Monday, September 26, 2011

A program waits

Sitting in The Science Museum alongside all the other pieces of Babbagery is something that many people will probably overlook, but which has great significance. It's this:

A pair of stacks of punched cards containing data and a program put together by Charles Babbage. This program has been waiting over 150 years to be executed because the Analytical Engine that would run it was never built.

Just a few more years and the program will be executable.

The data describes a polynomial and the program a method of solving it. More detail about it will come through the research that Doron Swade is undertaking as part of Plan 28

Image Credit: Flickr user lorentey

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If you enjoyed this blog post, you might enjoy my travel book for people interested in science and technology: The Geek Atlas. Signed copies of The Geek Atlas are available.

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