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Abacus History - Idea That Changed The Way We Think

The oldest ancestor of the modern calculator and computer

Abacus History

Today, abacuses are regularly developed as a bamboo frame with beads sliding on wires, but originally they were beans or stones moved in grooves in sand or on tablets of wood, stone, or metal. The abacus was in use centuries before the adoption of the written modern numeral system and is continues to be wide employed by merchants, traders, and clerks in Asia, Africa, and elsewhere.First developed by the Sumerians in ancient Mesopotamia in 2500BCE, an abacus is a device used for counting and making an arithmetical calculation.The etymology of the term “abacus”-Which comes from Semitic languages in which the noun abaq means “dust”-has given rise to the theory that the original abacuses were flat boards covered with sand, on which numbers could be written and the erased.

From its ancient origins, the abacus eventually spread to Greece: a marble tablet,5 feet (150cm) long and 2 feet 6 inches (75cm) wide, from the Greek island of Salamis, made in around 300BCE, is the oldest counting board that has so far been discovered.The abacus then reached Rome and China.Over time, it developed from a shallow sandbox into it’s now familiar

“Learning how to use the abacus can help to improve concentration [and] memory”
Paul Green, How to use a Chines Abacus (2007)

From: a frame across which are stretched several wires, each with a number of boards that can be slid from end to end of each wire.Each row of beads represents different hundreds.

In around 700CE the Hindus developed an innovative numeral system with place values and zeroes that made counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division easier than ever before to carry out in writing.This new idea caught on with the Arabs, who introduced it into Europe in around 1000CE.From then on, abacus was used less frequently in the west, although even today they remain common sights in China, Japan, and parts of western Asia, were the best operators can keep pace with people using pocket calculator

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