A complete working model has recently been completed of the Antikythera Mechanism, which many say was the first ever computer. The name comes from the Greek island near which it was found - in a shipwreck - over 100 years ago.
The mechanism is a geared device consisting of 30 gears in a highly complex arrangement and stands witness to the extraordinary mathematical and engineering capabilities of the Ancient Greeks. It is thought to date from between 150 and 100 BC and nothing as complex is known for the next thousand years.
The level of engineering in the mechanism is astonishing by any standards. There`are 3 main dials, one on the front, and two on the back. It is now understood to be dedicated to astronomical phenomena and operates as a complex mechanical "computer" which tracks the cycles of the Solar System. One of the dials on the back is even dedicated to the four-year cycle of the Olympiad Games!
Watch this short clip where museum curator Michael Wright describes how it works. It's quite fascinating! I'm always amazed at the brilliance of the minds in Ancient Greece!
Posted On Thursday, 18 December 2008 at at 00:59 by symposio