The Difference Engine by Doron Swade
Charles Babbage and the Quest to Build the First Computer

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In 1821, Charles Babbage was reviewing a set of mathematical tables with a colleague in preparation for a scientific presentation when, after finding a wealth of errors, he exclaimed in frustration, "I wish to God these calculations had been executed by steam!" With this outburst, Babbage began to envision an end to human errors in the numerical tables upon which finance, trade, science, and navigation relied. The Difference Engine is the fascinating story of his heroic quest, against all odds, to build the first computing machine more than one hundred years before the modern computer we use today was invented.

Set against the politics and science of the explosive early Victorian era, The Difference Engine is a thrilling tale of Babbage's exuberant determination. Like Longitude, The Difference Engine is a fascinating portrait of the human story behind a pivotal moment in history and one of the most influential inventions of our time.

About Doron Swade

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Published March 1, 2000 by Diane Pub Co. 342 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Computers & Technology, Science & Math, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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An account by London Science Museum director Swade (Charles Babbage and His Calculating Machine, not reviewed) of the work and influence of 19th-century English mathematician and inventor who was the first to proclaim the need for computers and describe their basic features.

Jun 24 2010 | Read Full Review of The Difference Engine: Charle...

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His combined knowledge of the history of computing, Babbage's life and work, and his involvement in building a working Babbage engine give him an unparalleled insight into Babbage the mathematician, the inventor and the person.

Jun 08 2009 | Read Full Review of The Difference Engine: Charle...

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