The world's first computer

The first computer, which used only electronic components, was developed and created back in 1941. With the participation of IBM (the company then produced household appliances such as vegetable cutters), five engineers, led by the American mathematician from Harvard Howard Aixan, brought to life the ideas of the inventor Charles Babbage, who, back in 1833, developed a project for a universal digital computer, but was unable to implement it due to low level of technology at the time.

The miracle of engineering built was named "Mark-1". In fact, the machine was originally named "Automatic Programmable Calculator" or ASCC (Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator), but the fact is that at the launch ceremony of the computer, Howard Aiken did not mention any role of IBM in the creation of the machine. As a result, the sponsors split off, and the name of the computer had to be changed to our own.

When the dust and dirt settled, the final preparations were made and the panels were polished to a shine, the first official launch of the computer took place on August 7, 1944. “Mark” could subtract and add in 3 seconds, but divided and multiplied a little longer (15, 3 and 6 seconds, respectively). At its core, it was a calculator, and rather weak considering the capabilities of modern computers, not even computers, even calculators. He sequentially read and executed instructions from the perforated paper tape, and each program was a rather long tape roll. Loops (loops) were organized by closing the beginning and the end of the tape being read, that is, really by creating loops. "Mark-1" could operate with only 72 numbers, consisting of 23 decimal places. However, this was 1944, and a machine capable of performing mathematical operations without human intervention was a breakthrough.

The world's first computer could not be put on a table or taken to bed with you - it was a "giant" weighing 4.5 tons. The total length of Mark's wires was 800 km, the number of component parts reached 765 thousand pieces. All this was contained in a stainless steel and glass case, 17 meters long and 2.5 meters high. The main computing modules were mechanically synchronized using a 15-meter shaft driven by an electric motor with a power of 5 liters. from. (4 kW).

The cost of the project was 500 thousand dollars (a gigantic sum for those times).

It is worth noting that the calculating machine of the German scientist Konrad Zuse appeared earlier (1938, the first machine of the "Z" series - "Z1"). However, it was created on a mechanical basis i.e. gear, chain, belt and other types of torque transmission, crank mechanisms, lever switches and others. Therefore, "Mark-1" is not the first in principle, but the first analog of a computer consisting only of electrical components, which makes it a little closer to what we are used to calling a computer.