The History of Computer Technology
9 Pages
2341 Words

Only once in a lifetime will a new invention come about to

touch every aspect of our lives. Such devices changed the

way we manage, work, and live. A machine that has done all

this and more now exists in nearly every business in the

United States. This incredible invention is the computer. The

electronic computer has been around for over a half-century,

but its ancestors have been around for 2000 years.

However, only in the last 40 years has the computer

changed American management to it's greatest extent. From

the first wooden abacus to the latest high-speed

microprocessor, the computer has changed nearly every

aspect of management, and our lives for the better.

The very earliest existence of the modern day computer's

ancestor is the abacus. These date back to almost 2000

years ago (Dolotta, 1985). It is simply a wooden rack

holding parallel wires on which beads are strung. When

these beads are moved along the wire according to

programming rules that the user must memorize. All ordinary

arithmetic operations can be performed on the abacus. This

was one of the first management tools used.

The next innovation in computers took place in 1694 when

Blaise Pascal invented the first digital calculating machine. It

could only add numbers and they had to be entered by

turning dials. It was designed to help Pascal's father, who

was a tax collector, manage the town's taxes (Beer, 1966).

In the early 1800s, a mathematics professor named Charles

Babbage designed an automatic calculation machine

(Dolotta, 1985). It was steam powered and could store up

to 1000 50-digit numbers. Built in to his machine were

operations that included everything a modern

general-purpose computer would need. It was programmed

by and stored data on cards with holes punched in them,

appropriately called punch cards. This machine was

extremely useful to managers that delt wi...

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