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Programming

This article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of two out of many different programming styles, structured and object-oriented programming.

Today, computers use many sorts of programming languages. A programming language is a set of instructions that instruct the central processing unit (CPU) inside a computer to accomplish and perform a specifically defined task.…

BASIC’s popularity really took off in the 1970s and 1980s, when home computers first became available. Most machines came with a version of BASIC, which became many people’s introduction to programming. The syntax of the language was straightforward and easy to learn, and allowed people to write software to help them in their businesses, or as a hobby.…

In 1945, computers filled entire rooms and produced a lot of heat that attracted bugs, which crawled inside the machines and caused short circuits. On 9 September 1945, American computer scientist Grace Hopper (1906–1992) found that a moth had caused a malfunction in the Harvard Mark II computer, and she taped the moth into the computer’s log book.…

An influential mathematician, George Boole (1815–1864) didn’t have much access to formal education and was mostly self-taught. He invented Boolean logic as a systematic, mathematical approach to ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle’s theory of categorical logic – rules used to determine if a statement is true or false.…

In 1928, American company IBM redesigned the punch card to have 80 columns of 12 potential holes. A light shone on each card as it was fed into the computer. If there was no hole, the light was blocked and the machine read in a 0.…

A table showing Decimal, Hexadecimal and Binary digits

Most people find binary numbers difficult to work with. The hexadecimal system is based on multiples of 16 and uses the digits 0 to 9 followed by the letters A to F. A 24-bit binary number defining a colour can be written as six hexadecimal digits, making life easier for
programmers.…

Braille, developed by French inventor Louis Braille (1809–1852), is a famous example of binary code. It allows blind people to read by converting text into a pattern of raised dots embossed on paper. Each character is represented by a group of six dots, which can have the binary values of “raised” or “not raised”.…

Colossus, built in 1943, was a computer that had a fixed function: to break coded messages. The same was true of the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer), developed around the same time.
Changing the program of either of these computers involved rewiring the machine and physically pulling switches.…