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Since real numbers can be represented as distances or intervals on a line, the slide rule was invented in the 1620s, shortly after Napier's work, to allow multiplication and division operations to be carried out significantly faster than was previously possible.Edmund Gunter built a calculating device with a single logarithmic scale at the University of Oxford.Numbers could also be represented in the form of digits, automatically manipulated by a mechanical mechanism.
Later record keeping aids throughout the Fertile Crescent included calculi (clay spheres, cones, etc.) which represented counts of items, probably livestock or grains, sealed in hollow unbaked clay containers. In a medieval European counting house, a checkered cloth would be placed on a table, and markers moved around on it according to certain rules, as an aid to calculating sums of money.
Several analog computers were constructed in ancient and medieval times to perform astronomical calculations. 1050–771 BC) from ancient China, and the astrolabe and Antikythera mechanism from the Hellenistic world (c. Other early mechanical devices used to perform one or another type of calculations include the planisphere and other mechanical computing devices invented by Abu Rayhan al-Biruni (c.
His device greatly simplified arithmetic calculations, including multiplication and division.
William Oughtred greatly improved this in 1630 with his circular slide rule.
The castle clock, a hydropowered mechanical astronomical clock invented by Ismail al-Jazari in 1206, was the first programmable analog computer.
Ramon Llull invented the Lullian Circle: a notional machine for calculating answers to philosophical questions (in this case, to do with Christianity) via logical combinatorics.
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.
Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz invented the stepped reckoner and his famous stepped drum mechanism around 1672.
He attempted to create a machine that could be used not only for addition and subtraction but would utilise a moveable carriage to enable long multiplication and division.