Milestone-Proposal talk:The Abacus
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|Thread title||Replies||Last modified|
|Additional source for ancient Greek and Roman history of the abacus||2||12:21, 8 March 2014|
|Approval of the Proposal||3||23:15, 7 March 2014|
Additional materials on abacus history, addressing its Ancient Greek, and Roman origins:
Netz, Reviel (2002). Counter Culture: Towards a History of Greek Numeracy. History of Science, vol. 40, p.321-352. http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/2002HisSc..40..321N (page 325 describes the Ancient Greek use of the abacus, including a third-century B.C. abacus found in Cyprus)
Ryerson, “A Brief History of the Abacus” http://www.ee.ryerson.ca/~elf/abacus/history.html (includes image and description of the Salamis Tablet dating from 300 BC.)
Salamis Tablet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salamis_Tablet
Stephenson, Steve, “Ancient Computers” page on the IEEE Global History Network http://www.ieeeghn.org/wiki/index.php/Ancient_Computers (Addresses the possibility that the abacus traveled from Rome to China via trade on the Silk Road)
Stephenson, Steve, “The Roman Hand Abacus” http://www.ee.ryerson.ca/~elf/abacus/roman-hand-abacus.html
Is there a strong enough connection between the milestone and the location of the plaque?
I like the notion of recognizing the abacus as computing milestone. The date situation seems (quite understandably) to be a bit confused. I know I can't help determine an appropriate date but I hope some of our historians can get together and decide what an appropriate date might be. If a date is necessary at all.
I took the liberty of rearranging the citation a bit and show here both the original and the version I propose.
The abacus, which was already used in China by 570 C.E. the latest according to historical records, is the first calculating mechanism known to us. A typical abacus is constructed as a bamboo frame with beads sliding on rods. An abacus helps people keep the track of numbers as they calculate, and its invention was the first step towards to the design of automatic calculators.
The abacus was the first known calculating mechanism. According to historical records, it was used in China by at least 570 C.E.. A typical abacus is constructed as a bamboo frame with beads sliding on rods. An abacus helps people keep track of numbers as they calculate, and its invention was the first step toward the design of automatic calculators.
Just a suggestion.
I concur with Lyle's comments and much appreciate the further comments below on the history of the abacus as an IEEE Milestone Worthy achievement as we construct a trail--with numerous branches--of computing milestones. I have been struck by the trail of computing artifacts dating back many millennia that are on display in the Computer Museum in Mountain View, California (adjacent to San Jose). In particular, there are the counting rods also of millennia ago. (See https://www.google.com/#q=counting+sticks.)