There are a lot of people who would love to lay claim to the ultimate title father of computer. No doubt the computer has undergone some remarkable innovative changes over the years and we have this select group of individuals to thank for their astounding contributions to the world of computing.
But who stands tall above the rest? Whose contribution has had the most tremendous effect on the world of computing?
We have compiled a list of undisputed legends below who certainly have positively affected our world in one way or another.
He is considered by most people, to be the father-of-computing after he invented the analytical-engine in 1837. The Arithmetic Logic Unit was embedded within the analytical-engine, alongside basic-flow-control and an overall integrated memory. Without this invention, there probably would be no personal computer and carries the first general purpose computer concept.
Although this computing device wasn’t built during his lifetime, his youngest son, Henry Babbage succeeded his father’s ambition and was able to build a portion of the machine that could perform some basic calculations.
Even though his concepts and inventions were never completed during his lifetime, his notions, ideas, and vision for the computer have transcended over many generations and that is why many crown him with the title: father of computing.
Alan Mathison Turing
A genius of his time, considered by many to be-the-father of computer science, Alan is an English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and computer scientist.His Turing machines played an important part in the creation of the modern computer.
Turin developed the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) at the National Physical Laboratory, creating the first detailed design for a stored program computer in 1946, sadly this device was never built, most subsequent computer designs owe much to the ACE.
He is popularly known for the development of the Turing machine in 1936 along with the Turing Test, which is used for determining artificial intelligence.
The test was developed to determine whether a computer is “intelligent” proposed that if any computer can deceive a human that it was another human being, then it’s possible that the computer has the ability to “think” for itself. This test comprised of a human who listened and asked questions intently while communicating with a computer and a human
If the individual asking questions couldn’t differentiate between both communications, the computer had just demonstrated human intelligence and passed the Turing Test. Till date, no computer has ever passed the test.
Popularly referred to as the man who invented the computer, John invented the first digital computer known as the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC). It was first developed in 1937 and tested in 1942. The ABC is the first ever electronic digital computer and was the first machine to make use of vacuum tubes.
The device also had a regenerative capacitor memory that operated by a process similar to those used today in DRAM memory.
John Von Neumann
John von Neumann co-created the von Neumann architecture, a single memory stored program architecture that is still being used today. This was the first written description of how an electronic computer should store and process information. The architecture comprised of an Arithmetic-Logic-Unit (ALU), Input/Output and a control unit.
This design is timeless and still being used in all computers and many electronic devices in one form or another.
Although he never called it a virus, John was the first to describe how a computer program could replicate and reproduce itself.
He also created the Monte Carlo method which is an algorithm that is used to solve complex problems.
He has deemed the father-of computers with his creative innovations and development of the Z1, Z2, Z3, and Z4 computers.
The Z1 is certainly one of the 1st electro-mechanical-binary-programmable computers.
After the success of the Z1 and its laudable achievements, Zuse was appointed by the german-military to develop Z2, which was to be the successor to the Z1 having most of the functionality its predecessor had with some minor improvements.
Then he went on to create the Z3 in 1941, Z3 was a one of a kind generational computer and arguably the best of its era. It’s deemed to be the 1st –electromechanical-program-controlled-computer.
But Zuse wasn’t done yet, finally, in July 1950, he had completely developed the Z4 computer, which many consider being the first ever commercial computer.
Henry Edward Roberts
He was the first person to coin the term “personal computer’ and is considered by many to be the father of the-modern-personal-computer.He developed the Altair 8800 which was debuted on December 1974. It was later marketed on the front covers of Popular Electronics which made it an instantaneous overnight success.
The Altair 8800 had an Intel 8080 processor,”1024 word” memory boards with 256 bytes of memory. By 1975, over 5000 Altair devices were sold, this event was described as the beginning of the personal computer revolution.
The Altair had no keyboard, monitor or printer; users had to input data using switches on the front of the computer to represent either 0 or a 1 and got output from flashing lights.
He is widely recognised by many to be the Father-of Visual basic; a programming language developed by Microsoft with the help of Alan Cooper and was released in May 1991. The programming language was developed with the beginner in mind and for programmers who needed a touch of visual elements in their programs.
Visual basic allowed users to perform various functions like move and elements such as buttons, forms and even create events and triggers within the software.
Alan Cooper also developed the General Ledger software, one of the first business software written for microcomputers. He has also written business programming language CBASIC, an early competitor to Microsoft Basic.
There you have it.
There are numerous other pioneers of various aspects of the computer that did not make the list but all these individuals have contributed to the growth of computing and we recognise them for their creativity and transformative abilities they brought to the world of computers. Thank you so much for your time.