Details

Calculation and Computation in the Pre-electronic Era


Calculation and Computation in the Pre-electronic Era

The Mechanical and Electrical Ages
History of Computing

von: Aristotle Tympas

101,14 €

Verlag: Springer
Format: PDF
Veröffentl.: 12.01.2018
ISBN/EAN: 9781848827424
Sprache: englisch

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Beschreibungen

Although it is popularly assumed that the history of computing before the second half of the 20th century was unimportant, in fact the Industrial Revolution was made possible and even sustained by a parallel revolution in computing technology. An examination and historiographical assessment of key developments helps to show how the era of modern electronic computing proceeded from a continual computing revolution that had arisen during the mechanical and the electrical ages.This unique volume introduces the history of computing during the “first” (steam) and “second” (electricity) segments of the Industrial Revolution, revealing how this history was pivotal to the emergence of electronic computing and what many historians see as signifying a shift to a post-industrial society. It delves into critical developments before the electronic era, focusing on those of the mechanical era (from the emergence of the steam engine to that of the electric power network) and the electrical era (from the emergence of the electric power network to that of electronic computing). In so doing, it provides due attention to the demarcations between—and associated classifications of—artifacts for calculation during these respective eras. In turn, it emphasizes the history of comparisons between these artifacts.Topics and Features:motivates exposition through a firm historiographical argument of important developmentsexplores the history of the slide rule and its use in the context of electrificationexamines the roles of analyzers, graphs, and a whole range of computing artifacts hitherto placed under the allegedly inferior class of analog computersshows how the analog and the digital are really inseparable, with perceptions thereof depending on either a full or a restricted view of the computing processinvestigates socially situated comparisons of computing history, including the effects of a political economy of computing  (one that takes into account cost and ownership of computing artifacts)assesses concealment of analog-machine labor through encasement (“black-boxing”)Historians of computing, as well as those of technology and science (especially, energy), will find this well-argued and presented history of calculation and computation in the mechanical and electrical eras an indispensable resource.  The work is a natural textbook companion for history of computing courses, and will also appeal to the broader readership of curious computer scientists and engineers, as well as those who generally just have a yearn to learn the contextual background to the current digital age."In this fascinating, original work, Tympas indispensably intertwines the histories of analog and digital computing, showing them to be inseparable from the evolution of social and economic conditions. " Prof. David Mindell, MIT
This book offers an introduction to the history of computing during the ‘first’ (steam) and the ‘second’ (electricity) industrial revolution. It starts with the origins of the industrial revolution and stops at the emergence of electronic computing, which for many historians signifies the end of the industrial society and the beginning of a post-industrial society. It is popularly assumed that the history of computing before the second half of the twentieth century is unimportant. The general argument of the book is that computing has been of primary importance since the late nineteenth century and through the first half of the twentieth century. The book shows that the industrial revolution was made possible by a parallel revolution in computing technology. As indicated by the transition from isolated factory steam engines to vast networks of interconnected electric power lines, the industrial revolution was actually a permanent technological revolution. The book suggests that it was sustained by a perpetual revolution in computing technology. The history of this perpetual computing revolution helps us to understand that electronic era computing continued on what this permanent computing revolution had accumulated during the mechanical and the electrical age. What followed after the 1940s capitalized on what had started in the 1780s. In this sense, the book offers a history of computing during the mechanical and the electrical age that helps us to contextualize the history of electronic computing.
IntroductionThe Delights of the Slide RuleLighting Calculations LightenedLike the Poor, the Harmonics Will Always Be With UsThe Inner Satisfaction That Comes With Each Use of the Alignment ChartThe Appearance of a Neatly Finished Box Conclusion
Dr. Aristotle Tympas is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the National and Kapodestrian University of Athens, Greece.
Although it is popularly assumed that the history of computing before the second half of the 20th century was unimportant, in fact the Industrial Revolution was made possible and even sustained by a parallel revolution in computing technology. An examination and historiographical assessment of key developments helps to show how the era of modern electronic computing proceeded from a continual computing revolution that had arisen during the mechanical and the electrical ages.This unique volume introduces the history of computing during the “first” (steam) and “second” (electricity) segments of the Industrial Revolution, revealing how this history was pivotal to the emergence of electronic computing and what many historians see as signifying a shift to a post-industrial society. It delves into critical developments before the electronic era, focusing on those of the mechanical era (from the emergence of the steam engine to that of the electric power network) and the electrical era (from the emergence of the electric power network to that of electronic computing). In so doing, it provides due attention to the demarcations between—and associated classifications of—artifacts for calculation during these respective eras. In turn, it emphasizes the history of comparisons between these artifacts.Topics and Features: motivates exposition through a firm historiographical argument of important developments explores the history of the slide rule and its use in the context of electrification examines the roles of analyzers, graphs, and a whole range of computing artifacts hitherto placed under the allegedly inferior class of analog computers shows how the analog and the digital are really inseparable, with perceptions thereof depending on either a full or a restricted view of the computing process investigates socially situated comparisons of computing history, including the effects of a political economy of computing  (one that takes into account cost and ownership of computing artifacts) assesses concealment of analog-machine labor through encasement (“black-boxing”) Historians of computing, as well as those of technology and science (especially, energy), will find this well-argued and presented history of calculation and computation in the mechanical and electrical eras an indispensable resource.  The work is a natural textbook companion for history of computing courses, and will also appeal to the broader readership of curious computer scientists and engineers, as well as those who generally just have a yearn to learn the contextual background to the current digital age.
Offers an introduction to the history of computing during the ‘first’ (of steam) and the ‘second’ (of electricity) industrial revolution Suggests that the computing revolution and the industrial revolution were the same, with the one making the other possible and vice versaProposes that analog and digital computing technology is inseparable, with their alleged difference actually resulting from either full or restricted view of the computing process
Offers an introduction to the history of computing during the ‘first’ (of steam) and the ‘second’ (of electricity) industrial revolution Suggests that the computing revolution and the industrial revolution were the same, with the one making the other possible and vice versaProposes that analog and digital computing technology is inseparable, with their alleged difference actually resulting from either full or restricted view of the computing process
“In this fascinating, original work, Tympas indispensably intertwines the histories of analog and digital computing, showing them to be inseparable from the evolution of social and economic conditions.” (Prof. David Mindell, MIT)

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