Rebuilding a 19th-Century Computer: One Programmer's Quest

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Here at GeekTech we'll often cover future technology, but it's not often that we to go back to the 1830s. In 1837, Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace began work on what they called the Analytical Engine, what would have been the World's first computer. Unfortunately, it was never completed. But one programmer and blogger, John Graham-Cunning, plans to rebuild the machine and get it running under the alias Plan 28.

John plans to totally rebuild the computer from Babbage’s blueprints and use Lovelace’s program. But to get it up and running, he’s going to need $640,000, which he is hoping to raise through kind donations. To make it even more challenging, his deadline for people to sign up to pledge just $10 each is January 2011. That’s one dedicated Babbage fan.

Once he has built it, he has said on his donation website that it will be donated to “a museum in Great Britain” for all to see. Hopefully, he will hand it over to the London Science Museum, so it can stand proud next to the original, incomplete one.

If you want to see part of computing history recreated, consider donating to Graham-Cunning's project. We can't wait to see how it turns out.

In Video: Charles Babbage's Difference Engine: The First Computer

[via Gizmodo; Photo: John Graham-Cunning]

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