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}} The history of computing hardware covers the developments from early simple devices to aid calculation to modern day computers.

Before the 20th century, most calculations were done by humans. Early mechanical tools to help humans with digital calculations were called "calculating machines", by proprietary names, or even as they are now, calculators. The machine operator was called the computer.

The first aids to computation were purely mechanical devices which required the operator to set up the initial values of an elementary arithmetic operation, then manipulate the device to obtain the result. Later, computers represented numbers in a continuous form, for instance distance along a scale, rotation of a shaft, or a voltage. Numbers could also be represented in the form of digits, automatically manipulated by a mechanical mechanism. Although this approach generally required more complex mechanisms, it greatly increased the precision of results. A series of breakthroughs, such as miniaturized transistor computers, and the integrated circuit, caused digital computers to largely replace analog computers. The cost of computers gradually became so low that personal computers, and then mobile computers, (smartphones, and tablets) became ubiquitous.


History of computing hardware sections
Intro  Early devices  First general-purpose computing device  Analog computers  Advent of the digital computer  The stored-program computer  Early computer characteristics  Transistor computers  The integrated circuit  Post-1960 (integrated circuit based)  Future  See also  Notes  References  Further reading  External links  

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