The history of computing hardware covers the developments from early simple devices to aid calculation to modern day computers. Before the 20th century, most calculations were done by humans. Early mechanical tools to help humans with digital calculations, like the abacus, were referred to as calculating machines or calculators (and other proprietary names). The machine operator was called the computer.The first aids to computation were purely mechanical devices which required the operator to set up the initial values of an elementary arithmetic operation, then manipulate the device to obtain the result.
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