Plan 28: Builder Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine

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Plan 28 is working towards building Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. For the latest news follow the Plan 28 blog.

About the project

For an introduction to Plan 28, read The 100-year Leap or the BBC News article Plan to build 'steam-powered PC'.

Latest information

Spring 2017 Update

Excellent progress to report on the database for the Babbage technical archive. Tim Robinson in the US has produced a searchable database of all catalogued material with related content fully cross-referenced. Each item links directly to the corresponding Science Museum catalogue entry and to the recently available (low resolution) online scans of the originals. This work covers all technical drawings and related Notations (there are some 2,200 Notations for the Analytical Engine). A small amount of material that is known to exist but that is not yet in the Science Museum catalogue remains yet to be done.

Back in London I have completed a review of the 26 volumes of Babbage’s Scribbling Books – Babbage’s scratchpad daybooks. The Scribbling Books comprise 8,100 folio sides each of which has been examined for relevant content...

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Winter 2016 Update

The main activities since last report focus on the original manuscript sources of the Babbage technical archive held by the Science Museum. Since the 19 th century there have been several generations of reference systems, and with the digitisation of the archive in 2011 by the Science Museum, a further layer was added. The reference system now used by the Science Museum will be the de facto standard for future scholarship.

What we are doing is reviewing image by image the entire archive holdings (some 7000 manuscript folios) which include all surviving drawings and notations for the Analytical Engine, to reconcile their filenames and titles with the three or four earlier reference systems, to identify anomalies, relate the descriptions to the physical sources for untraced or missing material, identify phantom entries and omissions, and resolve situations...

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Plan 28 Mailing List now active

Starting today people who asked to be kept informed about Plan 28 and the construction of Babbage's Analytical Engine have started to receive emails asking them to confirm subscription to the official mailing list. People who want to join the mailing list can subscribe here. The official Twitter account is @plan28. Finally, Plan 28 is getting moving. Over the next few weeks expect announcements about initial funding and the general schedule for the project.

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