Sunday, 13 May 2012

A 2,200 year-old computer

I first read about this object over 35 years ago, in the days when no-one knew what it was, having been pulled from the Mediterranean back in 1900. Even 35 years ago, people were wondering whether the object (showing advanced gearing) was some form of computer.

And now (having used advanced x-ray equipment and modern computers to solve the problem, impossible 35 years ago), here is the remarkable answer. 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6191462.stm

It was probably first designed and made by Archimedes, and derivatives appeared during the rise of Islam. Eventually the design made its way back to Europe and there is an unusual outdoor clock at Hampton Court that employs some of the gearing principles used in Archimedes original work.

Enjoy, it's a fascinating subject. Oh, and in that book I read 35 years ago, it was stated that objects thought to be electrical batteries were also found, also over 2,000 years old. I wonder what has happened to the investigation into those?

Greece was an advanced technology nation, not just a home to philosophers - perhaps it needs to re-find itself!!


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