In a medieval European counting house, a checkered cloth would be placed on a table, and markers moved around on it according to certain rules, as an aid to calculating sums of money.
It was designed to calculate astronomical positions.
The Roman abacus was developed from devices used in Babylonia as early as 2400 BC.
Since then, many other forms of reckoning boards or tables have been invented.
More sophisticated electrical machines did specialized analog calculations in the early 20th century.
The first digital electronic calculating machines were developed during World War II.
This includes simple special purpose devices like microwave ovens and remote controls, factory devices such as industrial robots and computer assisted design, but also in general purpose devices like personal computers and mobile devices such as smartphones.
The earliest counting device was probably a form of tally stick.Peripheral devices allow information to be retrieved from an external source and they enable the result of operations to be saved and retrieved.According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first known use of the word "computer" was in 1613 in a book called The Yong Mans Gleanings by English writer Richard Braithwait: "I haue [sic] read the truest computer of Times, and the best Arithmetician that euer [sic] breathed, and he reduceth thy dayes into a short number." This usage of the term referred to a person who carried out calculations or computations.Later record keeping aids throughout the Fertile Crescent included calculi (clay spheres, cones, etc.) which represented counts of items, probably livestock or grains, sealed in hollow unbaked clay containers.
The abacus was initially used for arithmetic tasks.The ability of computers to follow generalized sets of operations, called programs, enables them to perform an extremely wide range of tasks.