Arts and Culture

The Amazing Applications of Computer Science Pt1

The Amazing Applications of Computer Science Part I

By: Paulo Mayorga

(Picture of what a code looks like in a computer)

Computer science and engineering is indirectly influencing our day to day life.  You’ve probably noticed or heard about the rise of computer science and engineering in both career interests, jobs, and class curriculum all over the world. What once seemed as a distant career and very complex, now seems to be getting the most attention as a potential career study in college, along with law, medicine, and other types of engineering.  The purpose of this series is to show interesting facts and examples of computer science throughout history, and to include details that many people do not know about.

Female Textile Workers & Apollo 11

The Apollo 11 missions to the moon have an interesting background which many might not be aware of, and it involves the way coding worked and who helped make it happen. The early process was complicated.

Luke Talley, a retired NASA IBM engineer who was in charge of the computer that guided the Saturn V rocket in the Apollo 11 missions to the moon explained the process in the video, “The ACTUAL Computer from the Saturn V Rocket” by Linus Tech Tips. In the video. He talked about how complicated the process was in actually building the computer and making sure it would take inputs and display the outputs.

The software of the AGC (Apollo Guidance Computer) uses a core rope memory, which is a special read-only memory. This is created by weaving wires through and around magnetic cores. In this way, a small amount of reading/write core memory is available.

Talley explains that for the wiring of the core rope memory, female textile workers had to manually connect the weaving wires by hand. This is very impressive considering the fact that the wires are very small, which would make the job of connecting the wires harder. Furthermore, it also shows the important background role women had in space exploration. Though they weren’t the part of the Apollo 11 crew, they made the computer that controlled the craft possible.

This demonstrates the huge difference in the coding of computers back then and now, as back then every single wire and connector for true-false statements had to be done manually, while nowadays one only writes code in a computer program and it instantly creates the desired input-output procedure.

 

(Picture of the Saturn V computer)

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