On the Principles and Development of the Calculator and Other Seminal Writings

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His difference engine of was to be an all-purpose calculating machine.

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Although he received government funding to build a large-scale working model of the difference engine, the project never was completed. By he had developed his ideas for an analytical engine, a computing device consisting of a processing area of wheels and racks, called a mill, for the calculation of decimals. Borrowing the idea of the punch card from the Jacquard mill, he proposed the use of separate card sets, one for controlling procedures and one for storing information that would make the engine "programmable.

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P Babbage's analytic engine was never successfully built. Preview this item Preview this item. Series: Dover classics of science and mathematics. Subjects Babbage, Charles, -- View all subjects More like this Similar Items. Allow this favorite library to be seen by others Keep this favorite library private. Find a copy in the library Finding libraries that hold this item Details Additional Physical Format: Online version: Charles Babbage on the principles and development of the calculator. Reviews User-contributed reviews Add a review and share your thoughts with other readers.

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Print book : English View all editions and formats. My mother had always impressed upon me the necessity of great caution in passing any street-crossing: I went on, therefore, quietly until I reached Tooley Street, where I remained watching the passing vehicles, in order to find a safe opportunity of crossing that very busy street.

In the mean time the nurse, having lost one of her charges, had gone to the crier, who proceeded immediately to call, by the ringing of his bell, the attention of the public to the fact that a young philosopher was lost, and to the still more important fact that five shillings would be the reward of his fortunate discoverer. I well remember sitting on the steps of the door of the linendraper's shop on the opposite corner of Tooley Street, when the gold-laced crier was making proclamation of my loss; but I was too much occupied with eating some pears to attend to what he was saying.

The fact was, that one of the men in the linendraper's shop, observing a little child by itself, went over to it, and asked what it wanted.

Finding that it had lost its nurse, he brought it across the street, gave it some pears, and placed it on the steps at the door: having asked my name, the shopkeeper found it to be that of one of his own customers. He accordingly sent off a messenger, who announced to my mother the finding of young Pickle before she was aware of his loss.

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Those who delight in observing coincidences may perhaps account for the following singular one. Several years ago when the houses in Tooley Street were being pulled down, I believe to make room for the new railway terminus, I happened to pass along the very spot on which I had been lost in my infancy. The other event, which I believe happened some time after the one just related, is as follows. I give it from memory, as I have always repeated it. I was walking with my nurse and my brother in a public garden, called Montpelier Gardens, in Walworth.

On returning through the private road leading to the gardens, I gathered and swallowed some dark berries very like black currants:—these were poisonous.

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On my return home, I recollect being placed between my father's knees, and his giving me a glass of castor oil, which I took from his hand. My father at that time possessed a collection of pictures. He sat on a chair on the right hand side of the chimney-piece in the breakfast room, under a fine picture of our Saviour taken down from the cross. On the opposite wall was a still-celebrated "Interior of Antwerp Cathedral.

In after-life I several times mentioned the subject both to my father and to my mother; but neither of them had the slightest recollection of the matter. Having suffered in health at the age of five years, and again at that of ten by violent fevers, from which I was with difficulty saved, I was sent into Devonshire and placed under the care of a clergyman who kept a school at Alphington, near Exeter , with instructions to attend to my health; but, not to press too much knowledge upon me: a mission which he faithfully accomplished.

Perhaps great idleness may have led to some of my childish reasonings. Relations of ghost stories often circulate amongst children, and also of visitations from the devil in a personal form.

Of course I shared the belief of my comrades, but still had some doubts of the existence of these personages, although I greatly feared their appearance. Once, in conjunction with a companion, I frightened another boy, bigger than myself, with some pretended ghost; how prepared or how represented by natural objects I do not now remember: I believe it was by the accidental passing shadows of some external objects upon the walls of our common bedroom. The effect of this on my playfellow was painful; he was much frightened for several days; and it naturally occurred to me, after some time, that as I had deluded him with ghosts, I might myself have been deluded by older persons, and that, after all, it might be a doubtful point whether ghost or devil ever really existed.

I gathered all the information I could on the subject from the other boys, and was soon informed that there was a peculiar process by which the devil might be raised and become personally visible. I carefully collected from the traditions of different boys the visible forms in which the Prince of Darkness had been recorded to have appeared. Amongst them were—. A rabbit, An owl, A black cat, very frequently, A raven, A man with a cloven foot, also frequent.

On the Principles and Development of the Calculator and Other Seminal Writings

After long thinking over the subject, although checked by a belief that the inquiry was wicked, my curiosity at length over-balanced my fears, and I resolved to attempt to raise the devil. Naughty people, I was told, had made written compacts with the devil, and had signed them with their names written in their own blood. These had become very rich and great men during their life, a fact which might be well known.

But, after death, they were described as having suffered and continuing to suffer physical torments throughout eternity, another fact which, to my uninstructed mind, it seemed difficult to prove. As I only desired an interview with the gentleman in black simply to convince my senses of his existence, I declined adopting the legal forms of a bond, and preferred one more resembling that of leaving a visiting card, when, if not at home, I might expect the satisfaction of a return of the visit by the devil in person.