Semi-Automatic Computing

  • Mark PriestleyEmail author
Part of the History of Computing book series (HC)


The previous chapter described Babbage’s unsuccessful attempts to design and build mechanical calculating engines. The development of automatic computing proceeded in a rather gradual and ad hoc manner during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and this chapter describes some of the major features of this development. To begin with, this development was driven by the increasing volumes of data processing work required by government bureaucracies and large commercial organizations, and the chapter describes Herman Hollerith’s use of punched cards and tabulating machines, starting with the 1890 census in the United States. Later uses of this technology for scientific computing, particular by Leslie Comrie, are also described.


Railroad Company Government Bureaucracy Punch Card Automatic Computing Commercial World 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LondonUK

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