Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tim Robinson joins Plan 28

I'm pleased to announce that Tim Robinson has joined Plan 28 as a trustee. Tim is the man behind these incredible Meccano Babbage engines and is extremely knowledgeable about the details of Babbage's machines.

His bio:

Retired engineer Tim Robinson maintains a strong interest in the early history of computing, particularly mechanical computing devices, and is actively involved in the restoration of these early machines and in the construction of working replicas of Charles Babbage’s conceptual designs. 
Since its arrival in 2008, he has devoted much of his time to Charles Babbage's Difference Engine No.2 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, where he is responsible for the presentation, operation, and maintenance of the engine. 
In 2003 Tim demonstrated a working model of the beautiful fragment of Babbage’s Difference Engine No.1, constructed in Meccano. After publicizing the design, the model has been replicated several times around the world. In 2006, he demonstrated a working model of the calculating section of Difference Engine No.2, also constructed in Meccano. Capable of tabulating a 4th order polynomial, this model closely follows Babbage’s design and reproduces all its essential features.  More recently, Tim has demonstrated working models of significant sections of the Analytical Engine, including the anticipating carriage, and the microcoded control mechanisms. 
In 2008, Tim was honored as a John Deaver Drinko Distinguished Visiting Professor at Marshall University, WV, for his work with undergraduate students to recreate a mechanical analog computer based on the original Bush differential analyzer, to be used as a calculus teaching aid. 
Tim retired in 2003 from Broadcom Corporation, where he led a group responsible for the development of Broadcom’s range of WiFi wireless networking chipsets. Oxford educated in Physics, he entered the computing field in 1980 in the UK, where, as co-founder of High Level Hardware Ltd., he designed a user-microprogrammable computer system for developing novel programming languages. He moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1989, and has held senior engineering positions at a number of Silicon Valley startup companies.


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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