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Work Underway To Finally Build Babbage's Analytical Engine

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the steve-jobs-of-cabbage-computer dept.

United Kingdom 86

mikejuk writes "Last year John Graham-Cumming launched a project to create a fully-functional implementation of Babbage's original design for a computer — the Analytical Engine. Now it looks as if the project is going ahead. The first phase is to digitize all of Babbage's papers and designs. These will be available to the general public in 2012. The machine to be built is no simple calculator: it is a full computer with a store for between 100 and 1000 values, each of 40 digits, and it was programmed using punched cards in a modern 'operator/address' format. There was even a plan to send the output to a printer. When this device is built it will make it clear that the computer age nearly began in the 18th century."

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Moore's law (1, Interesting)

kayumi (763841) | more than 2 years ago | (#37501646)

And then there are still people claiming Moore's law is dead

Re:Moore's law (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#37501846)

And then there are still people claiming Moore's law is dead

Moore's Law: "I don't want to go on the cart."

Analytical engine was Turing complete (4, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37501678)

The entire design for the anaytical engine was extremely impressive. The main thing to realize is that the Analytical Engine was Turing Complete http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_completeness [wikipedia.org] . This means essentially that given enough time and memory it could emulate any program you want to. There's an idea called the Church-Turing thesis which says roughly that the set of things which a Turing machine can do are precisely the things which humans can algorithmically simulate. To appreciate how highly this speaks of the actual design of the Engine one should realize that many early computers like the Harvard Mark I were not Turing complete (although all the early Zuse machines were.)

Re:Analytical engine was Turing complete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37502138)

For comparison, are current processors "Turing-complete"? They would need the ability to access an unlimited amount of memory, but a 64-bit pointer can only access 2^64 bytes of memory.

Re:Analytical engine was Turing complete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37502340)

They are. Address space limitation is not considered when deciding whether or not a device is turing complete. If you could attach an infinite tape to a tape reel on an I/O port that would no longer be an issue.

Re:Analytical engine was Turing complete (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37503528)

Yes they are - there are other memories besides system RAM aren't there? You could /theoretically/ use an infinite number of network-attached hard disks for instance.
Also, current x86-64 processors have 48-bit, not 64-bit pointers

Once again, Turing was a badass (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 2 years ago | (#37506618)

Another article read up (on being Turing complete) that makes me appreciate just how much Turing has contributed to information theory.

In the modern age, Turing is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated bad assed geniuses around. I sorely and sincerely wish that his being homosexual didn't lead to his demise, mankind would be sooooo much better off had he lived a full life!

Re:Once again, Turing was a badass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37512740)

I thought it was being a commie that lead to his demise and the homosexual thing was just used as a method to attack/discredit him?

19th Century? (4, Informative)

bennett000 (2028460) | more than 2 years ago | (#37501694)

The 1800s are the 19th century, how did this not get edited?

Re:19th Century? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37501774)

Taco's gone... That's why.

Re:19th Century? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37503140)

no, we had that kind of dumb-fuckery from Taco's articles too when he stopped giving a shit

Re:19th Century? (0)

mikejuk (1801200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37501832)

Sorry my fault - I latched onto Babbage's birth date and wrote 18th century for 1791. The article does say 1880s and that is indeed the 19th century. Will try harder in future even if I have only just got used to the idea that it is the 21st century.... :-)

Re:19th Century? (0)

geezer nerd (1041858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37504046)

Wow, you really have trouble with 19th century dates.

If he was born in 1791 and the work was done in the 1880s, he was an old man with a lot of stamina. I did not see 1880 anywhere in the article, but there are many other sources which put the plans for the Analytical Engine in 1837, a much more reasonable date for someone born in 1791.

Re:19th Century? (1)

mikejuk (1801200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37506698)

And your point is? I agreed I made a mistake - gave the reason for it and you are telling me again I was wrong...

Re:19th Century? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37549412)

Yes, 1880 is not correct either for his time of activity. It was in the 1830s.

Re:19th Century? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37509526)

Sounds like you just scanned the article without actually reading it. It states that it was "entirely possible that computer science would have taken hold in the 1880s" if Babbage had completed his work. He was still working on it when he died in 1871, and it would likely have been developed during the 1870s, leading to a mature computer science the following decade. Don't be such a nit.

Re:19th Century? (3, Funny)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37503020)

The 1800s are the 19th century, how did this not get edited?

The same reason stuff like this [slashdot.org] gets posted.

I didn't care before, but I'm starting to dislike this timothy fellow now.

