Does the concept of the array (a sequence of equally-sized elements accessible in O(1) time, occupying O(n) space) pre-date physical computer memory implementations?

I am trying to gauge whether computer memories were designed for the array or whether the array concept was designed to work with computer memories.

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    $\begingroup$ Have you used resources like Google Scholar to narrow down occurences of the concepts? $\endgroup$ – Raphael Nov 11 '15 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ I have never used it, but will attempt to do so now. $\endgroup$ – Ben Nov 11 '15 at 15:18
  • $\begingroup$ I have restated my question to improve clarity. $\endgroup$ – Ben Nov 12 '15 at 12:27
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    $\begingroup$ In a computer I used in the late nineteen fifties there were only a few dozens of words of fast memory cells and 8K words on a magnetic drum. So any sizable set of informations of a certain kind of the user had to reside on the drum and accessed with their addresses in transferring to and from the fast memory for being processed. Perhaps this may help to answer your querry, though I am not sure whether the fact is to be interpreted in the one or the other sense of your OP. $\endgroup$ – Mok-Kong Shen Nov 13 '15 at 9:46

Here's a thought. Consider the venerable spreadsheet. No, not the program, but the piece of paper. It was a regular array of cells, with column and row check sums and corner balancing for verification. They were used to hold accounting data back in the days when this was done by hand.

While not data in memory, it does embody the concept of a regular array of data.

I can't find a date on the use of paper spreadsheets, but I did find this:

However, the spreadsheet has been in existence, as a paper based product, for longer than any of the computer based products. In the UK it was called “Multi-column analysis paper”. In the USA it was called a “spreadsheet” hence the name of the computer based version.



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