On a recent trip to the London Science Museum I saw Babbage’s Analytical Engine.

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Apparently this had an ALU (or equivalent). Is the Analytical Engine binary? I can build an ALU out of logic gates but I can’t conceptualise how to do it with gears. I’m trying to map across the concepts.

My question is: Can you explain in terms of logic gates how Babbage’s Analytical Engine worked?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Could you be more specific? One could write a whole book on the subject! (Or try to; this thread on Retrocomputing SE suggests that it's not really clear what the design was supposed to be.) $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Apr 17 '18 at 13:59
  • $\begingroup$ That sounds like it would be an awesome book! $\endgroup$ – hawkeye Apr 17 '18 at 21:49

The documentation is quite clear they're still working out what the design was supposed to be.

Taking an approximation - they have developed a Java program to run sample programs. The logic behind the source code shows how it may have worked.


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