Mechanical Aids to Computation and the Development of Algorithms
The prototype calculators of the late seventeenth century demonstrated the feasibility of performing lengthy calculations by mechanical methods. Ultimately this demonstration would result in the construction of the modern computer in the form that is common today. We can at this point, however, note a number of elements – both conceptual and concrete – that are missing from the devices considered previously.
- There is no concept of `program’, so that in order to repeat a calculation the same steps must again be performed by hand and separately instantiated for differing input data.