Plans to Build Babbage Computer Moving Forward!

In 1837, matematician Charles Babbage (pictured above) first proposed his plans for what he called an “analytical engine”.   A steam-powered machine which would have performed many of the functions of a modern computer.  But he never built it.  And the question remains:  Would it have worked?

This fall computer scientist Jonathan Graham-Cumming decided to answer that question.  He proposes to build the machine, and find it out if it works.  But this task would not be easy.  And it would not be cheap.  So he reached via Internet entrepreneurial service Pledgebank to raise necessary funds.  This was his basic pledge:

I will set up and run a non-profit organization dedicated to building the Analytical Engine but only if 10,000 people will donate $10/£10/€10 to fund the organization.

But despite getting much coverage online, the response hasn’t been strong.  So far he’s just shy of 4,000 pledges, meaning he needs more than 6,000 to meet his goal.  And this seems unlikely since the pledge runs out at the end of this month.

However, Graham-Cumming remains undaunted.  And in a email to pledgers he has this to say:

Despite the fact that I am unlikely to
receive 10,000 pledges by the end of the month the “Plan 28”
project is going to go ahead.

With Doron Swade on board
(http://blog.jgc.org/2010/12/boost-for-plan-28.html) and with
many of you offering to contribute more than $10/£10/€10
there’s enough support to get things moving.   And we have
received many pro bono offers of assistance (such as
http://blog.jgc.org/2010/12/plan-28-gets-some-professional-pr.html).
Many of these I will be able to announce over the coming
weeks.

All good news.  But we’re sure he could still use help.  So if you’re interesting in the project and want to pledge your support; you can do so here.


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