[AfrICANN-discuss] OWARE, Africa's Forgotten Mechanical Computer, a book by Prof Nii Quaynor, NBS Multimedia, 2007.

Ken Lohento klohento at panos-ao.org
Mon May 26 18:15:05 SAST 2008

Hello - For those who were not informed, see below and congrats to Nii -

Regards KL

OWARE, Africa's Forgotten Mechanical Computer, a publication by  Prof
Nii Quaynor, NBS Multimedia, 155p, 2007.


"This volume contains the background of the OWARE game board and how 
like the abacus, it was used for calculations/ computing in days past by 
native Africans.

It is a solid material for both undergraduate and graduate studies in 
the university that reinforces the contention that Africa needs more 
inclusion in the production/supply side of services. The principal 
barrier to contributions by African scientist is the admission that the 
continent does not have simply because it was very, very far from the 
eye of the storm."  (extract from the "Forward").


Until recently, many Africans were of the view that computing was,
generally, a foreign concept. They perceived computing as one of the
exotic introductions from 'afar'.

Undoubtedly, this is a fallacy. Take the OWARE game board. A close
observation will reveal that before he became literate, the African used
the board for complex calculations. That board indeed, was as powerful 
as the Chinese Abacus that served as the computing instrument for the 
people of Asia for many years.

This volume, borne out of years of research, is intended to demonstrate
how the OWARE game board was used for very simple calculations in the
everyday life of the African.

It is a documentary proof that computing is after all, not as foreign as
many Africans have been led to believe; that Africans may in fact have
contributed to the development of computing worldwide.

It may be informative to point out here, that the OWARE game board has a
variety of names depending on which part of the continent you find
yourself. It scomes in different shapes and sizes and enjoys a variety 
of game rules.

It is on the strength of these rules that its computing strength is 
proven in this volume"".

The Oware is called "Awale" in Côte d’ivoire and "Adji" in Benin.

Content of the book:

- Chapter 1 : Oware : a Computing Instrument
- Chapter 2: Representing Numbers on the Oware Computer
- Chapter 3 : The Operations of the African Mechanical Computer
- Chapter 4: The Mathematics of an Oware Computer
- Chapter 5: Traces of Oware Operations
- Chapter 6 : The Modern Computer and relation to Oware Computer
- Chapter 7 : The Famous Games and Teaching Tools
- Chapter 8 : The Theory of the Mechanical Computer
- Execerices

Nii Quaynor authored this book after painstaking research and co-operation
from institutions like the African Network Operators' Group (AFNOG), the
University of Cape Coast in Ghana and research assistants who worked with
him in his research oriented Network Computer Systems, NCS.

Nii recently received the Internet Society’s Jonathan B. Postel Service
Award for Pioneering Work to Advance the Internet in Africa

Contact for the book:

Mawuko Zormelo
NBS Multimedia
34 Church Cresent
Private Mail Bag Osu
Accra, Ghana
tel: 233-277-718451
email: zormelo at ghana.com

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