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Introduction to Architectural Technology, 2nd Edition by Dason Whitsett, Peter Silver, William McLean

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Computational Tools and Techniques

Although some would credit the abacus, the first computational machine was probably a mechanical calculator designed by the French mathematician Blaise Pascal in 1642. In 1804, Joseph Marie Jacquard designed the Jacquard loom, a pattern-making tool that could produce a variety of patterns by simply changing a template. This loom was the first (re)programmable machine to make use of punchcards as a way of encoding data.

Known as a “difference engine” and consisting of sets of gears, levers and pulleys made from cast bronze, the first fully (re)programmable computation machine was designed by Charles Babbage in 1830, but it wasn’t until the 1940s that the modern computer was conceived. During the Second World ...

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