I’m headed down to Mountain View today to see Difference Engine No. 2 in action at the Computer History Museum (via SF Chronicle). The first machine was built in 2002, over 150 years after it was designed. The machine on display at the museum is the second one built. It has 8,000 parts and weighs 5 tons. It will be demonstrated at 1pm and 2pm today. We’re going to try to catch the early showing.

The Computer Museum website also has some nice biographies of various contemporaries of Charles Babbage, including both collaborators and critics. Ada Lovelace often referred to as the first programmer, collaborated with Babbage. Unusual for a woman in the Victorian era, she was educated in mathematics, as was her mother, Lady Byron.

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