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Wilhelm Schickard
(1592 - 1635)

Father of the computer age
World's first non-programmable computer, by Wilhelm Schickard

Computer history starts in 1623, when Wilhelm Schickard built mankind's first automatic calculator.

Schickard's machine could perform basic arithmetic operations on integer inputs. His letters to Kepler, discoverer of the laws of planetary motion, explain the application of his "calculating clock" to the computation of astronomical tables.

The non- programmable Schickard machine was based on the traditional decimal system. Leibniz subsequently discovered the more convenient binary system (1679), an essential ingredient of the world's first working program- controlled computer, due to Zuse (1941).

World's first non-programmable computer, by Wilhelm Schickard
Top: Replica of the non- programmable Schickard computer. Compare the computer history speedup page for a list of the most important computer science breakthroughs since 1623.
Leibniz Kurt Goedel Turing Konrad Zuse Schmidhuber's law: computer history speed-up