Charles Babbage's Failed Computer from 1837 Will Be Built

Illustration for article titled Charles Babbage's Failed Computer from 1837 Will Be Built

Not even IMDB seems to know whether Zooey Deschanel has been cast as Ada Lovelace in Enchantress of Numbers, but Lovelace and Babbage's Analytical Engine computer shall be finally built—if programmer/blogger John Graham-Cunning can raise enough money.


He needs about $640,000 to work on the project, using Babbage's original blueprints. If he ever succeeds, I hope he'll do the machine justice and will use Lovelace's computer program to calculate the Bernoulli number sequence, which she worked on until 1843.

Babbage may've passed away in 1871, but more than a hundred years later and his computer (which would have run on punched cards containing the programs) still hasn't ever been fully built. In 1910 his son built part of it, which was able to calculate an incorrect list of pi multiples—but it wasn't programmable. And who needs a computer than calculates false numbers? It's on display at London's Science Museum however, where many schoolkids are told it's the world's first-ever computer (despite its many faults and incomplete state).

While Graham-Cumming hasn't revealed what he's going to do with the computer once built, I should hope it'd be put on show to the public. You can donate here, to support the cause. [John Graham-Cumming via The Telegraph via Blastr]