In this article we look into the history of the oldest computers dating back to 200 BC. It’s fascinating to see the evolution of the modern computer when you go back 2,000 years. We revisit four computers that were built in different parts of the world and in different eras.
In 1943, the Colossus Mark 1 was invented by England. The main feature was the wireless message interception. The computer was considered a major advancement for the British Intelligence, because of its communication tracking. It was invented right before Normandy “D-Day”, and it was used in WWII to read high-level messages from the Germans. The machine was quite an accomplishment, because it assisted with the victory in WWII with their allies.
In 1942, the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC) was built in the USA. The main feature was the digital computer and it measured at 1797.5 square feet. The driver of this massive device was by Iowa State professor John Vincent Atanasoff. The professor was assisted by his student Clifford Berry. The two of them combined their name, hence the acronym ABC. It was recognized as the first automatic electronic digital computing computer. The purpose of the computer was to solve 29 systems of simultaneous linear equations. It was also considered as the first electronic digital computer to solve math equations.
In 1936, the Z1 was built by Germany. Its main feature was the ability to freely program. It was built inside a living room; however, the exact dimensions are unknown due to its destruction. During this era, Germany was considered to be behind some of modern man’s most important inventions. Seven years later, the machine was destroyed when Allied forced bombed Berlin in 1943.
The first machine to be considered ever built was the Antikythera Mechanism. It was built sometime between 200 and 50 BC in Greece. Its main feature was the analogue computation. The device was discovered in the 1900 off the coast of Greece. People were astonished on what they had discovered. It was widely recognized as the first computer in modern times. The sophisticated gear system was equipped with 37 wheels and it could measure calendar dates. The incredible system from its time was also able to predict planet positions, and eclipses.