Today, it is incredible to consider that in 1969 men landed on the moon using a computer with a 32-kilobyte memory, that was only programmable by the use of punch cards. In 1973, Astronaut Alan Shepherd participated in the first computer "hack" while orbiting the moon in his landing vehicle, as two programmers back on Earth attempted to "hack" into the duplicate computer, to find a way for Shepherd to convince his computer that a catastrophe requiring a mission abort was not happening; the successful hack took 45 minutes to accomplish, and Shepherd went on to hit his golf ball on the moon. Today, the average computer sitting on the desk of a suburban home office has more computing power than the entire U.S. space program that put humans on another world (Rheingold, 2000, p. 4).
Computer science has affected the human condition in many radical ways. Throughout its history, its developers have striven to make calculation and computation easier, as well as to offer new means by which the other sciences can be advanced. Modern massively-paralleled supercomputers help scientists with previously unfeasible problems such as fluid dynamics, complex function convergence, finite element analysis and realtime weather dynamics. Likewise, our daily lives are increasingly affected by computers, not only alleviating us from menial
tasks but making it possible for us to accomplish more (Rheingold, 2000, p. 7).
The personal computer (PC) has revolutionized business and personal activities and even the way people talk and think; however, its development has been less of a revolution than an evolution and convergence of three critical elements thought, hardware, and software.
Throughout the history of science, many new areas of activity and knowledge have developed and branched out into distinct flows of human thought. However, the history of computer science has evolved in a strange, almost backward path compared to other scienc...