Re:19th Century? (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#37503728)

I could of cared less. Can I has Cheezburger now?

Re:19th Century? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37505448)

Not all of them. 1800 is the 18th century. :-)

Watch out (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37501700)

It will probably turn out that apple or someone have a patent on a part of it and get it banned...

Re:Watch out (1)

grimJester (890090) | more than 2 years ago | (#37501760)

It will probably turn out that apple or someone have a patent on a part of it and get it banned...

Yeah, the worst case scenario is that, despite the obvious prior art, these guys can't afford to fight the patent in court.

Re:Watch out (2)

mikejuk (1801200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37501840)

It should provide good hard evidence of prior art.... Now if only they could find an brass iPhone design in his papers.

Re:Watch out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37502356)

First-to-file FTW Baby!

Re:Watch out (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#37503244)

I think the worst case would be that Babbage had no patent, and some company from the 20th century was "first to file" and actually gets to win the case.

Re:Watch out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37504100)

Surely that's the best case scenario, in the long run. This would then be the poster child for how silly patent law has become!

Can I build it with a 3D printer? (2)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#37501768)

Ok, I know that the original design required making it out of brass and steel and whatnot making it big and expensive. But if I had one of those new (cheap) 3D printers, could I make a (smaller?) scale version out of whatever plastics or resins those printers use? Or are the tolerances too demanding? Would the job be made a lot easier if I "cheated" by using electric motors judiciously placed instead of the (possibly) steam powered original?

Now THAT would be one heck of a weekend project!

(Failing that, I heard they were going to make a computer simulation of it first to "test" it. It would be great if they could use some commonly used engineering program like Pro-E or Solid Works and build the model in that. Then we could all play with it!*)

*assuming you have a license for one of these programs lying around.

P.S. Then again I guess a mathematical translation of the Analytical Engine to a Turing Machine would also be sufficient.

P.P.S. I guess some day some nano-technologist will make this thing out with each individual component being just a few ATOMS.

Re:Can I build it with a 3D printer? (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37501868)

I think you misunderstand the use of "engine" in this device's name. It is not "powered" by anything; it is more like a slide-rule or abacus in principle, and operated by a simple hand crank.

Re:Can I build it with a 3D printer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37501892)

would that make a

10 Print "HELLO WORLD"
20 GOTO 10

type program even more diabolical?

Re:Can I build it with a 3D printer? (2)

king_nebuchadnezzar (1134313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37501988)

Actually no-it was not, The analytical engine was to be powered by a steam engine.

Re:Can I build it with a 3D printer? (1)

mikejuk (1801200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502078)

Yes I heard that it was to be run using a steam engine and the question was could it over come the friction in all of the parts to make it work. Still it would have been good to have been able to shout "more coal we are just getting the the heavy compuation" It would also give the term "crash" an even more physical interpretation. Being serious for a moment it really is an open question whether or not you can implement an computer using macro mechanical parts i.e the technology of the 19th century. What you can build in theory might not be possible in practice due to friction and tolerances in the parts. Even if you use 21st century technology to manufacture the components to high precision - the steam engine still might not be able to turn the shaft and cycle the machine though its various states. If the thing can be built it will prove that the Victorians didn't invent the computer simply because they didn't get behind the project not because it was out of reach.

Re:Can I build it with a 3D printer? (2)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502248)

Just as making a slide rule larger makes it easier to read and more accurate so making the engine as large as practically possible makes the degree of milling needed less, making the machine possible. I've actually often pondered the AE and I believe if Babbage thought it was possible then, depending on the degree of accuracy and the number of decimal places you were willing to live with the AE is possible. Think about this: had Babbage the time and the resources needed to complete the AE I suspect the digital age would have been hastened by at least 100 years. If a functional turing-complete machine had already been developed by the time Turing and von Neumann come around who knows where we'd be right now.

Re:Can I build it with a 3D printer? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502688)

When asked if, "when the wrong figures are put inn would the right answers come out?" he should have just said yes...

Re:Can I build it with a 3D printer? (2)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37505662)

As an alternate timeline concept, I've wondered at times how awful World War I would have been had the Analytical Engine (or its successor more likely) been in use at the time. Certainly the artillery tables would have been much more accurate and possibly some "computers" running the gun sights for even more deadly accuracy.... especially on the bigger guns. Keep in mind that one of the first tasks for ENIAC was to calculate trigonometry tables for the U.S. Army. Logarithm tables would also be incredibly valuable in such an environment.

