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Computer Science - General Issues | A Brief History of Computing

A Brief History of Computing

O'Regan, Gerard

2nd ed. 2012, XXIV, 264 p.

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  • Offers a comprehensive account of the history of computing
  • Traces the beginnings of computation from 3000 B.C. through to modern times
  • Includes helpful pedagogical elements such as exercises and chapter summaries
  • Does not require studies in computer science in order to be understood and appreciated

The history of computing has its origins at the outset of civilization, and the need for increasingly sophisticated calculations has grown as towns and communities evolved.

This lively and fascinating text traces the key developments in computation – from 3000 B.C. to the present day – in an easy-to-follow and concise manner. Providing a comprehensive introduction to the most significant events and concepts in the history of computing, the book embarks upon a journey from ancient Egypt to modern times; taking in mechanical calculators, early digital computers, the first personal computers and 3G mobile phones, among other topics. This expanded and revised new edition also examines the evolution of programming languages and the history of software engineering, in addition to such revolutions in computing as the invention of the World Wide Web.

Topics and features:

  • Ideal for self-study, offering many pedagogical features such as chapter-opening key topics, chapter introductions and summaries, exercises, and a glossary
  • Presents detailed information on major figures in computing, such as Boole, Babbage, Shannon, Turing, Zuse and Von Neumann
  • Reviews the history of software engineering and of programming languages, including syntax and semantics
  • Discusses the progress of artificial intelligence
  • Examines the impact on society of the introduction of the personal computer, the World Wide Web, and the development of mobile phone technology
  • Follows the evolution of a number of major technology companies, including IBM, Microsoft and Apple

This clearly written and broad-ranging text both gives the reader a flavour of the history and stimulates further study in the subject. As such, it will be of great benefit to students of computer science, while also capturing the interest of the more casual reader.

Content Level » Lower undergraduate

Related subjects » General Issues - History of Science - Popular Science

Table of contents 

Computing in Early Civilisations

What is a Computer?

Early Computers

Developments in the 1950s to 1970s

Revolutions in the 1980s and 1990s

IBM

Technology Companies

The Internet Revolution

History of Programming Languages

History of Software Engineering

People in Computing

Foundations (Boole and Babbage)

Claude Shannon

Alan Turing

Artificial Intelligence

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