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The Antikythera Mechanism: A Computer Science Perspective

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1 Author(s)
Spinellis, D. ; Athens Univ. of Econ. & Bus., Athens

Two thousand years separate us from an ancient Greek computing device known as the Antikythera mechanism. The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient astronomical calculator that contains a lunisolar calendar, predicts eclipses, and indicates the moon's position and phase. Its use of multiple dials and interlocking gears eerily foreshadows modern computing concepts from the fields of digital design, programming, and software engineering. In this article, the author explains the mechanism's operation based on its reconstruction in Squeak Etoys, a multimedia authoring environment primarily designed to help high school students learn scientific and engineering concepts. This paper aims to present the functioning of this remarkable device using working code, the language of our community.

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:41 ,  Issue: 5 )