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Charles Babbage (1791 – 1871)


English mathematician, analytical philosopher and the first computer scientist who originated the idea of a programmable computer.
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Charles Babbage
It is difficult to estimate the misery inflicted upon thousands of persons, and the absolute pecuniary penalty imposed upon multitudes of intellectual workers by the loss of their time, destroyed by organ-grinders and other similar nuisances.
Babbage quotes
It is therefore not unreasonable to suppose that some portion of the neglect of science in England, may be attributed to the system of education we pursue. A young man passes from our public schools to the universities, ignorant of almost every branch of useful knowledge; and at these latter establishments classical and mathematical pursuits are nearly the sole objects proposed to the student's ambition.
Babbage
As soon as an Analytical Engine exists, it will necessarily guide the future course of the science. Whenever any result is sought by its aid, the question will then arise by what course of calculation can these results be arrived at by the machine in the shortest time?




Babbage Charles quotes
Errors using inadequate data are much less than those using no data at all.
Babbage Charles
Mr. Herschel brought with him the calculations of the computers, and we commenced the tedious process of verification. After a time many discrepancies occurred, and at one point these discordances were so numerous that I exclaimed, "I wish to God these calculations had been executed by steam," to which Herschel replied, "It is quite possible."
Charles Babbage quotes
The whole of arithmetic now appeared within the grasp of mechanism.
Charles Babbage
If we look at the fact, we shall find that the great inventions of the age are not, with us at least, always produced in universities.
Babbage Charles quotes
On two occasions I have been asked, "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" In one case a member of the Upper, and in the other a member of the Lower, House put this question. I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.
Babbage
Every moment dies a man,
Every moment 1 1/16 is born.
Babbage Charles
Propose to an Englishman any principle, or any instrument, however admirable, and you will observe that the whole effort of the English mind is directed to find a difficulty, a defect, or an impossibility in it. If you speak to him of a machine for peeling a potato, he will pronounce it impossible: if you peel a potato with it before his eyes, he will declare it useless, because it will not slice a pineapple. Impart the same principle or show the same machine to an American or to one of our Colonists, and you will observe that the whole effort of his mind is to find some new application of the principle, some new use for the instrument.
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