British mathematician and inventor of an analytical machine based on principles similar to those used in modern computers.
British mathematician who is considered a pioneer of computer science. In 1837 Babbage described an idea for the analytical engine, a machine that could be programmed with punched cards to perform complex calculations. Although Babbage never finished building the analytical engine, his idea is recognized as the forerunner of the modern computer.
One of the most famous individuals in mathematical history with regard to the “prehistory” development of the computer. His Difference Engine No. 1 was, in fact, the first successful automatic calculator. Because the latter was thought to be one of the better precision-engineered devices of its time, Charles Babbage is sometimes referred to as “the father of computing.” Born in London, England, on December 26, 1791, Charles Babbage was a gifted young student of algebra who entered Trinity College in Cambridge, England, in 1811. There he reportedly was more advanced than his mathematical tutors. In his twenties, Charles worked as a mathematician in the field of calculus, and in 1816 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society. Shortly thereafter, he helped to start the Royal Astronomical Society, at which point he acquired an interest in calculating machinery, which became his creative obsession until his death. Charles Babbage Institute. Exhibits: Who Was Charles Babbage? [Online, January 23, 2004.] Charles Babbage Institute Website. http://www.cbi.umn.edu/exhibits/cb/ html.