"The computer enigma" presents one of the most important computer collections in Europe, and the most complete in Catalonia. A reflection on the technological revolution, on the human ingenuity that has made it possible, and the accelerated evolution seen today.
Many believe that information technology began with the PC, although in fact this did not emerge until the 1960s. In truth, the origins of computers are to be found around 5,000 years BC, when the earliest human civilisations developed tools to assist them in performing simple calculations, such as counting livestock or measuring areas of land. As science and technology advanced, these tools were progressively perfected: the abacus appeared, followed by the astrolabe, Napier's rods, calculators, tabulators, the centralised computers better known as mainframes, PCs, and so on successively down to the present day, with chips everywhere and information technologies evolving at breakneck pace.
The exhibition space covers more than 1500 m2 and takes us on a journey through the history of the computer, from its earliest origins to today's technological explosion, following a visual tour with a complete display of nearly 150 mathematical instruments and devices, the most distinctive elements of a collection of more than 400 computers and 200 microprocessors, the most significant in Europe. As well as revealing an essential and little-known aspect of our history, this exhibition aims to show how human ingenuity, linked to successive needs and contingencies in different eras, but made possible what we today call the information society.