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 2016 Update

We have been pecking away at Babbage’s original design drawings for some while now and have found with regret that we are unable to reverse engineer a coherent and consistent understanding of the Analytical Engine from the mechanical drawings alone. There are some 300 drawings and some 2200 Notations – descriptions of the mechanisms using Babbage’s language of signs and symbols. There were three phases of design - early, middle, and late.There is overlap between these, there are ad hoc upgrades, and only fragmentary explanation, where there is explanation at all.

It remains unclear whether any of these three phases is graced by a complete design. This in itself would be unfortunate but not catastrophic as mechanisms can be devised as functional replicas for omissions provided the intended function is fully understood...


Winter 2015 Update

The bicentennial year of Ada Lovelace’s birth falls this year. Preparation for various celebratory events has directed attention to Ada Lovelace’s ‘program’ (1843) to calculate Bernoulli numbers using Charles Babbage’s unbuilt Analytical Engine. A small group including Tim Robinson in the US, Rainer Glaschick in Germany, Bernard Sufrin in the UK (and me) have been collaborating in exploring the ‘program’. Significant progress has been made with many obscurities now illuminated. The study has directed new attention to how the several types of punched card control the internal microprograms on the one hand, and how these functions interface with the user on the other.

The Ada Lovelace bicentennial, celebrated this year, has directed attention to the Analytical Engine through the description of the Engine Lovelace published in 1843...


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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