Invitation to Computer Science 8th Edition

Published by Cengage Learning
ISBN 10: 1337561916
ISBN 13: 978-1-33756-191-4

Chapter 1 - Exercises - Page 40: 14


Charles Babbage $(1791-1871)$ was an English mathematician, philosopher, inventor, and mechanical engineer. He is considered to be the originator of the concept of a digital programmable computer and the "father of the computer". One of his main inventions is the difference engine, an automatic mechanical calculator designed to tabulate polynomial functions. It had always been a very difficult task to produce error-free tables since they had to be done by hand. This and the fact that these tables would be of very much use, since most mathematical functions commonly used by engineers, can be approximated by polynomials, inspired Babbage to come up with a way to automate the process of creating these tables. The Analytical Engine was the successor to the differential engine. It was a proposed mechanical general-purpose computer that incorporated an the arithmetic logic unit, control flow in the form of conditional branching and loops, and integrated memory. Babbage was never able to complete construction of any of his machines due to conflicts with his chief engineer and lack of funding. The first general-purpose computers were actually built in the late 1940$\mathrm{s}$ .

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