Questions tagged [computers]

For question related to computers (including both analog and digital and both mechanical and electronic), calculators and any machines used for computation.

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When did computer pioneers realize that some problems are intrinsically hard?

In my theory computation class, I was told that early computer pioneers didn't realize that some problems are intrinsically hard—what we now call NP-hard problems. Instead, it took a while to realize ...
vy32's user avatar
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6 votes
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What was worldwide supply of disk storage in 1969?

I'd prefer a year-by-year graph, something like (not necessarily the "demand", just "supply")... ...
John Forkosh's user avatar
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Was there an intentional purge of all audio recordings of Alan Turing?

The YouTube video Alan Turing's lost radio broadcast rerecorded contains a re-enactment of Alan Turing's lecture broadcast by the BBC. In the introduction, the narrator (James Grimes, also of the ...
uhoh's user avatar
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5 votes
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Are there other articles by Ada Lovelace than translation of Menabrea's notes on Analytical Engine?

Ada Lovelace is well known as an translator of Luigi's Menabrea article on Babbage's Analytical engine. She also added notes to the translation which are in the end longer than the translation itself. ...
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von Neumann vignette on early computer usage

I'm looking for a vignette about von Neumann. My recollection is as follows but my google-fu is not bringing up anything. von Neumann, having prodigious mathematical capacity even of the most mundane ...
Rusi's user avatar
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Has Turing's invention of Turing machines contributed to the development of real computers?

Has Turing's invention of Turing machines contributed to the development of real computers, which resulted in the personal computers we currently use? I often saw it mentioned that this is an ...
user51244's user avatar
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Is it true that Stephen Hawking got the computer with his wheelchair by coincidence?

In the recent movie about Stephen Hawking it is displayed that it is a coincidence that he got a computer with his wheelchair: Some friend was a computer engineer and installed the computer for him. ...
Niklas Rosencrantz's user avatar
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When did William (Bill) Burke, who discovered the first actual bug, live and die?

Grace Hopper is frequently credited with finding the first actual bug. In fact, she just popularized the story of how William (Bill) Burke found the bug in the Mark II computer and documented it. I'...
vy32's user avatar
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Bit as eighth of dollar vs Shannon's Binary Digit? does not mention the common usage of bit being an eighth of a dollar -- surely Shannon was inspired by this? This question was asked in 2019 in English ...
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Before the Colossus and the ENIAC, did ever an electronic calculator exist?

I've done some searching on the internet, and I found that an electronic analog computer was built in 1942 in Germany, during World War II. But, before the first electronic computer, weren't there ...
ilich qynn's user avatar
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Finding sources for "computers will become so powerful that special functions will become obsolete" as a zeitgeist

In Why are special functions special [Physics Today 54, 11 (2007); eprint], Michael Berry makes the following observations: This continuing and indeed increasing reliance on special functions is a ...
Emilio Pisanty's user avatar
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How many computers are there?

There are about 7.13 billion humans alive today. When installing Java, it says that 3 billion devices run Java. The question is, out of how many? How many computing devices that have enough ...
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