Babbage 1792-1871

Pioneer of machine computing.

He was a friend of John Herschel and George Peacock and with them founded the Analytical Society of Cambridge. His principle work is first evident in some notices to the Royal Society on the connection between notation and mechanism.. His ambition was to eliminate errors in astronomical and mathematical tables, by having the machine not only calculate them but print them directly without human intervention. In 1834 he published Economy of machines and manufactures.

Babbage's first computer, or "difference engine", equipped for automatic printing, was largely finished in 1834.

Babbage was Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge from 1828 to 1839. He spent much futile effort in trying to evolve an infallible system for forecasting the winners of horse races, losing a great deal of money in the process. Appropriately, he was the founder of the Statistical Society(1834).

 

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