History Mesh

Antikythera mechanism (2nd Century BC)

The Antikythera mechanism is conjectured to be an ancient mechanical computer dedicated to astronomical phenomena. It operates as a complex mechanical “computer” which tracks the cycles of the Solar System.

The remains of the device is displayed in the Bronze Collection of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, accompanied by a reconstruction made and donated to the museum by Derek de Solla Price. Other reconstructions are on display at the American Computer Museum in Bozeman, Montana, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan in New York, and in Kassel, Germany.

Relation to Computing:

The Greeks experimented with mechanical computation, constructing complex astronomical calculators to calculate the positions of the Sun, Moon and planets. Some of their work may have survived via Byzantium to inform Islamic artificers by the late first millennium, although some of the sophistication may well have been lost, as mechanisms of similar complexity did not start to appear in Europe until the middle of the second millennium.

Read more about Antikythera mechanism on Wikipedia.