Browse Definitions :
Definition

Charles Babbage

If John von Neumann is the father of modern computing, then the English mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage can be considered its grandfather. Babbage designed, though never built, a Difference Engine and an Analytical Engine, the world's first computing machines.

Babbage worked as a mathematician in Cambridge University where he received his MA in 1817 and later, like Newton, whose mathematical principles he espoused, occupied the Lucasian chair in mathematics. As a scientist, Babbage was obsessed with facts and statistics and lived in a rationalistic world where it was assumed that if all facts, past and present, could be known then all future events were determinable. His statistical publications include "Table of the Relative Frequency of the Causes of Breaking of Plate Glass Windows" and "Table of Constants of the Class Mammalia," the minutiae of which included the heart rate of the pig. Babbage founded the Statistical Society in 1834.

A prolific disseminator of ideas and an eclectic inventor, Babbage's varied range of inventions reflected the diversity of his interests. Fascinated by the railroad, which was invented in his native England in 1823, Babbage devised a standard rail gauge width as well as a cowcatcher (for the front of trains). He also recorded inventions related to lighthouse signalling, code breaking, and the postal system. He founded the British Association for the Advancement of Science and the (Royal) Astronomical Society.

Although remembered today primarily for his calculating engines, Babbage left a legacy in the fields of political theory (he was an ardent industrialist) and operations research (where his 1832 publication, "On the Economy of Manufactures," cataloged the manufacturing processes of the day).

Charles Babbage died in London on October 18, 1871.

This was last updated in April 2005

Continue Reading About Charles Babbage

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures intended to ...

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

  • compliance framework

    A compliance framework is a structured set of guidelines that details an organization's processes for maintaining accordance with...

SearchSecurity

  • Trojan horse (computing)

    In computing, a Trojan horse is a program downloaded and installed on a computer that appears harmless, but is, in fact, ...

  • identity theft

    Identity theft, also known as identity fraud, is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personally identifiable ...

  • DNS over HTTPS (DoH)

    DNS over HTTPS (DoH) is a relatively new protocol that encrypts domain name system traffic by passing DNS queries through a ...

SearchHealthIT

  • telemedicine (telehealth)

    Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the ...

  • Project Nightingale

    Project Nightingale is a controversial partnership between Google and Ascension, the second largest health system in the United ...

  • medical practice management (MPM) software

    Medical practice management (MPM) software is a collection of computerized services used by healthcare professionals and ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchStorage

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification and is used in internally mounted ...

  • kilobyte (KB or Kbyte)

    A kilobyte (KB or Kbyte) is a unit of measurement for computer memory or data storage used by mathematics and computer science ...

  • virtual memory

    Virtual memory is a memory management capability of an operating system (OS) that uses hardware and software to allow a computer ...

Close