Charles Babbage  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Charles Babbage (26 December 179118 October 1871) was an English mathematician, philosopher, mechanical engineer and (proto-) computer scientist who originated the idea of a programmable computer. Parts of his uncompleted mechanisms are on display in the London Science Museum. In 1991, working from Babbage's original plans, a difference engine was completed, and functioned perfectly. Built to tolerances achievable in the 19th century, the finished engine indicated that Babbage's machine would have worked. Nine years later, the Science Museum completed the printer Babbage had designed for the difference engine; it featured astonishing complexity for a 19th century device.




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