If you search for definitions of the word “computer” from different eras, you’ll see how we have defined it has changed over time. Today, computer use as we know it is so prevalent that many cannot imagine life without them. So who invented the first real computer?
There are more than a dozen contenders to consider, all designers of unique, remarkable machines, from British mathematician Charles Babbage’s analytical engine to American physicist John Mauchly and engineer Presper Eckert’s ENIAC, the first all-electronic computer controlled by a program. With facts and timelines clouded by intrigue, controversy and contradiction, debate has raged in courtrooms and classrooms for decades. The answer of “who invented the computer” may surprise your students: