© 2012

A Brief History of Computing


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 1-22
  3. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 23-34
  4. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 35-52
  5. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 53-62
  6. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 63-69
  7. IBM
    Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 71-84
  8. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 85-100
  9. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 101-119
  10. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 121-144
  11. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 145-170
  12. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 171-191
  13. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 193-207
  14. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 209-218
  15. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 219-228
  16. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 229-252
  17. Back Matter
    Pages 253-264

About this book


The history of computing has its origins at the outset of civilization, and the need for increasingly sophisticated calculations has grown as towns and communities evolved.

This lively and fascinating text traces the key developments in computation – from 3000 B.C. to the present day – in an easy-to-follow and concise manner. Providing a comprehensive introduction to the most significant events and concepts in the history of computing, the book embarks upon a journey from ancient Egypt to modern times; taking in mechanical calculators, early digital computers, the first personal computers and 3G mobile phones, among other topics. This expanded and revised new edition also examines the evolution of programming languages and the history of software engineering, in addition to such revolutions in computing as the invention of the World Wide Web.

Topics and features:

  • Ideal for self-study, offering many pedagogical features such as chapter-opening key topics, chapter introductions and summaries, exercises, and a glossary
  • Presents detailed information on major figures in computing, such as Boole, Babbage, Shannon, Turing, Zuse and Von Neumann
  • Reviews the history of software engineering and of programming languages, including syntax and semantics
  • Discusses the progress of artificial intelligence
  • Examines the impact on society of the introduction of the personal computer, the World Wide Web, and the development of mobile phone technology
  • Follows the evolution of a number of major technology companies, including IBM, Microsoft and Apple

This clearly written and broad-ranging text both gives the reader a flavour of the history and stimulates further study in the subject. As such, it will be of great benefit to students of computer science, while also capturing the interest of the more casual reader.

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Mallow, Co. CorkIreland

About the authors

Dr. Gerard O’Regan is a CMMI software process improvement consultant at SQC Consulting, and a visiting lecturer at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Malaysia. He is the author of the Springer titles Introduction to Software Process Improvement, Mathematical Approaches to Software Quality and A Practical Approach to Software Quality.

Bibliographic information


From the reviews of the second edition:

“The book under review … provides a succint (about 250 pages) reference book to computing topics (ranging from history to people to basic concepts). … In its succint presentation the book has several strengths: It deals with pioneers (like Zuse) and historical issues … . The book aims at the general reader or student with some general mathematical background knowledge and some experience with computers who needs a short offline encyclopedia.” (Manuel Bremer, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1244, 2012)