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Charles Babbage. Engraving of Charles Babbage (1792-1871), British mathematician and inventor of the computer. In 1812 Babbage conceived the idea of mechanically calculating logarithms and subsequently spent most of his life building such machines. He built a small machine in 1822 before beginning the design and construction of a larger 'difference engine'. This project was abandoned in 1833 with only 12,000 of the 25,000 parts made. Babbage then began work on his 'analytical engine' which had a punched card input and mechanical memory and processors. When this project also failed, Babbage designed another machine which was simpler; this also failed to attract funding.
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