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Topic # 96213 22-Jan-2012 15:31
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I was thinking about how the universe was created.... what was there before the big bang? What caused the big bang and what caused the thing that caused the big bang? After pondering this for a few minutes I realised no one will ever know and that was that.

Now I'm wondering how the first computer program was ever written? Considering you need a computer program to write another computer program, how was the first computer program ever written?

There obviously is a rational explanation to this question but just like my saga with the universe, i cannot come to any logical answer for this either.

Can someone please explain how the first computer program was written?

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  Reply # 571957 22-Jan-2012 16:10
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Bunches of switches and lights or punched into cards that were then loaded into the memory of a computer.




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  Reply # 571967 22-Jan-2012 16:30
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Yip , punch cards

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punched_card

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  Reply # 572262 23-Jan-2012 10:35
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depends on how you define this. the computer itself dates back to the abacus, the ancient greeks supposedly had the first programmed computer using dials, alan turing is populaly credited for that. then there were the first electrical computers made using valves... which evolved into punchcard computers and eventually into what we have today.




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  Reply # 572271 23-Jan-2012 10:56
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My first boss still had huge bunches of wires with little clips on the end - I asked what they were from and he told me how the IBM machines had boards you had to wire - so you programmed it to do something like a sort. Then the program would halt - you would exchange the board for another one you had programmed and resume your program etc.

So punch cards were (I think) at that point just used as say customer records etc.




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  Reply # 572272 23-Jan-2012 10:59
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I was initially going to say that weaving mills were early adopters of primitive programming for weaving patterns. I suppose a player piano or a music box also qualifies.

I suppose you could argue that a 'program' could just be a logic/flow chart which has rules laid out. The human brain being the computer that can follow the rules.

None of these examples are exactly 'computer' programs though.




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  Reply # 572291 23-Jan-2012 11:22
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Dad used to work as a programmer, for BNZ. I remember him saying that they used to set each byte with a row of switches then press the load button, then do the next one. It printed out the program on paper though.

What I wonder though is how they designed the first microprocessor without a computer.

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  Reply # 572310 23-Jan-2012 11:54
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simon14:  Considering you need a computer program to write another computer program


There's your problem.

If you write your program in machine-code (i.e. the native instruction set of the computer you are using) then no compiler/interpreter (or similar program) is needed. Just enter the code and off you go....

Of course much easier said than done :) 

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  Reply # 572472 23-Jan-2012 17:56
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What about Ada Lovelace and her work with Charles Babages Analytical engine?




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  Reply # 572556 23-Jan-2012 22:52
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Skolink: What I wonder though is how they designed the first microprocessor without a computer.


They would have been laid out by hand.  That was how early Integrated Chips (ICs) were created. 

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  Reply # 572584 24-Jan-2012 02:25
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At the time when semiconductor chips came out they were designed to replace the ICs (integrated circuits) which were mainly TTL (transistor-transitor logic) ie transistors laid out on boards.




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  Reply # 572630 24-Jan-2012 09:57
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Hammerer: At the time when semiconductor chips came out they were designed to replace the ICs (integrated circuits) which were mainly TTL (transistor-transitor logic) ie transistors laid out on boards.


Do you mean processor or microprocessor chips perhaps?Wink

A transistor, or even a diode, is a type of semiconductor.




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  Reply # 573135 25-Jan-2012 12:16
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Wasn't it cogs and sprokets in 1812, Charles Babbage and his Difference engine
And the programming involved stacking gear ratios.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbG8jUYJonM


Electronic computers, had there programs hard wired.

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  Reply # 573144 25-Jan-2012 12:42
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floydbloke:
Hammerer: At the time when semiconductor chips came out they were designed to replace the ICs (integrated circuits) which were mainly TTL (transistor-transitor logic) ie transistors laid out on boards.


Do you mean processor or microprocessor chips perhaps?Wink

A transistor, or even a diode, is a type of semiconductor.


I could have made it clearer but I was specific.

Integrated circuits (ICs) are almost always packaged as chips. The whole point of calling them 'integrated' was that they weren't assembled from many discrete devices, ie individual transistors.

I specifically said 'semiconductor chip' (or microchip) because they are not all processors/microprocessors. Obvious examples are semiconductor memory chips e.g RAM, EPROM.




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  Reply # 573145 25-Jan-2012 12:48
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hellonearthisman: Wasn't it cogs and sprokets in 1812, Charles Babbage and his Difference engine
And the programming involved stacking gear ratios.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbG8jUYJonM


Electronic computers, had there programs hard wired.


Then we have the programmable loom a century earlier.




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