2000 Year Old Computer

Most of us think of computers as relatively new, but recent discoveries reveal that the ancient Greeks had a mechanical computer that could calculate complex astronomical cycles, some as long as 76 years. You can learn all about it next week in a Nova special to be aired on April 3.

Antikythera Mechanism
Photo from Wikipedia.

The mechanism was found with an ancient shipwreck discovered in 1900 by sponge divers near the Greek island of Antikythera. For decades it was the statues and other artwork found with the wreck that were considered its treasures; no one understood what the small, corroded brass device of dials and gears was supposed to do.

Recent analytical techniques and computer modeling have enabled scientists to recreate the mechanism and its functions. A working model has been built, which you can see on the Wired Magazine web site.

You can learn more about this fascinating device at these web sites —

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Updated January 17, 2015.