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when was the first computer invented by charles babbage
The first computer as we know it today was not created until 20th century, but origins of digital computing go back much further than that. In fact, first designs for a programmable computing machine were created by Charles Babbage in early 19th century.
Babbage was a mathematician and inventor who is credited with invention of difference engine and analytical engine. The difference engine was designed to automatically calculate mathematical tables, while analytical engine was a more sophisticated machine that could be programmed to perform a variety of tasks.
Babbage first conceived idea of difference engine in 1821, and he spent next several years refining design and seeking funding for project. The difference engine was finally completed in 1833, but it was beset by technical problems and never actually worked as intended.
Undeterred by his failure with difference engine, Babbage began work on analytical engine in 1834. This machine was designed to use punch cards to input data and perform complex calculations, and it was first machine that could be considered a true computer.
The analytical engine was based on principle of Jacquard loom, a machine that used punched cards to control weaving of textiles. Babbage saw that same principle could be applied to computing, with punched cards representing data to be processed and machine performing calculations.
Unfortunately, Babbage was never able to complete analytical engine. He struggled to secure funding for project and was beset by technical problems, including difficulties of manufacturing complex components required for machine.
Despite his failures, Babbage’s work on difference engine and analytical engine was groundbreaking and laid foundation for development of modern computing. His ideas inspired a generation of inventors and mathematicians, including Ada Lovelace, who is often credited with being world’s first computer programmer.
Today, Babbage is remembered as a pioneer of computing age, and his contributions to mathematics and engineering are recognized as essential to development of modern technology. While he never saw his vision of a fully functioning computing machine come to fruition, his legacy lives on in devices we use every day.