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The Difference Engine

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The Difference Engine:
While Tomas of Colmar was developing the first successful commercial calculator, Charles Babbage realized as early as 1812 that many long computations consisted of operations that were regularly repeated. He theorized that it must be possible to design a calculating machine which could do these operations automatically. He produced a prototype of this "difference engine" by 1822 and with the help of the British government started work on the full machine in 1823. It was intended to be steam-powered; fully automatic, even to the printing of the resulting tables; and commanded by a fixed instruction program.
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Computers: From the Past to the Present
The Difference Engine: Last modified July 30, 2006
©1994-2006 by Michelle A. Hoyle