Victorian ‘supercomputer’ is reborn

Good heavens. Somebody’s gone and built a Difference Engine No 2, the computer Charles Babbage designed 160 years ago. The Beeb reports: Victorian ‘supercomputer’ is reborn.

The reason the machine is so highly regarded is because it is seen as the first attempt at automated computing and viewed as something of a missing link in technology history.

Designed by the 19th Century computer pioneer Charles Babbage, the Difference Engine No 2 is a piece of Victorian technology meant to compute mathematical expressions called polynomials and return results to more than 31 digits, knocking the socks off your souped up pocket calculator.

Added to that it has a printer which stamps the results of its calculations on paper and on a plaster tray.

"You can stand in front of this monster of a machine as a Victorian would have done and still have the sense of wonder a Victorian would have had at that time," marvels Mr Swade. [continue]