One of the side effects here would also have been fewer computers as these monster computers would not be something that is nearly so common as computers are today. I have a very hard time seeing somebody playing Star Trek, Oregon Trail, or Hunt the Wumpus on an Analytical Engine... particularly when other more "pressing" calculating work would have precedence.

While the "digital age" might have been pushed back some, I think the era of the computer high priests would have been much longer and have become even more entrenched into corporate culture than exists even now. It may have even delayed entrepreneurs like Steve Wozniak or Ed Roberts from doing their creative operations and may have even put Bill Gates into a middle management position. Come to think of it, that may not have been half bad either.

Hmmm....... I need to think about this one some more. It would shift around technological development had this kind of computing power been available. Just imagine what Marie Curie or Albert Einstein might have done with advanced computational power that most certainly would have been at their disposal.

Re:Can I build it with a 3D printer? (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502272)

the steam engine still might not be able to turn the shaft and cycle the machine though its various states

They could build steam engines big enough to push icebreaking freighters through feet of ice, or to pull multi-ton harvestors through nearly frozen clay. I don't think that lack of torque would be the issue, if you wanted to park a typical steam locomotive engine next to the apparatus. The question would be whether or not the various shafts and gears would sheer, twist, snap etc once all of that torque bumped into all of that friction.

Re:Can I build it with a 3D printer? (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502314)

Yes, it was to have been steam powered as the number of levels of gear displacement and torque redirection would have made hand cranking it impossible without an assembly of assisting displacer cams as large as the AE itself. I don't think a 3D printer would be able to make parts for this unless one of the resins it can deal with is some kind of stronger that steel carbon-fiber stuff.

Re:Can I build it with a 3D printer? (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502054)

(Failing that, I heard they were going to make a computer simulation of it first to "test" it. It would be great if they could use some commonly used engineering program like Pro-E or Solid Works and build the model in that. Then we could all play with it!*)

Probbly someone will do it in minecraft...

Re:Can I build it with a 3D printer? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502134)

Probbly someone's already done it in minecraft...

ftfy

Re:Can I build it with a 3D printer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37502400)

I hear Pixar is working on the movie version.

Re:Can I build it with a 3D printer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37502434)

The difference engine had a mechanical problem because of its use of fixed base ten owing to the materials used to build it. This could be a possible answer to that problem.

Re:Can I build it with a 3D printer? (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37503092)

Ok, I know that the original design required making it out of brass and steel and whatnot making it big and expensive. But if I had one of those new (cheap) 3D printers, could I make a (smaller?) scale version out of whatever plastics or resins those printers use? Or are the tolerances too demanding?

If you used resin RP machines I'd expect you'd have trouble with the tolerances even with a full-scale replica. Make it smaller and the problem just gets worse.

Would the job be made a lot easier if I "cheated" by using electric motors judiciously placed instead of the (possibly) steam powered original?

No, the prime mover you use isn't all that important. Babbage chose steam because there weren't any suitable electric motors back then

Now THAT would be one heck of a weekend project!

Even with RP it'd take a lot longer than a weekend!

(Failing that, I heard they were going to make a computer simulation of it first to "test" it. It would be great if they could use some commonly used engineering program like Pro-E or Solid Works and build the model in that. Then we could all play with it!*)

SW wouldn't do because it's primarily for static simulations. You could use SW motion but physically simulating each part is overkill; it'd be quicker to create a bespoke simulator that doesn't bother to use FEA

P.P.S. I guess some day some nano-technologist will make this thing out with each individual component being just a few ATOMS.

I suspect even with nanoasembly this would still be a curiosity. Drexler's rod logic sounds a lot simpler to implement, though IANAE (expert).

Re:Can I build it with a 3D printer? (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37503564)

Actually, yes, you probably could, but it would be huge. People have built pieces of the engine with things like legos, but the whole machine is pretty large and complicated.

Re:Can I build it with a 3D printer? (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 2 years ago | (#37507292)

If the tolerances don't get you, the required material strength will. One of the reasons the Analytical Engine didn't get built was that the alloys available then weren't strong enough to transmit the force needed to drive the complex geartrains.

Re:Can I build it with a 3D printer? (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 2 years ago | (#37507528)

It seems I spoke too soon. The Difference Engine build by the Science Museum showed that that was possible to build using the alloys available in Babbage's time. Still, I suspect that printed parts aren't as strong as parts that are milled from solid castings.

