Researchers plan to build Charles Babbage’s “programmable computer” based on blue prints from the 1830s

Michael Foley November 10, 2011 1
Researchers plan to build Charles Babbage’s “programmable computer” based on blue prints from the 1830s

In an effort to educate the public on the origin of the computer and to commemorate history, British researchers are going to build the first ever “computer” from blue prints laid down in the 1830s. They were drawn up by a British mathematician named Charles Babbage and they indicate plans for what can be called the first “computer.” Specifically, the plans define a difference engine that operates via gears and cranks. What makes this a “computer” is the fact that it is programmable to accept different inputs and output information, it computes. Unfortunately, Babbage never lived ling enough to see his machine actually built.

As you can see from the pictures below, the machine is massive and turtle-slow, very different from what we would deem a computer today. Never the less the project has been taken up by both programmer John Graham-Cumming and former London Science Museum curator Doron Swade They plan to post the plans for the “Babbage Analytical Engine” online in the new year for a “crowd-sourcing” project being referred to as Plan 28. Not only will this take millions of dollars to build, but it might take as many as 10 years to fruition.

You can check out a video on how this machine works here.

One Comment »

  1. gokul November 11, 2011 at 5:57 am - Reply

    gooooooooooooooooodddd

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