Do you compute?

The journey from analog calculators to our days’ super computer is a story of ever changing technology and usage.  Calculating power and computers play an increasingly pivotal role in our working life and have also conquered our private spheres and affected our social behavior. 

The idea behind any calculator, mechanical or digital, is that it uses conditional clauses – algorithms. The technology to store programs and data in computers was developed after the 2nd World War.

In this exhibition you can see and explore examples of this development – from early mechanical calculators to digital computers from the 1980s all used – one even designed and built – at DTU. 

The world's first hand-held calculator

The Austrian inventor Curt Herzstark began working on the world’s first hand-held calculator in the 1930s. Because of his Jewish background Herzstark was deported to Buchenwald concentration camp in 1943. He was urged to keep on working on the hand-held calculator because of its utility for officers in the field. In return Herzstark received a lenient treatment. Both Herzstark and his family survived the war. After the war the Prince of Liechtenstein bought the design and the calculator was produced until 1972, when the electronic calculator forced it from the market. 

SDK-51 System Design Kit computer in a plywood casing. From the collection Electro Physics DTH. The SDK- 51/ MCS-51 was released by Intel in 1980