Difference Engine

A difference engine is an automatic mechanical calculator designed to tabulate polynomial functions. The name derives from the method of divided differences, a way to interpolate or tabulate functions by using a small set of polynomial coefficients. Both logarithmic and trigonometric functions, functions commonly used by both navigators and scientists, can be approximated by polynomials, so a difference engine can compute many useful sets of numbers.

The historical difficulty in producing error free tables by teams of mathematicians and human "computers" spurred Charles Babbage's desire to build a mechanism to automate the process.

Read more about Difference EngineHistory, Operation, Method of Differences, Initial Values

Other articles related to "difference engine, engine":

The 19th Century - Automatic Mechanical Calculators
1822, Charles Babbage presented a small cogwheel assembly that demonstrated the operation of his difference engine, a mechanical calculator which would ... The development of this machine, later called "Difference Engine No ... In 1834, Babbage started to design his analytical engine, which will become the undisputed ancestor of the modern mainframe computer with two separate input streams for data ...
Ada Lovelace - Biography - Charles Babbage
... including socially and in relation to Babbage's Difference Engine and Analytical Engine ... They first met through their mutual friend Mary Somerville Ada became fascinated with his Difference Engine and used her relationship with ... Luigi Menabrea's memoir on Babbage's newest proposed machine, the Analytical Engine ...
Bryan Donkin - Career - Difference Engine
... property, tooling and piece-parts of the difference engine, whose manufacture had been commissioned by Babbage from Joseph Clement ... government authorized the sum of £1200 for a full-scale difference engine with attached printing apparatus based on the design of Per Georg Scheutz and his son Edvard to be constructed by Donkin's company ... Despite the engine's printing unit working badly, the Royal Society and the Astronomer Royal were generally positive when they inspected it on August 30, 1859, expressing their ...
The Difference Engine
... The Difference Engine is an alternate history novel by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling ... Babbage succeeded in his ambition to build a mechanical computer (actually his analytical engine rather than the difference engine) ...

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