Issue No. 01 - January/February (1984 vol. 4)
To commemorate the one-hundredth year of the IEEE, we present this review of the history of preelectronic calculation. Probably few engineers are aware of the story Derek Price tells here, and so it may be appropriate-especially in this centennial yearto consider the origins of our profession. Computer engineers, as it turns out, have intellectual forebears stretching back to furthest antiquity. In a distant mirror, we see reflections of ourselves. Though we work in metal, oxide, and semiconductor rather than stone, wood, and bronze, the task remains fundamentally the same-science and technique, mind and hand, have joined forces since the earliest times to build instruments for counting and measuring. Consider this: one day 80 years before the birth of Christ a group of men-today we would call them a design team-met to plan and build a machine that would enable its users to accurately predict celestial motions. Like their distant successors, before they were done they had solved problems-in both elegant and inelegant ways-and produced a working model.
"1884-1984: A Century of Electrical Progress," in IEEE Micro, vol. 4, no. , pp. 23, 1984.