For completeness' sake ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37501858)

... whoever is building it will need to take the programmer (was Ada Lovelace Byron) as mistress

Minecraft? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37501952)

Once the designs are digitized, how long before someone implements it in Minecraft?

film izle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37502010)

film izle [filmsehri.org]

Hasn't This Been Done Already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37502104)

At the Computer History Museum in Mountain View California.

http://www.computerhistory.org/babbage/

Re:Hasn't This Been Done Already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37502186)

They are not the same machine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Difference_engine
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analytical_Engine

Re:Hasn't This Been Done Already? (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502332)

THAT is a difference engine, in essence the same as a modern adding machine. A much easier machine to build, and altogether different from the AE.

Alternate history in The Difference Engine (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37502108)

by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, ISBN 0-553-29461-X, provides an interesting work of alternate history Steampunk fiction that could have evolved if Babbage had completed his Analytical Engine.

Re:Alternate history in The Difference Engine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37509274)

[The Difference Engine] by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, ISBN 0-553-29461-X, provides an interminably boring alternate history Steampunk fiction that could have evolved if Babbage had completed his Analytical Engine.

FTFY... carry on!

18th century? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37502176)

Is nobody going to comment on the error in the summary? 1800s was the 19th century!

Re:18th century? (1)

mikejuk (1801200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502214)

They already have and I've already explained how I made the mistake - see earlier comments.

Re:18th century? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502388)

no edit button on slashdot?

Re:18th century? (1)

mikejuk (1801200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502574)

Not that I've found...

It's been done. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502268)

The London Science Museum built a working Difference Engine [wikipedia.org] in 1991.

Re:It's [not] been done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37502364)

According to that very link, difference engine != analytical engine. The former is a special-purpose calculator, the latter a general-purpose computer.

Re:It's [not] been done. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37503500)

"According to that very link, difference engine != analytical engine. The former is a special-purpose calculator, the latter a general-purpose computer."

That's true, but it misses the point.

The fact is that the Difference Engine worked on exactly the same principles and used the same basic (although slightly improved by Babbage) mechanisms to perform its calculations.

That, and other studies and partial builds of the Analytical Engine have already proven that not only would it work, but that it could have been done in Babbage's time, despite earlier claims that it would have been technologically impossible to build at the time.

So this is a pointless exercise. We already know it would work. If somebody wants to actually make one for a museum piece, fine. But expensive.

As far as proving anything though: it would not.

Re:It's been done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37502448)

The Difference Engine is a special purpose calculator, the Analytical Engine is a general purpose computer. Not the same thing.

Re:It's been done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37503588)

According to that very link, difference engine != analytical engine. The former is a polynomial calculator, the latter a general-purpose computer.

Re:It's been done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37503672)

Check again, they built his Difference Engine not the Analytical Engine.

Re:It's been done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37506994)

Difference Engine != Analytical Engine

The "What if Babbage..." link (1)

BowHunter (113589) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502274)

Follow the "project is going ahead" and then the "Further reading: What if Babbage...?" article. Early on they say, "Suppose the IBM PC had used a Motorola chip?"

I used to work with an engineer who, earlier, was at Motorola on the 6809 project. One day some suits came in to talk to his boss asking whether Motorola could adapt the 6809 processor to 16-bits. The ultimate response after checking with an engineer or two was: "no". Those suits were from IBM...

The 68000 must not have been out yet? Perhaps didn't meet some other IBM requirements? I remember being enthralled with the 68000 in late 1980 or early 1981, collecting manuals and data sheets for it at the time, so it must have been too late to the party to make it into the initial IBM PC design phase. I've asked the Motorola vs. Intel question myself many times, and happened to ask it out loud once around this engineer, who started into his story. I heard the same story more than once during the years we worked together so I suspect the story is true. Man, it sure would have been nice had things turned out differently!

Re:The "What if Babbage..." link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37502380)

I used to program Stratus fault tolerant minis running the proprietary VOS operating system.
In a typical configuration, they were 24 Motorola 68040 CPUs flying in formation.
VOS was built specificly for the 68k family - interrupt handling was a dream.
Multi-thread, multi-task programming was beautifully thought out.
Linux threads seem patheticly cludgey by comparison.

Re:The "What if Babbage..." link (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502398)

since the pc was on the market in 81 I would say yes it was a bit late

Re:The "What if Babbage..." link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37509318)

since the pc was on the market in 81 I would say yes it was a bit late

Nah, they started developing the IBM PC in 1980, and the 68000 came out in 1979. They certainly could have used it if they had reason to.

