Friday, 15 Oct, 2010 Technology
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Science Blogger to Rebuild World's First Computer

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In the 19th century, Charles Babbage, English mathematician, philosopher, inventor, and mechanical engineer, came up with the idea of creating a steam-powered Analytical Engine, which is believed to be the world's first computer.

It is worth mentioning that the computer that was conceived back in 1837 is considered to be one of the greatest inventions that unfortunately remained only on paper. This is because the inventor passed away before he could bring the device to life.

However, recently John Graham-Cumming, a programmer and science blogger, decided to actually create the device.

The programmer hopes to raise GBP400,000 ($642,000) in order to build the huge construction made of brass and iron.

Mr. Graham-Cumming looks forward to using the original blueprints of Babbage to create the Analytical Engine. These blueprints are currently contained in a collection of Babbage's notebooks that can be found at the Science Museum in London.

So far the blogger's campaign caught the attention of 1,600 supporters who decided to help raise money for the project.

Mr. Graham-Cumming outlined that Babbage was able to envision this machine about a century years ago, when there was not even such word as computer. "What you realize when you read Babbage's papers is that this was the first real computer," said the blogger, adding that the device features "expandable memory, a CPU, microcode, a printer, a plotter and was programmable with punch cards."

According to computer historian Dr. Doron Swade, the creation of this machine could provide answers to "profound historical questions", such as the question about the possibility of information age during Victorian times.

In case the campaign for raising funds for the project is successful, Mr. Graham-Cumming looks forward to recreate a design known as Plan 28, informs The Daily Telegraph. The first step would be the digitalization of Babbage's designs and figuring out his annotations. The second stage would involve the creation of a 3D simulation of the machine.

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