Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What difference does that make?

I should start with a question. Have you heard the name: Charles Babbage?

Every now and then, when I key in the letters into the computer, I must, theoretically, be reminded of his invention. I am reminded, although not every time.

Today is significant from that point of view. About 85 years ago, this famous mathematician-cum-mechanical engineer presented his paper on difference engine to the Royal Astronomical Society. Since that day, the age of computing has come a long long way.

And by the way, if you ask what difference did it make after all, the answer is, it used Newton's method for polynomial evaluation that doesn't require multiplication.

All in all, the difference engine of Babbage did make a lot of difference. Didn't it?

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