Charles Babbage

1791 - 1871

Charles Babbage was a mathematician, philosopher, inventor, and designer, who came up with the concept of a programmable computer.

He invented the first automatic mechanical computer, the Analytical Engine, but never managed to construct in its entirety any of the vast mechanical calculating machines he designed. This was partly because of cost and partly because of limitations in methods of manufacture. Some of Babbage's original uncompleted mechanisms are on display at the Science Museum in London. The Analytical Engine designs embody just about every logical principle of the modern digital computer.

In 2002, a perfectly functioning Babbage Difference Engine was completed Science Museum. The Engine was built from Babbage's original plans dating from the late 1840s. The fact that the Engine works as Babbage intended and was built with parts no more precisely made than Babbage himself was capable of, established the logical soundness of the design and proved that had Babbage built his Engine, it would clearly have worked.

Inventing the first mechanical computer.