History of Computing

Charles Babbage

The first programmable Computer

Charles Babbage
Charles Babbage was a Victorian Mathematician and engineer. He produced a design for a 'difference engine' to produce tables without the need for human computers. Unfortunately, it was never completed in Charles Babbage's lifetime.

This was mainly due to the fact that his government grants ran out. Had it been built, it would have been the world's first programmable computer. It was finally built in 2002, 153 years after it was designed by Charles Babbage.

A sideline to the Babbage story is that his sister, Ada, who assisted him in his endeavours, is commemorated by having a programming language named after her.

The Difference Engine

Charles Babbage's Difference Engine

Babbage's Difference engine, shown here is powered by the handle shown at the right-hand. A table is printed out at the left-hand end.

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