Monday, September 22, 2014


The term computer first appeared in the New York Times in 1852, which caught my interest because i did not think the computer was invented until at least the 20th century. As i read the short article that the word was introduced in I soon realized that they were not talking about the kind of computer that I am typing this blog post on. They were referring to the idea of computing numbers, specifically the increase in population. Even though this type of computing is still used today, I looked further for a more relevant article. The first scholarly article I found with the word computer in it was found on JSTOR in 1778, but similar to the New York Times article, it was all about a person who was computing numbers. The first "modern computer" I could find was on the database Proquest. I found an article from 1953 named "Automatic Digital Computers in Industrial Research," which focused on digital computers. It started off with common questions about the computer and continued on with the authors answering questions about this digital computer that people knew little about. The word computer has shifted to a new meaning over the years. Even though it is still used today in the sense of computing numbers, the idea of the digital computer has taken over and is now the more common phrase.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Luke,
    It's very interesting that the word computer was first used in reference to just computing numbers, especially population increases. It's also important to note that apart from just computing for population increases, they also served other large-scale purposes too. For example, Professor Downey's spoke in his lecture about one of the first computers being used for large scale war-related mathematical computations. Though modern day computers can still be used to perform long and difficult computations, they are most notably recognized as digital devices used for various tasks-even at the comfort of our own palm-the smartphone!