Studying the world’s oldest computing device

Tilemahos Efthimiadis from Athens, Greece [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons (cropped)

When the Antikythera Mechanism was discovered in a shipwreck off the coast of a Greek island in 1901, it was shrouded in mystery.

As technology advanced, researchers applied new approaches to examine it. They’ve since uncovered the purpose of the device, finding it to be an ancient time-keeping mechanism—the world’s oldest known computing device, predating any other such device by 1,000 years.

Paul Iversen, associate professor and chair of the Department of Classics at Case Western Reserve University, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, is expanding that research even further. He hopes a better understanding will shed light onto previously unknown aspects of the mechanism as well as ancient Greek history and religion. Read more about his research.

Scholarly research like this happens across our campus, leveraging the most modern tools (Iverson is using CWRU’s Interactive Commons and specialized software) to understand the ancient world.