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Thursday, 07 October 2010 09:07

British programmer calls for steam powered PC to be built

Written by Nick Farell
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Babbage's analytical engine should be constructed
A Blighty programmer, blogger and online campaigner wants to make the Babbage Analytical "Engine" which was designed and never built.

The Analytical Engine was designed by Charles Babbage and has all the hallmarks of a modern computer. It had a program, on punched cards, a CPU which was called the 'mill' for doing calculations and it has memory. It was designed, but Babbage only got around to making bits of it.  However it was seen as the first real attempt at a computer.

Writing in his bog,  John Graham-Cumming said it would be a marvel to stand before this giant metal machine, powered by a steam engine, and running programs fed to it on a reel of punched cards. It would also be a great educational resource so that people can understand how computers work. One could even imagine holding competitions for people to write programs to run on the engine, he said.

He wants to run the the project as a charity that would donate the completed machine to either London's Science Museum or the National Museum of Computing.

Nick Farell

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