Charles Babbage's Contributions to computing.

Although he is regarded as such an important part in the development of the computer and machine computation, Charles Babbage produced no physical inventions. Instead, he earned his reputation from three conceptual designs (with one holding the majority of the justification). These are detailed below. For more on Babbage's motivations for creating these designs, check out the life overview page.

Designs Overview

Design Conception Function Key Points
The Difference Engine 1822 Compute values of polynomial functions
  • Never completed and only some prototype parts still exist.
  • Calculates the value of a polynomial function using the method of difference.
  • Would have composed of around 25,000 parts and weighed fifteen tons
The Analytical Engine 1837 The four basic arithmetic functions, logic comparison and loops.
  • Various similarities to modern computer architecture.
  • Punch cards could be used for inputting/storing operations and data.
  • The major contributing factor for Babbage being considered fundamental in the development of the computer
  • Had a memory for storing numbers approx. equivalent to 16.7kb
The Difference Engine II 1847 More accurately computes values of polynomial functions
  • Not produced until 1991 by the science museum.
  • The printing function was constructed and added in 2000