Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thoughts on early computing history

When you look back at the major milestones in computing history, we moved quickly. We went from abstract models of computing to stored-program computers in a
decade or less. It was truly amazing.

1903 - Alonzo Church was born in Washington, D.C. (USA)
1928 - The Entscheidungsproblem decision problem was proposed by David Hilbert
1936 - Church publishes "An Unsolvable Problem of Elementary Number Theory", Church's Thesis [1]. It is a paper on untyped lambda calculus. American Journal of Mathematics, Volume 58, No. 2. (Apr., 1936)
1936 - Alan Turning publishes a paper on an abstract machine , On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem' Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society, Series 2, 42 (1936-37). He proposed the concept of the stored-program.
1936 - 1938 - Alan Turing studies under Alonzo Church
1937 - John von Neumann recommends Alan Turing for Fellowship at Princeton.
1938 - Alan Turing receives Ph.D from Princeton
1946 - Alan Turing presents a paper on the stored-program computer (Automatic Computing Engine).
1937+ - John von Neumann gains knowledge from Alan Turing's papers but Turing was not directly related to the development of ENIAC.
1943 - 1946 - Creation of ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer). Note: ENIAC was not a stored-program computer.
1944 - John von Neumann became involved with ENIAC
1945 - John von Neumann publishes paper on Electronic Discreet Variable Computer (EDVAC)
1948 - Manchester Mark I developed at Manchester University, first stored-program computer
1949-1960 - Early stored computers were created, some of the based on von Neumann architecture.
1938 - Donald Knuth was born
1957 - Donald Knuth had access to a computer. "I saw my first computer in 1957, which is pretty late in the history game as far as computers are concerned. There were about 2000 programmers in the entire world"
1963 - Donald Knuth began work on the Art of Computer Programming.
1973 - C programming language appeared.

Note: I presented milestones but some of these events were not directly related.

Image of Alan Turing: "It is believed that the use of this image may qualify as fair use under United States copyright law. Other use of this image, on Wikipedia or elsewhere, may be copyright infringement"

[1] "INTRODUCTION Alonzo Church: Life and Work"

--- Berlin Brown