Help Build Babbage’s Computer!

Intriguing, eccentric mathematician Charles Babbage has had something of a renaissance in the last 20 years.  This is largely due to a paper he published in 1837 which outlined a steam-powered, brass and steel programmable computer called “the analytical engine“.   But this computer was never built.

That may be about to change.

Learn more after the jump …

Jonathan Graham-Cumming, a British computer scientist, has begun an initiative to build a model of Babbage’s analytical engine.  Here’s what he says about it on his blog:

I hope to finish Babbage’s dream and build an Analytical Engine for public display. I’ve launched a project called Plan 28 to raise the money and bring together people to work on the Engine. Babbage left behind extensive documentation of the Analytical Engine, the most complete of which can be seen in his Plan 28 (and 28a), which are preserved in a mahogany case that Babbage had constructed especially for the purpose.

There are three important steps to achieve this goal:

  1. A decision must be made on what constitutes an Analytical Engine
  2. The Engine should be simulated on a computer to help debug the physical machine
  3. The machine must be built.

We find this a fascinating.  And we all can be part of this project.  To learn more about how you can help, click here.

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