The First 2000 Years of Computing – PCWorld

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An American soldier and Japanese postal worker faced off in Tokyo in 1946. Pvt. Thomas Wood had an electric calculator. Kiyoshi Matsuzaki held a soroban, a Japanese abacus. Each was a champion at operating his device. In four out of five competitive rounds, the abacus won. Perhaps the oldest continuously used calculating tool aside from fingers, the abacus is a masterpiece of power and simplicity. Abacuses were widely used in Asia and Europe for centuries, and remain common today.

An American soldier and Japanese postal worker faced off in Tokyo in 1946. Pvt. Thomas Wood had an electric calculator. Kiyoshi Matsuzaki held a soroban, a Japanese abacus. Each was a champion at operating his device. In four out of five competitive rounds, the abacus won. Perhaps the oldest continuously used calculating tool aside from fingers, the abacus is a masterpiece of power and simplicity. Abacuses were widely used in Asia and Europe for centuries, and remain common today.

The heart, brain, CPU, and hard drive of the revamped museum is the huge and permanent exhibit,Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing. Starting with the abacus, the slide rule, and an amazing contraption from ancient Greece called the Antikythera Mechanism, the exhibit works its way slowly through analog computers, punch cards, mainframes and minis, personal and portable computers, to the personal digital assistants of the 1990s–precursors to today’s smartphones. (In order to maintain a historical perspective, the museum doesn’t display anything less than ten years old. It collects and preserves newer items, of course.) The museum, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, officially opens on Thursday, January 13.

via The First 2000 Years of Computing – PCWorld.

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