The Difference Engine: Charles Babbage and the Quest to Build the First Computer

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Penguin Books, Oct 29, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 342 pages
17 Reviews
In 1821 an inventor and mathematician named Charles Babbage was reviewing a set of mathematical tables. After finding an excess of errors in the results, he exclaimed, "I wish to God these calculations had been executed by steam." Thus began Babbage's lifelong enterprise to design and build a mechanical calculating engine-the world's first computer. Drawing on Babbage's original notes and designs, Doron Swade recounts both Babbage's nineteenth-century quest to build a calculating machine-the Difference Engine-and Swade's own successful attempt to build a replica for the bicentennial of Babbage's birth. Set against the tantalizing background of Victorian science and politics with a colorful cast of characters, The Difference Engine is a saga of ingenuity and will-and the dawning of a new age.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MikeRhode - LibraryThing

Very enjoyable popular accound of Charles Babbage's attempts to build a calculating machine in the early 19th century, and then the Science Museum of London's attempt to build one based on his drawings. Read full review

Review: The difference engine : Charles Babbage and the quest to build the first computer

User Review  - Elisabeth - Goodreads

A fascinating read, as engaging as any novel. Towering intellect, clashes of character, personal drama, and a race against the clock. The author draws his subjects with care and integrity; each ... Read full review

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Contents

The Tables Crisis
9
A Personal Question
32
Tragedy and Decline
49
Copyright

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