HistoryThe early foundations of what would become computer science predate the invention of the modern digital computer. Machines for calculating fixed numerical tasks, such as the abacus, have existed since antiquity. Wilhelm Schickard designed the first mechanical calculator in 1623, but did not complete its construction. Blaise Pascal designed and constructed the first working mechanical calculator, the Pascaline, in 1642. Charles Babbage designed a difference engine and then a general-purpose Analytical Engine in Victorian times, for which Ada Lovelace wrote a manual. Because of this work she is regarded today as the world's first programmer. Around 1900, punched card machines were introduced.
During the 1940s, as newer and more powerful computing machines were developed, the term computer came to refer to the machines rather than their human predecessors. As it became clear that computers could be used for more than just mathematical calculations, the field of computer science broadened to study computation in general. Computer science began to be established as a distinct academic discipline in the 1950s and early 1960s. The world's first computer science degree program, the Cambridge Diploma in Computer Science, began at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory in 1953. The first computer science degree program in the United States was formed at Purdue University in 1962. Since practical computers became available, many applications of computing have become distinct areas of study in their own right.