Figures, words and machines: The history of computation

Thomas-Arithmomètre, around 1850
Thomas-Arithmomètre, around 1850

Arithmetic became indispensable for business and management some 5,000 years ago with the flourishing of the first civilisations. But this cultural technique was mastered by very few people, administrators, merchants and scholars among them.
Numbers, number words and written number symbols were required before proper calculating could begin. Number systems which permitted simple calculations were developed over time in a long-drawn-out process.
The Arithmetic tour explains the evolutionary process from counting tools all the way to high-performance computers.

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