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Synopsis: A portrait of early nineteenth-century mathematician Charles Babbage describes his efforts to construct the first computing machine more than one century before the invention of the modern computer. Reprint.
Review: What a difference a century makes. Doron Swade, technology historian and assistant director of London's Science Museum, investigates the troubles that plagued 19th-century knowledge engineers in The Difference Engine: Charles Babbage and the Quest to Build the First Computer.
The author is in a unique position to appreciate the technical difficulties of the time, as he led a team that built a working model of a Difference Engine, using contemporary materials, in time for Babbage's 1991 bicentenary. The meat of the book is comprised of the story of the first computing machine design as gathered from the technical notes and drawings curated by Swade. Though Babbage certainly had problems translating his ideas into brass, the reader also comes to understand his fruitless, drawn-out arguments with his funders. Swade had it comparatively easy, though his depictions of the frustrating search for money and then working out how best to build the enormous machine in the late 1980s are delightful.
It is difficult--maybe impossible--to draw a clear, unbroken line of influence from Babbage to any modern computer researchers, but his importance both as the first pioneer and as a symbol of the joys and sorrows of computing is unquestioned. Swade clearly respects his subject deeply, all the more so for having tried to bring the great old man's ideas to life. The Difference Engine is lovingly comprehensive and will thrill readers looking for a more technical examination of Babbage's career. --Rob Lightner
Title: The Difference Engine: Charles Babbage and ...
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Book Description Penguin Publishing Group. Paperback. Condition: Good. A copy that has been read, but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact. The spine may show signs of wear. Pages can include limited notes and highlighting, and the copy can include previous owner inscriptions. At ThriftBooks, our motto is: Read More, Spend Less. Seller Inventory # G0142001449I3N00
Book Description Penguin Books, 2002. Paperback. Condition: Used; Acceptable. We are committed to providing each customer with the highest standard of customer service. All books are picked, packed and dispatched from the United Kingdom. Seller Inventory # PH3298079
Book Description Penguin Books, 2002. Paperback. Condition: Good. Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, may not include cdrom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority!. Seller Inventory # S_187104401
Book Description Penguin Books, 2002. Paperback. Condition: Good. Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, may not include cdrom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority!. Seller Inventory # S_217130133
Book Description Penguin Books, 2002. Trade paperback. Condition: Very good. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 352 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. Seller Inventory # Alibris.0000942
Book Description Penguin (Non-Classics), 2002. Paperback. Condition: Used: Good. Seller Inventory # SONG0142001449
Book Description Penguin Books. PAPERBACK. Condition: Good. 0142001449 342 unmarked readable paperback pages. Seller Inventory # SKU1002425
Book Description Penguin Books, 2002. Paperback. Condition: Used: Good. Seller Inventory # 15553025
Book Description Penguin Books, 2002. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # MB012YX68VK
Book Description Penguin Books, 2002. Paperback. Condition: Very Good. Great condition with minimal wear, aging, or shelf wear. Seller Inventory # P020142001449