The great inventions of programming were made by people who were passionate and dedicated to computer programming. By following through on their ideas, they have enabled computing, and more specifically the history of programming, to move forward.

Because programming helps to develop critical thinking. Stuck in front of a problem, the programmer has to find original ideas to find the solution.

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1) The creation of the first computers

The first computers didn't even look like today's computers. In 1821, the "difference engine" appeared and represented hope for a revolution in the field of computing and, more specifically, in programming.

This mechanical computer made it possible to carry out mathematical tables. Charles Babbage wanted to facilitate the work of astronomers, who had to make long and complicated calculations that could sometimes contain errors. Creating an automatic machine, could reduce the margin of error.

The British government commissioned Charles Babbage, the father of the computer, to build such a machine. However, the first computer was never completed because it was too expensive to develop.

The scientist then embarked on a new project: a computer with an analytical engine. This new computer was to have a section that processed calculations, a magazine to store information, a reader to enter data with a punch card system and a printer.

This computer was not completed either, but these two inventions can be considered the first computers in history with programming systems.

2) The first Ada computer program

Ada Lovelace is probably the most famous programmer in the world. In particular, she is the world's first programmer. She is known for having written the first programming language using Babbage's machine.

Ada Lovelace translated mathematician Luigi Menabrea's recordings on Babbage's analytical engine. The scientist made several translation notes and among them noted on the algorithm for calculating Bernoulli numbers via the analytical engine. This algorithm is considered to be the world's first programming language.

Ada Lovelace is now a major international feminist figure, although her work was not recognised during her lifetime.

3) Invention of the first programmable computer

Konrad Zuse is the inventor of the first functional computer: the Z3. The latter of course followed the first two versions. The Z1 was a mechanical computer that worked for only a few minutes.

The Z2 was then developed by the computer scientist before he invented the Z3 in 1941, an electromagnetic computer that used punched tape technology to store databases.

This computer was developed with the help of the German government but was destroyed in the World War II bombing of Berlin in 1943. Computers have come a long way since the early days of computing.

4) Creation of the first programmable electronic computer

Although John Vincent Atanasoff and Clifford Berry invented the first electronic computer in 1942, it was not programmable. The ABC computer was used, among other things, to find the solution of simultaneous linear equations.

In 1943, the first programmable electronic computer appeared thanks to Tommy Flowers. Named Colossus, this computer was programmed to help the British during the Second World War.

The machine had to decipher German messages encrypted by Lorenz encryption. The computer was a success, as it could decipher messages in a matter of hours, as opposed to weeks before.

5) First general-purpose programmable electronic computer

The ENIAC, for Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer, was developed by John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, in 1946.

learning-programming
No programming invention was ever made alone (Source: Unsplash)

This project was financed by the American army to help with the feasibility calculations for the world's first hydrogen bomb. The computer was made to perform complex operations such as loops through the program with electronic switches and cables and card readers.

Unfortunately, this invention is just one of the hundreds of examples where technological innovation was made not with society in mind but with warfare as the priority.

6) First computer with a stored program

In 1948, the first computer with a stored program, the Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine (SSEM), was introduced. Frederic C. Williams and Tom Kilburn developed this new computer to create the first random-access digital storage device based on the standard CRT.

The aim was to solve the problems associated with delay line memory. The computer made it possible to set up a storage device for better use with the help of programs recorded via a binary code.

7) Invention of the first high-level programming language

The Plankalkül (or computational plan) was developed in 1948 by Konrad Zuse and is considered the first high-level programming language. Before him, only Ada Lovelace had created a language that was considered a programming language.

Konrad Zuse developed the Plankalkül between 1944 and 1945 but did not publish on the subject until 1948. It was the first completed computer code in history. This language was used to store pieces of code in order to perform certain operations without having to copy the code each time.

His programme was not much talked about at the time of its creation, but several decades later when a compiler was created by a certain Joachim Hohmann.

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8) The first assembler

Understanding the history of programming helps to understand programming itself. The first assembler was created in 1949 to assemble programs in memory.

In computer programming, the assembly language is a lower-level language that translates machine language into a language understandable to humans. The codes and symbols read by the machine are therefore represented in "mnemonic" symbols, symbols that are easy to remember.

The assembler thus makes it possible to switch from machine language to simplified language for humans and vice versa, making programming easier. For example, decimal values are translated into binary language. This first assembler was developed for EDSAC (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator).

9) The first personal computer

The first personal computer was created in 1950 by Edmund Berkley. It is as much to say that the computer has nothing in common with our current computers.

This first personal computer, named Simon, was capable of performing no less than four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division).

10) Creating the first compiler

The famous Grace Hopper created the first compiler in 1952. She was involved in the simplification of computer languages and created a program that allowed a high-level language to be translated into machine code: the A-0 system. The evolution of this system, the A-2 system, is sometimes considered the first open-source software. Grace Hopper is now one of the great names in programming history.

11) First auto code: Glennie's Autocode

Once the first compiler was created, the first autocode appeared. Autocode is a so-called high-level programming language that works with the compiler to make programming more understandable.

This first autocode was created by Alick Glennie at the University of Manchester.

12) First computer with real-time graphic display

The AN/FSQ-7 computer developed by IBM in 1951 was the first computer to display real-time information on a screen. This may seem strange today, but before computers did not allow operations to be viewed on the screen as they were being performed.

This first computer with a graphic display was used, among other things, by the American air defence system to show tracks for targets.

13) Creation of the FORTRAN programming language

The first high-level programming language is the FORTRAN language created in 1957 by John W. Backus. This language is used to perform complex scientific calculations and is still used today. John Backus has managed to largely simplify a programming language.

This made it very practical and affordable. Many computer scientists then based themselves on this programming language afterwards making it one of the greatest inventions in computer programming. FORTRAN is a language still used today.

We have great programmers to thank for our personal computers (Source: Unsplash)

14) First commercial desktop computer

The Programma 101, also known as Perottina, created in 1965, was the first computer to be commercialised in history. This revolutionary computer was created by Pier Giorgio Perotto and produced by the Italian manufacturer Olivetti. Gone are the four single operations of the old computers.

The first commercial computer to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, square roots, absolute values or even fractions! These features were widely appreciated by early users. In total, no less than 44,000 computers were sold at a price of $3200.

15) Simula: the first object-oriented programming language

In 1967, the first object-oriented programming language was created: SIMULA 67. This first language was created by Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygaard, based on Algol 60 and following SIMULA 1.

Object-oriented programming is about making objects interact through different programming languages. This will also be a great advance for the further development of programming languages.

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Krishna

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