The Evolution of Computer Languages: UX Inspiration from History | by Olesya Vdovenko | October, 2022

Watching this story made me realize how human experience shapes a technical discipline like computer language. How machine-like it sounds, yet it was not intended for machines and was built from a philosophical standpoint. And the creativity that went into manufacturing punch cards produced the first signs of automation.

From the history of technology, I think it’s not discussed as much as it should. How the textile industry was advancing and influencing the creation of computer logic. First, primitive loom It was one of the oldest mechanical inventions. This in itself is quite an achievement.

Picture of a primitive loom.
Source: Usher, “History of Mechanical Inventions” by Abbot Payson, 1883–1965

Weaving from the beginning as seen on a primitive loom is a binary operation, similar to what we have on computers. Therefore, it is not surprising for it to affect computer development.

Starting with Basil Bouchon (1725), Jean-Baptiste Falcon (1728) and Jacques Vauchenson (1740), automation with the help of punch cards began to appear in the loom. This idea was used by Joseph Marie Jacquard in the creation of jacquard machine And this idea went further and became an important part of computing the data.

The Jacquard machine used holes to tell the machine which threads were picked up for knitting the pattern, thus making it possible to reproduce complex patterns relatively quickly. Those machines were the beginning of interchangeable punch cards that instructed a machine to perform an automated task.

Both the Jacquard machine and current Boolean logic involve the use of binary code to represent information, and both can be used to perform complex operations.

After that, several inventions using punch cards appeared, which seem to be inspired by the Jacquard machine. One such sample was the work by Semyon Korsakov.

Korsakovs suggested drawing and use of punch cards.  Usage is described below.
Semen Korsakov – Korsakov, Semen N. Outlining a new way of inquiry through machines to compare ideas – St. Petersburg, 1832

His work samples demonstrate how punch cards can be used to obtain information. Where the drugs and symptoms were listed in Tablet III, selecting the symptoms on the Linear Homoscope (II) and moving it through Table (III) would lead to the drug concerned. Korsakov presented his ideas to the Imperial Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, but his application was rejected by his experts, failing to see the potential for mechanization searches through large stores of information.

During the 1820s, British mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage proposed a ‘analytical Engine’ Which can do mathematical calculations when information is fed using punched cards. Ada Lovelace Writes What Is Supposed first algorithm which can be executed by the machine. While the machine was never actually built during Babbage’s lifetime, it is considered the forerunner of the modern computer.

The Jacquard Machine and the work by Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace served as an inspiration for Herman Hollerith, first tabulation machinesWhich laid the foundation of IBM.

ibm punch card
punch card by ibm

By 2000, punched cards were widely used for data input and storage for specialized data processing equipment.

When Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Made binary system(1703), with no computer in mind, philosophical interest was high. It seems that he is concerned about the creation of a new language, one that becomes simple with only 1’s and 0’s.

Drawing of the combination of unit and zero, and the corresponding regular numbers.  e.g. 110 = 6.
Godfrey-Guillaume Leibnitz. Explanation of Binary Arithmetic, which uses only the characters O and I and comments on its usefulness and what it means to Fohy’s ancient Chinese figures. Memoirs of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Mathematics and Physics of the Royal Academy of Sciences, 1703.

And as Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz himself stated there were long ago motivations for the binary system, he noted in his work picture of eight cova (from about 4000 years ago).

The image shows part of the text that contains Chinese text to Leibnitz
Godfrey-Guillaume Leibnitz. Explanation of Binary Arithmetic, which uses only the characters O and I and comments on its usefulness and what it means to Fohy’s ancient Chinese figures. Memoirs of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Mathematics and Physics of the Royal Academy of Sciences, 1703.

This appears to be a reference to the hexagram used in the I Ching or Book of Changes (end of the 9th century BC).

Diagram of the I Ching hexagram.
A diagram of the I Ching hexagram was sent from Joachim Bouvet to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. Arabic numerals were added by Leibniz.

Showing us once again the huge variety of inspiration that went into creating the tools we now have. And how different experiences of people leaving at different times affect us in the 21st century.

On the other hand is George Boole, the creator of Boolean algebra. Trying to create a mathematical representation of logic (partly because of the very philosophical reason) he created the logic that is used in current computers. It is being speculated that if George Boole and Charles Babbage had met, computing would have made even faster progress. It is certain that Boole knew about Babbage and therefore must have known about the punch card and similar inventions. Although it is difficult to say exactly what Boole used as an inspiration for his work, it seems that many earlier inventions served as an inspiration.

Every invention can be traced back to its old counterpart with its history. And while people of different times certainly had different environments and experiences, there is wisdom that underlies all of that. While preparing this lesson I found it hard to find the original creator of something because there are so many unspecified names and it is hard to find information about the inventor’s environment. But still, I think it’s important to look for the motivation behind the conversation we have now because it not only helps to know the background, but it can get us out of the loop that there is one right answer to everything. happens and there is only a certain way. work done.

This story was originally posted Here,

  1. Usher, A History of Mechanical Inventions by Abbot Payson, 1883–1965
  2. Valery V. Shilov, Sergei A. Silentive. Semen Korsakov’s ‘Machines compare less ides’: the first step towards AI. IFIP International Conference on the History of Computing (HC), May 2016.
  3. IBM website
  4. Godfrey-Guillaume Leibnitz. Explanation of Binary Arithmetic, which uses only the characters O and I and comments on its usefulness and what it means to Fohy’s ancient Chinese figures. Memoirs of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Mathematics and Physics of the Royal Academy of Sciences, 1703. ffads-00104781f
  5. google arts and culture

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