Math in Computing

Early Counting and Calculating Devices

Why were counting devices developed?

Early counting devices were developed for a logical reason: to allow people to count items in order to trade or to keep track of stock, such as cattle. They also used simple counting devices to keep track of the seasons (mostly for agriculture—in other words, to know when to plant), and for religious reasons, such as marking days for certain feasts. (For more about counting in ancient times, see “History of Mathematics.”)


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