Talk:Computer

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"The Atanasoff–Berry Computer (ABC) was the world's first electronic digital computer, albeit not programmable."[2[edit]

Following my sources, the A-B computer was first successfully used in summer 1941, while the Zuse Z3 was already successfully used in May 1941. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer — Preceding unsigned comment added by 178.115.250.216 (talkcontribs) 12:45, 2 November 2012‎

Edit request: fix anachronism in Roman vs Babylonian abacus[edit]

Currently the article states "The Roman abacus was used in Babylonia as early as 2400 BC." This makes no chronological sense - the Babylonian culture preceded the Roman culture. As a simple emergency fix, until someone finds a better solution, please replace with "The precursor of the Roman abacus was used in Babylonia as early as 2400 BC." — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.158.154.88 (talk) 10:26, 12 May 2016 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done --A D Monroe III (talk) 15:24, 8 July 2016 (UTC)

Edit request: "programmable" contradiction[edit]

The article begins "A computer is a general purpose device that can be programmed ..."

In the section "Analog computers" is "... many scientific computing needs were met by increasingly sophisticated analog computers, which used a direct mechanical or electrical model of the problem as a basis for computation. However, these were not programmable ..."

One or the other or both need repair. Thanks, 73.71.159.231 (talk) 17:52, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Analog computers are specialist, not general purpose computers, and are not programmable. However, they are normally considered on topic here due to the close historical links. For example the Bombe was an analog computer.GliderMaven (talk) 19:17, 14 June 2016 (UTC
Being "programmable" is an attribute, not a definition. A digital electronic computer is not necessarily a programmable computer, see Digital electronic computer. This article needs repair. 73.71.159.231 (talk) 20:15, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
Actually, it's Digital electronic computer that needs work; it's a stub (or worse, redundant with this article). Current computers are programmable by all useful definitions, even if original analog computers were not. Similarly, most of the rest of the lede did not apply to all analog or mechanical precursors to modern computers; that's not important. --A D Monroe III (talk) 21:52, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
Ah - you've trapped me. This article begins with "A computer is a general purpose device that can be programmed". Very clever - restrict "computer" to "general purpose" and it would seem they have to be programmable. Of course!!! Just a little detail - is it true that there are no special purpose computers? 73.71.159.231 (talk) 01:59, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
We're trying to understand your concern; is it "programmable" or "general purpose"? If it's some combination, that's hard to follow. Can you make a specific statement of what it should be changed to? --A D Monroe III (talk) 17:00, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
One stupidly nerdy point about Wikipedia is that the opening sentences don't define the term so much as the topic; the topic here is general purpose computers; that doesn't imply there are no special purpose computers; if you want to investigate other uses of the term 'computer' you shoudl check out the disambiguation page that is linked from the top.GliderMaven (talk) 19:45, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
It would be an error to require all computers, by definition, to be "general purpose". Significant numbers of them are single specialised purpose. As general purpose computers (which means most digital computers) become cheaper to provide as overall systems, then the number of special-purpose computers will reduce. It is not though a defining requirement to be general purpose. Andy Dingley (talk) 17:13, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
Is the topic "general purpose" then? That's different from the header just above, but okay.
As I see it, the idea behind "general purpose" is that computers are popular because they are complex machines that can be easily modified -- software. While special purpose computerized products exist (in fact, it could be argued that no truly general purpose ones exist), the computer technology they utilize is (nowadays) based on the ability to execute any given instructions. Gone are the days when designing a new product meant designing a new programming language, operating system, and cpu architecture; the computer inside isn't designed for the product, but vice-versa, made easy by the very general purpose nature of modern computers. The computer hardware I'm using to write this could be found in a jet plane, or a factory, or a slaughterhouse.
Now, is that stated clearly in the lede? No. Is it sourced? No. Are these the issues? --A D Monroe III (talk) 23:22, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
The lede continues to be modified for various views on this, yet also seems to get worse for opposing views. I've expanded the lede in this edit to attempt to combine all the concerns stated above, as I understand them. The added wording skirts around the non-programmable or non-general purpose aspects of some early computers, even though those are no longer significant. It also adds a paragraph on of history to highlight these changes to computers. A history summary is needed anyway, per WP:LEAD, since that's a large part of the article. Comments?
(A minor point; this adds several links, many of which also appear later in the body. Some editors are quick to eliminate any and all duplicate links; I'm not. Let's leave this until we see changes to the lede have settled down.)
--A D Monroe III (talk) 15:44, 8 July 2016 (UTC)

Digital link[edit]

please change ((digital)) to ((Digital data|digital))

Yes check.svg Done — Andy W. (talk ·ctb) 21:03, 9 July 2016 (UTC)

Edit request: fix notes:22 (Dead Link)[edit]

The link under notes that is number 22 "Crash! The Story of IT: Zuse" currently listed is a dead link. There is an updated article at [1] where all that needs to be changed is the url it links too. Msearce (talk) 01:34, 14 July 2016 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done. Also changed "replacement of" decimal to "rather than using" decimal since Zuse didn't know of the Babbage decimal machine, but designed his binary one completely independently. --A D Monroe III (talk) 19:32, 14 July 2016 (UTC)