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Move to Bring Babbage's Famous Computer to Life

It was coincidence that Monday marked the anniversary of the death in 1871 of Charles Babbage, the English mathematician and inventor credited with conceiving plans for the world's first programmable non-digital computer. It also happens that a move is now afoot to use Babbage's original blueprints to create a working version of his steam-powered Analytical Engine.

The London Science Museum's Difference Engine #2, built from Babbage's design. Wikipedia

The campaign is being spearheaded by blogger and programmer John Graham-Cumming, the author of The Geek Atlas.

Unfortunately for Babbage, he never got to complete his project, although parts of the machine he conceived have since been built over the 173 years since he put his ideas on paper. Graham-Cumming now plans to use those original blueprints to construct the device. So far, about 1600 people have pledged to contribute funds to the project.

"It's an inspirational piece of equipment," Graham-Cumming told the BBC. "A hundred years ago, before computers were available, [Babbage] had envisaged this machine."

Babbage's notebooks are housed at the Science Museum in London. For more about Babbage and his ideas, check out this video report from the BBC:

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