Charles Babbage was an English mathematician, philosopher, and inventor who originated the concept of a programmable computer. Born on December 26, 1791 he lived his whole life in his hometown of London, England. Charles ‘s father was a partner of one of the banks in London. He was a wealthy man which allowed Charles to attend several private schools and have a few private tutors during his elementary years. Around eight he got a life-threatening fever. After switching between a few schools he came to Holmwood academy which had a well-stocked library which led him to his love of mathematics.
On July 25,1814 he married Georgiana Whitmore. Babbage and Georgiana had eight children but only three of them survived to adulthood. In 1827, Georgiana, Babbage’s father and one of his sons all died in that year. These deaths caused Babbage to go into a mental breakdown, which probably delayed the construction of his machines. His youngest son Henry Babbage went on to create six working different engines based on his fathers design. Babbage died at the age of 79 on October 18,1871 and he was buried at his hometown of London.
Henry assembled the calculating engine using the parts he found in his fathers laboratory.
Although Babbage’s machines were mechanical and unwieldy their basic architecture was very similar to the modern computer. Henry became a human computer which meant that he was basically a clerk, as he saw the high error-rate of this human driven process and started his life’s work of trying to calculate the tables mechanically. He began in 1822 with what he called the difference engine, made to compute values of polynomial functions.
Unlike similar efforts of the time, Babbage’s difference machine was created to calculate a series of values automatically. In 1824, Babbage won the gold medal of the royal astronomical society for his invention of an engine that calculated mathematical and astronomical table. He was a founding member of the...