Talk:History of computer science

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Ironeyes16 (talkcontribs) 17:39, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Conceptual Problems[edit]

I think there's serious conceptual confusion in this article, and it arises from the very term this article wishes to cover: computer science. A disciplinary history is confused with a conceptual history and technological history.

Strictly speaking, and contrary to what the beginning of this page suggests, the history of computer science is quite short. There was no distinct discipline computer science before the birth of the stored-program paradigm. I'd be happy to see if someone can point out a pre-1900s source for discussions of whether computer science or computing studies of any kind should form a new academic discipline. Even the early computing pioneers such as Vannevar Bush considered themselves to be engineers. Only after the birth of the stored-program paradigm emerged serious discussions about a distinct discipline of computer science.

To me it seems strange to conflate the history of computing machinery, some history of computational concepts, and some history of mathematics under the term history of computer science. Insofar as the term computer science refers to the academic discipline, then this article should be an article about the history of an academic discipline. And when we're talking about an interdisciplinary science, if we include the roots of all the constituents, we're facing a pick'n'mix collection of historical strands.

It is true that there are pre-1900s conceptual developments that have a central place in today's computer science. But it is strange to say that the history of concepts such as logarithm, numeral systems, or boolean algebra would be a part of the disciplinary history of computer science. Those things properly belong to the history of computing, but not to the history of the academic discipline computer science. I'd like to see the article on the history of computer science to not be confused with articles on the history of computing or the history of computational concepts. --Matti 07:09, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Doesn't anyone think that this is a pretty serious problem? Professional historians of computing (take Mike Mahoney, for instance) make it clear that history of computer science only starts around the '40s/'50s. 130.234.189.54 (talk) 12:44, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

I agree, and I've tagged it as such. If no-one disagrees within a couple of weeks, I'll just delete it.--greenrd (talk) 16:33, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

The article is still on-line. It will take an excessive amount of work to clean it up. Better encourage someone to start over fresh. A minor error is the use of the Term `Difference Engine' as a means of digital number representation. I don't know what the term is for the wheels that were used. Spliting computer Science and Computing equipment would be a good first step, with an introduction of the scope of the articles. I believe the term was first used by George Forsythe when starting to establish a Computer Science department at Stanford University out of the Computational division of its Mathematics department. GioCM (talk) 18:11, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

Bibliography[edit]

This article is lacking a basic bibliography. It should include not only technical texts but also works from a social studies of science perspective.

Proof of Analytical Engine being Turing-complete needs provided for claim saying Babbage's Analytical Engine is understood to be Turing-complete. It should not be said if it is not proven. I myself have been looking for an actual paper which suggests it was. I only find articles which assert it blindly following a very non-rigid purely informal approach. Should this concept even be affiliated with the Analytical machine since it doesn't quite follow the well defined properties necessary to define such? PageWizard (talk) 01:41, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

06/2006

Computational performance[edit]

In the early years section, it makes more sense to emphasize how people performed computations rather than the tools in use. To emphasize the computation is computing, and to emphasize the tools, like the abacus, is some other hardware subject. To point out the abacus is okay, but to emphasize it as an early "computer science" based machine doesn't fit with computer science since it is really a memory tool (like a hardware memory device). — Dzonatas 11:57, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

So where does it all start then? Sbwoodside 23:24, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
The work of human computers was controlled by sophisicated systems that divided up the work among them and allowed for rigorous error checking. Does anyone know if and how the math involved in human computing influenced modern computer science? --Jonovision 08:10, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
The use of the abacus is considered somewhat of a science in itself, despite it being more of a mental tool than a memory one. I have learnt to use one before and it isn't as simple as it looks. Since the abacus is also considered an early, simplistic computer (the user providing himself as the code in running it), the totality of the abacus is a computer science, albeit not clearly defined. This is to be expected of early systems when CS was not clearly defined itself. -- Evanx 20:50, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

To do[edit]

Modern computer science[edit]

Judging from the content of Philip Greenspun's list [2], it looks like the debate over the definition of CS is bound to spill over into this article. His list focuses mainly on inventions, and is more appropriate for an article on the history of computers in general. If we are going to cover the modern science of computers, we should start with people like Shannon, von Neumann, and Cook. --Jonovision 08:29, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

I apologise that the dispute may spill over into this article since I have asked that certain amendments be taken up here instead. I would appreciate inputs from wikipedians watching this article to participate in the definition of CS as there are externalities to the effects of editing to either article. -- Evanx 20:53, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Minor editing suggestions[edit]

First of all, really really fantastic work on the article so far. Your work will go a long way to help clear up the mess in the main Computer Science article.

