Re: Computers

Lief M. Hendrickson (hendrick@NOSC.MIL)
Wed, 8 Mar 1995 15:40:40 PST

On Mar 7, Eric Arnold wrote:

>Responding to Leif Hendrickson's comment about computers. I have to
>tell you that the National Security Agency (NSA) operating out of Ft.
>Meade, MD was working on computers very early in the game.
> ...

Thanks for the information, Eric, though we're talking about
different things. What you say about mainframe computers is
correct. However, I was referring to personal computers, i.e.
small computers within the purchasing power of individual users.
It's interesting that many of our personal computers today
surpass the computing power of the early large "mainframes". Two
milestones were the transistor, I believe in 1955 and integrated
circuit "chips" in the early 1960's.

BTW some books credit Charles Babbage, 1833, with the ideas
that led to our modern computers. However, I remember reading
once about a system of ropes and pulleys used by an early
civilization that involved intricate computations based on the
binary system. This may qualify as one of the first computing
devices. Unfortunately, I can't locate the source of
information. Has anyone else come across something like this?