Security Encyclopedia

Charles Babbage

Charles Babbage was an English multidisciplinary scientist who is considered to be one of the fathers of the computer.

Babbage built a mechanical computer, or a device made of levers, gears, or other moving parts that could compute perform automated calculations rather than a device made of modern computer hardware. The more advanced of his former iterations of a functioning mechanical computer was his Analytical Engine, the 1837 successor to his earlier Difference Engine. These devices could be programmed to perform a set of operations and indeed he proposed his Analytical Engine as a general purpose computer that had more than just straightforward mathematical (such as financial) calculations.

Babbage is perhaps the foremost contributor to our concept of a modern computer. He is instrumental to our current thinking, having created a computer that is a mechanical prototype to today’s differently-designed computers, for example having several applications to its use.


“Charles Babbage’s mechanical variant of today’s computer was similar in its ability to execute on a program, and laid the foundation for general-use computing as we know it.”