Charles Babbage was a British civil servant, mathematician and inventor.
An eccentric, famous tinkerer, computer engineer and designer, Babbage invented many early computer devices, including the Difference Engine and the Universal Machine. A prolific writer, he is best known for his Refutations of philosophies on arithmetic, logic and reasoning. In these books, Babbage describes various misconceptions about mathematics and tries to show that those ideas are wrong. In fact, Babbage’s writings are known for their challenging nature, and they offer new insights and interpretations.
Charles Babbage was born in 1844 in England. His mother died when he was very young, so he was raised by his grandparents. He attended the University of Cambridge, where he earned a degree in mathematics, but this did not stop him from devoting much of his life to science. After leaving college, he worked briefly for John Harvard at the Boston University School of Medicine, but he ultimately decided to devote all of his attention to computer sciences. Working with Thomas Alva Edison, Babbage worked out a plan for a new type of electronic computer, which eventually became the first computer in the world.
The Difference Engine was Babbage’s last project. This was a highly complex machine, which used a language of binary numbers to store and manipulate information. The idea was that instead of using large, multi-character keyboards for input, the user would keystrokes. Originally, this machine was to be programmed only for use by trained computer users, but Babbage eventually realized that it would be better if the machine could actually speak. Thus, the language of the Difference Engine took shape.
Many computer engineers and scientists believe that Babbage was ahead of his time. His Model Railroad plans were revolutionary in the time period and helped to popularize the use of computers in science and engineering. The significance of Babbage’s work lies not so much in the creation of the Difference Engine, but in the very idea of programming. The very conception of programming a machine to think, rather than simply be a set of counters was revolutionary. Programs were seen as opportunities to express creativity, problem solving methods, and even emotions in the way a machine thought.
Today, language development is often done in computer programming languages like C++, PHP, and Java. These languages are influenced heavily by Babbage’s ideas and worked much like the Difference Engine did. However, these languages are not nearly as widely used, because most people don’t know how to program in them. Programmers still use C++ for general scripting and basic computer programs, but Java and PHP are more popular. For web programming, Java is still used extensively.
While Babbage’s original plan for his Model Railroad System was never fully realized, it inspired many people to go beyond the basics of programming and create more complicated systems. In fact, some people today completely write their software in a different programming language, such as Java. This is because the simplicity of Babbage’s original system has made it easy for people to get started with creating new programs. On the other hand, programming languages such as C++ and Java require a greater level of knowledge in order to build large programs.
While there are many theories about the creation of Babbage, few actually know for sure what he actually did. The one theory that is most popular is that he designed an early model of a computer and then programmed it using binary and hexadecimal numbers. Some people think that Babbage may have also designed the Analytical Engine. However, there is no concrete evidence to support this claim. Babbage could certainly have had access to these earlier systems, but it is more likely that he based his ideas on previous works.
If you are interested in learning more about programming languages, check out our Learning Portals. The number of computer languages has increased dramatically over the years and there are several new ones being created every year. In addition to having fun learning about different languages, you can also use them to help create new programs. For example, many developers use programming languages to create database driven websites, content management systems, or interactive educational games.