An 1840 design for the Analytical Engine by Charles Babbage
© Science & Society Picture Library/Getty Image
Visionary 19th-century technology. Computer Science EDU Week
In the decidedly pre-digital 19th century, English polymath Charles Babbage developed his design for an Analytical Engine, a machine that incorporates many of the functional ideas of modern computers. The diagram in our photo today shows the plans for the inner workings of Babbage's mechanical computer. Construction was difficult and expensive, given the precision required for the crafted metal parts, so Babbage tinkered on his own but died before he saw his vision realized. Engineers have since built working models of Babbage's machine.
We bring you this bit of 'ancient' computer history to mark the first day of Computer Science Education Week. The observance is intended to help demystify computer science and encourage K-12 students of all backgrounds to explore coding and other high-tech disciplines to bring more equity and creativity to the world of computer science.