Are Player Pianos Early Computers ?
By Marc Kaufman
> I think that calling early digitally controlled textile
> looms and pianos "computers" to be quite an exaggeration.
> However its clear that the underpinnings of "digital control"
> started evolving a long time ago (the looms _ARE_ given credit
> in my computer textbooks).
Right on. The distinction between "computers" and "digital machines" hinges on control structures (loops, if-then-else) and the keeping of "state information" external to the program that can be tested by the program.
Though, I admit, it gets fuzzy when you ask if a Jukebox that plays 3 tunes for a Quarter maintains and tests external "state". And didn't Link have "loops"?
(Message sent Tue 27 Feb 1996, 06:02:30 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)