I think some clarification is needed in the way Leibniz's, Boole's, and Godel's work is connected to modern computer science. Uninitiated readers may get the idea that these mathematicians were working towards the theory of computation, when in fact the importance of their ideas was only recognized in modern times. (The article on Boole has a great description of how his work influenced Shannon, btw) --Jonovision 08:56, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Hmm... I can see what you're saying ... I didn't mean to imply that these people were computer scientists... it could say that they were mathematicians whose work influenced computer science eventually. I wouldn't say anyone was a "computer scientist" until Babbage at the earliest or maybe Turing. Sbwoodside 18:05, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

We could say, in short, that the discipline, not the science before, was started based on the reason to compute and that mathematics was heavily tied into the methods taught by the discipline at its start. If we seperate the timeline of the science and the timeline of the discipline, I would agree that the discipline has a strong mathematical foundation. This reflects on the reason why the importance of their ideas (Leibniz's, Boole's, and Godel's, and others) are recognized more so in modern times. One thing I have noticed that also causes confusion is the emphasis of the "electronics" involved with computer science; when, in fact, electronics are not the only way to compute or to make a computer, as Turing originally demonstrated other forms of computability. — Dzonatas 11:23, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree with the clarification of the relationship math has with CS and of CS's evolution/birth. Dzonatas brought up a good point about electronics. Computer engineering has more to do with that than CS, although it isn't as pronounced widespread as such. -- Evanx 20:56, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Is 'difference engine' appropriate in 'Digital machinery used difference engines or relays before the invention of faster memory devices'? Surely not!!!

A question[edit]

I have a question, can anyone respond me? It is written, "the grammarian Pāṇini formulated the grammar of Sanskrit in 3959 rules ... his grammar had the computing power equivalent to a Turing machine". How can I justify that his grammar had the computing power equivalent to a Turing machine? No reference is given here. Can you kindly provide the reference or the proof of the statement? -- Sukanta

Credit for Al Uqlidisi[edit]

I think Al Uqlidisi - An Arab mathematician deserved to get honoured for his acheivement create a very effective number notation system like we used until today ( called arabic numeral ), from this effective numbering system people can do complex computing until computer. hindu numeric notation is different with Arabic numeric notation, hindu numeric must used a dashboard to compute, so not effective. and offcourse to create computer need algebra and Algorithm too. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Shatree (talkcontribs) 06:12, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Missing text in 'Early history'[edit]

Hi there, I noticed that the first sentence in the section 'Early history' is mutilated - but I'm not experienced enough to find the last unharmed version of this section. If somebody can repair it - that would be great. If you teach me how to do it - I will do it myself next time :-) Netzwerkerin (talk) 16:49, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

I tried to repair the missing text. Curiously, there is no obvious edit of this section, but after a bot repair with over 50 errors, the first paragraphs of the section 'Early History' had simply vanished. I tried to copy by hand everything of the last edit. If there is a better way to do that, let me know.Netzwerkerin (talk) 20:49, 25 February 2012 (UTC)


Degree in caclulus[edit]

"Most of these computers were women, and they were known to have a degree in calculus." This is a strange sentence. It is certainly the case that in the World Wars a large number of women were working as "computers", but I've not seen it said for other periods. Moreover it would be good to have something more solid like "80%" if it is the case. As for a "degree in calculus" I don't know that there is such a thing, and if so whether it would help one to be a "computer". I have asked for citations, but it seems at first blush that it is misinterpreting some source somewhere. All the best, Rich Farmbrough, 22:04, 8 April 2014 (UTC).

Non-neutral language in certain subsections[edit]

Specifically, the use of the word "oppressed" in the second paragraph of the "Women in Computer Science during WWII" subsection, which is a matter of opinion, not fact. Perhaps they were treated poorly as employees, but to call this "oppression" is quite a stretch. The entire second paragraph of this subsection ought to be looked over and is not written neutrally (consider the sentence: "women shouldered the brunt of the computational work with little of the credit"), but the use of "oppressed" is most alarming. The subsection on Grace Murray Hopper contains instances of the word "brilliant" -- mentioned explicitly in this page as a word to avoid. Certain sections of this part seem to intent on promoting Hopper; this kind of promotion is not found in the Turing or Neumann subsections of the same page, and those sections do not include puffery like the word "brilliant." Suggest edits to fix these neutrality issues. 68.40.195.233 (talk) 23:04, 24 April 2015 (UTC)Anonymous

Those sections came in from a student editor, probably a course assignment to improve a Wikipedia article. I've removed them for other reasons as I explained on the editor's talk page. StarryGrandma (talk) 04:39, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on History of computer science. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

YesY An editor has reviewed this edit and fixed any errors that were found.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 19:46, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on History of computer science. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

YesY An editor has reviewed this edit and fixed any errors that were found.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 02:07, 5 November 2017 (UTC)

Works. (There are PDF versions still online, e.g. here, but I couldn't find an HTML version.) Guy Harris (talk) 07:57, 5 November 2017 (UTC)