), developed by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), and was capable of supporting email communications. 

1990s and 2000s: Personal computers, scientific computers & the cloud

This era marked the rapid development of personal computers with more sophisticated hardware components. 

Scientific computers were also introduced to perform complex simulations and calculations for scientific research, engineering projects, weather forecasting, and other important tasks. 

Scientific computers possessed the power to process huge amounts of data quickly. 

Advancements in the Internet led to cloud computing, which essentially involved extensive use of the Internet for data storage, servers, and networking. 

The 2010s onwards: Programming languages and AI 

This period brought about advancements in programming languages such as HTML, Python, JavaScript, and others. 

Python gained popularity due to its simple and versatile nature. It paved the way for the development of AI algorithms to solve complex tasks and complement humans in everyday life. 

This then led to robust developments in cloud computing, which brought about virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Google Home. 

Conclusion: History of Computer Science

Computers are here to stay and they are only going to get better. Some benefits of computers include expedited banking and financial services, business process automation, advanced laboratory computing and research, and data analysis. 

Now you reader, may want to think about how you did want to expand the frontiers of computers. 

Also Read: Risk Management In Software Engineering and Its 7 Types

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