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Using Computation to Decode the First Known Computer
July 2011 (vol. 44 no. 7)
pp. 32-39
Michael Edmunds, Cardiff University
Tony Freeth, Antikythera Mechanism Research Project
Researchers have used many different kinds of software to analyze the structure and astronomical functions of the Antikythera mechanism's surviving fragments. This ancient Greek calculator contains 30 gear wheels and has an extraordinarily sophisticated mechanical design.

1. T. Freeth et al., "Decoding the Ancient Greek Astronomical Calculator Known as the Antikythera Mechanism," Nature, vol. 444, 2006, pp. 587-591.
2. T. Freeth et al., "Calendars with Olympiad Display and Eclipse Prediction on the Antikythera Mechanism," Nature, vol. 454, 2008, pp. 614-617.
3. D. de Solla Price, "Gears from the Greeks. The Antikythera Mechanism—A Calendar Computer from ca. 80 BC," Trans. Am. Philosophical Soc., vol. 64, part 7, 1974; reprinted as Science History Publications, 1975.
4. T. Freeth, "Decoding an Ancient Computer," Scientific Am., vol. 301, 2009, pp. 732-393.
5. M.T. Wright, "Epicyclic Gearing and the Antikythera Mechanism, Part 1," Antiquarian Horology, vol. 27, no. 3, 2003; www.antikythera-mechanism.gr/node196.
6. M.T. Wright, "Epicyclic Gearing and the Antikythera Mechanism, Part II," Antiquarian Horology, vol. 29, no. 2, 2005; www.antikythera-mechanism.gr/node197.
7. M.T. Wright, "Counting Months and Years: The Upper Back Dial of the Antikythera Mechanism," Bull. Scientific Instrument Soc., no. 87, 2005, pp. 8-13.
8. M.G. Edmunds, "An Initial Assessment of the Accuracy of the Gear Trains in the Antikythera Mechanism," J. History of Astronomy, vol. 42, part 3, 2011, pp. 307-320.
9. A.G. Drachmann, The Mechanical Technology of Greek and Roman Antiquity, Hafner Publishing, 1963.
10. M. Anastasiou et al., "Calculating the Astronomical Events Inscribed on the Antikythera Mechanism," submitted to J. History of Astronomy, 2011.

Index Terms:
Computational archaeology, Antikythera mechanism, History of computing, History of technology, History of astronomy, Computed tomography
Citation:
Michael Edmunds, Tony Freeth, "Using Computation to Decode the First Known Computer," Computer, vol. 44, no. 7, pp. 32-39, July 2011, doi:10.1109/MC.2011.134
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