Charles Babbage And His Engines

765 Words Jul 17th, 2016 4 Pages
The author, Wilkes, of this journal article reviews and criticizes Charles Babbage and his engines. The title of the journal questions the current position Charles Babbage is known for, the father of computing. Wilkes considers Babbage a “great uncle” of computing science instead of the father and gives further details as in to why. The author doesn’t only criticize Babbage’s work but also informs the readers on how they operate and what their function is. According to the text, Babbage’s first difference engine was “not a very good idea (Wilkes 15).” The difference engine only functioned to do two different tasks which are to compute and tabulate polynomials. This basically states that the difference engine could compute mathematical tables, but further reading attacks this claim. In order for the difference engine to be able to compute, Babbage had to do a great amount of “paper and pencil computation in order to calculate the coefficients to be set on the engine (Wilkes 15).” As a result, one can criticize that the difference engine doesn’t exactly work out mathematical tables on its own without the help of the conductor. One could argue that, because of the time period, the difference computer wasn’t made to reduce human labor but to actually mechanize computations. The author also elaborates onto the rough years Babbage had on his creations towards his engine. During the year 1832, Babbage had a dispute with his engineer and production of the engine hindered (Wilkes…
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