Comparing computers 2000-years-old to ones with today’s technology!

Comparisons like these are hard not to adore.

Take what some claim as the first computer, built some 2000 years ago by the Greeks…

Just what was it capable of?

Oh, you’d be surprised!

( — It’s known as the Antikythera mechanism, a metal gear driven device found over a century ago on a sunken Roman ship, near the island of Antikythera, that for just as many years has had scientists analyzing, scratching their heads and offering suggestions as to its purpose.

Some have called the device the first analog computer; other’s the first mechanical computing device. Either way, the device very clearly demonstrates that the Greeks of 150 to 100 BCE knew far more about gears and calculating machines than had been thought possible just a decade or so ago.

After careful analysis with an x-ray tomography machine which allowed the device to be seen as a series of slices that could then be used to see all the way through the mechanism slice by slice (as is done with the same machine when analyzing organs inside a living human being) researchers, particularly Michael Wright, now of Imperial College, London, have come to believe they have almost a full understanding of what the machines was built to do; and that, was to calculate the position of celestial bodies.

Wright has even built (completed in 2006) what he believes to be an almost exact replica of the device.

If modern research is correct, the device worked by hand cranking a main dial to display a chosen date, causing the wheels and gears inside to display (via tabs on separate dials) the position of the sun, moon, and the five known planets at that time, for that date; a mechanical and technical feat that would not be seen again until the fourteenth century in Europe with precision clocks.

Also, some of the early research showed that the device actually used special gears to account for the elliptical shape of the moon’s orbit to account for what appeared to be a speed up and slow down as the moon moved around the Earth.

Now James Evans and his colleagues at the University of Puget Sound in Washington State, have shown that instead of trying to use the same kind of gear mechanism to account for the elliptical path the Earth takes around the sun, and subsequent apparent changes in speed, the inventor of the device may have taken a different tack, and that was to stretch or distort the zodiac on the dial face to change the width of the spaces on the face to make up for the slightly different amount of time that is represented as the hand moves around the face. [Read More]


And now contrast it to the new Predator object-tracking software that tracks, recognizes, amends and learns that has been created thanks to a brilliant young man, utilizing today’s technology.

Zdenek Kalal’s Predator object-tracking software is almost uncanny. Show anything to its all-seeing camera eye, and it will quickly learn to recognize it and then track it, whether it fades into the distance, hides amongst other similar objects or — in the case of faces turns sideways.

It really lives up to its name, reminding us of the Predator’s HUD-enhanced vision in the movie of the same name.

Kalal is a Ph.D. student at the University of Surrey in England, researching projects that make computers see. His Predator algorithm is both fast and powerful.

After telling it what to look for (by dragging a box over the onscreen image) the Predator gets to work. Within seconds it can recognize patterns, objects and faces and track them as they shrink, grow and rotate. When Kalal hides from the camera and holds up a sheet of paper with his photo among a patchwork of thumbnails, Predator picks his face out immediately.

Four minutes might seem like a long time in today’s attention-starved world, but you should watch Kalal’s demo video. It’s worth it just to see him scooting hyperactively around on his office chair.

Keep watching past the credits and you’ll see plenty of other uses, such as tracking individual animals for research, and chasing cars and people across multiple security cameras. It’s not hard to imagine more.

Remember the assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai last year? The Dubai authorities tracked the assassins — probably Israeli Mossad agents — across hours and hours of city-wide security footage. Predator would likely make that a lot easier. [Read More]

Easier or scarier? Hard to say which is the better descriptor.

Yep, these two?

Just within a ‘stones throw’, eh?


How far we’ve come – Breathtaking!

But even as amazing as the new advancements are…

A question comes to mind: Which of these two, do you think, will be the one more revered by future historians and which one will become the forgotten technological relic by our upcoming ancestors?

Yes, you know the answer.

Interesting how that works out, isn’t it?

Even as amazing as they are…

Today’s advancements cannot hold a candle to our past.

5 comments on “Comparing computers 2000-years-old to ones with today’s technology!

  1. Oops , this is scary . The young man is brilliant and sweet but the Predator is one scary dude . Amazing technology but you are right the 2000 old computer is much more fascinating .
    Great post and fantastic connection . :)
    Great job.

    • Yep. That technology of the software is insane, no? Wow. Can you imagine if it fell into the wrong hands what kind of havoc could be enacted? Sweet, brilliant people seldom think of all the ramifications of what they create but they should. Definitely. As for the 2000 year old computer? Awesome. I love that something was made so long ago, and our geniuses today can’t figure out how. Pure perfection. Its in stuff like this? When humans truly fascinate me…

      In their amazing, wonderful abilities…

      Those discovered LONG before their time.

      • While watching the video I imagined what kind a scary sociaty we would live in if evil got the Predator .
        Bloody havoc would be our presence .
        Sweet , brilliant people never think how the product of their talents could be use for the evil .

        The knowledge from the past is still magical for us. It is more advence , more simpler and probably more right then we accept. Most people think that human kind started with them . Ignorants .
        That coming from somebody who just learned how to copy and paste last night . “laughs”
        If you can write when you have time how to copy and paste the text so I can make similar posts like you.
        Now I know how to post a image , video , to link source and when you can it will be great to continue with lessons .

        With that being said
        I waive you bye bye
        Sleep is calling me big time .
        Like the posts a lot . They were great .
        Night , night :)

  2. I don’t remember when but lets say somewhere in the late 1980s this came across my desk. Not re3aly desk but I read about the technology. At the time not nearly as much was known about it’s purpose.
    Every time I see something now I try to scene what the original inventor felt when he/she got it working…
    Would I be too wrong to think it was a gift from the Gods.

    Smile.. Gifts are good….

  3. The Predator is a whole different thought – Will be great for robots in the local mall looking for lost kids. But could also be placed anywhere to looked for bad guys. The great overlords would just need to supply a photo and let Predator lose on the airport and no more bad folks….

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