Re:The "What if Babbage..." link (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37503168)

The 68EC000 was a hybrid 8/16 bit design, while the 68000 was 16 bit bus and instructions but 32 bit registers.

Re:The "What if Babbage..." link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37505918)

You mean the MC68008?

Re:The "What if Babbage..." link (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37510424)

nope, that was a 8/16/32! basically 68000 with 8 bit data bus externally. sinclair QL used it

19th century (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37502306)

dumbass

Konrad Zuse's work (4, Interesting)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502490)

I'd love to see the designs for Zuse's work [wikipedia.org] digitized as well, even though his real work did get reconstructed. The man independently (re?)invented binary floating point, made the first real programmable computer, all apparently without study or knowledge of Boole or Babbage, simply because he was a civil engineer sick of doing math by hand. That's just awesome and needs to be commemorated.

Difference Engine Video (2)

twokay (979515) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502514)

Excellent video of his "Difference Engine" working http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlbQsKpq3Ak [youtube.com] . Seeing the Analytical Engine working also would be amazing. It's mentioned here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlbQsKpq3Ak&feature=player_detailpage#t=471s [youtube.com] in the video.

Why 'build" it? (0)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502518)

While the cool factor to see it in a room humming away is way off the scale, this is 2011, we don't really need to build it in the physical world just to *prove* something works.

Just model it in a proper 3D CAD and emulate it.. It also would let one iron out the kinks before you send the prints to get the parts machined.

Re:Why 'build" it? (1)

mikejuk (1801200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502598)

You would need a physical simulation - i.e.something that does real material, friction, gravity etc. - to be certain that the thing would actually work. This is a lot of gears, levers and connecting rods and it isn't obvious that it could be made to work.

Re:Why 'build" it? (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502718)

You would need a physical simulation - i.e.something that does real material, friction, gravity etc. - to be certain that the thing would actually work.

Modern CAD environments like Autodesk Inventor and Pro Engineer support that. Generally, you'd model subassemblies with the physical simulator (with friction, torque, stress analysis) to make sure they'd work, then switch debugged subassemblies to kinematic mode, where gears work in an idealized way and big systems can be simulated.

Re:Why 'build" it? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502866)

That is why i added the qualifier 'proper'. Most good CAD systems these days can do that.

Re:Why 'build" it? (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#37503302)

I'd like to have a scaled down model that could fit in my room. After pouring a glass of water into it, I could probably entertain myself for hours, feeding it punch cards and watching it go.

MATLAB Simulation (1)

cmholm (69081) | more than 2 years ago | (#37503374)

My preference would be a simplified simulation, that assumed perfectly solid components, eliminated gravity/friction as variables, "merely" counted the gear steps, and tracked lever/axle angles. Sounds like a reasonable MATLAB/Octave laptop implementation to me, although a visualization of the movements might be a bit over the top without distributing the job over a few (silicon) CPUs.

Re:Why 'build" it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37503610)

Building a machine like this would be great for public display. It would move this from the imaginary world to the real one--and that's a leap that captures people's interest.

Uh Oh (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#37502890)

I guess they'll have to dig up Zombie Ada Lovelace to program it...

Don't buy one! (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37503070)

These will be obsolete the moment it's released.

Re:Don't buy one! (1)

dorianh49 (988940) | more than 2 years ago | (#37506602)

Yeah, but can you imagine a beowulf cluster of these things?

Kept secret as proprietary technology (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37503258)

From the article:

"In the first instance the digitized documentation will be restricted to John Graham-Cumming and Doron Swade for the purposes of Plan 28 and in 2012 will be made available for research purposes and hopefully will have full public availability in due course."

That's a bit much for century-old documents. Fortunately, Plan 25 is open source and on line [fourmilab.ch] , along with a simulator in Java.

Re:Kept secret as proprietary technology (1)

blanchae (965013) | more than 2 years ago | (#37506538)

I found the statement that they are going to delay public availability to be a bit strange. What are they afraid of? Someone is going to beat them to the punch and create a working machine before them?

ücretsiz oto ilan sitesi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37503280)

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Charles babbage Analytical Engine (1)

cancerIFA (2032298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37513140)

Jolly good to hear this project can be actually done but in 1985, The Science Museum in London built his Analytical Engine No. 2. It weighs 2.6 tons and has 4,000 moving parts http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/onlinestuff/stories/babbage.aspx [sciencemuseum.org.uk] Take your kids to see it when you are on holiday in London and tell them to leave their laptops at home....
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