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From Analytical Engine to Electronic Digital Computer The Contributions of Ludgate, Torres, and Bush

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129402D
Original Publication Date: 1982-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-05
Document File: 12 page(s) / 48K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

BRIAN RANDELL: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

This paper, based on an invited lecture given at MIT in March 1980, discusses the little-known work of Percy E. Ludgate (1883-1922), Leonardo Torres y Quevedo (1852-1936), and Vannevar Bush (1890-1974). These three inventors, who apparently were unaware of one another's existence, were all directly influenced by knowledge of Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, and each played a significant role in the history of the development of program-controlled computers.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1982 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

From Analytical Engine to Electronic Digital Computer The Contributions of Ludgate, Torres, and Bush

BRIAN RANDELL

  (Image Omitted: © 1982 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Permission to copy without fee all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage, the AFIPS copyright notice and the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires specific permission. Author's Address: Computing Laboratory, The University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, England. © 1982 AFIPS 0164-1239/82/040327-341

From Analytical Engine to Electronic Digital Computer The Contributions of Ludgate, Torres, and Bush

BRIAN RANDELL .00/00)

This paper, based on an invited lecture given at MIT in March 1980, discusses the little-known work of Percy E. Ludgate (1883-1922), Leonardo Torres y Quevedo (1852-1936), and Vannevar Bush (1890-1974). These three inventors, who apparently were unaware of one another's existence, were all directly influenced by knowledge of Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, and each played a significant role in the history of the development of program-controlled computers.

Categories and Subject Descriptors: A. 0. [General] -- biographies, V. Bush, P. E. Ludgate, L. Torres y Quevedo; K.2 [History of Computing] - - V. Bush, hardware, P. E. Ludgate, people, L. Torres y Quevedo General Terms: Design, Experimentation Additional Key Words and Phrases:
C. Babbage, Analytical Engine

1. Introduction

This paper, based on an invited lecture given at MIT in March 1980, concerns the work of three men, each of whom played a role in the history of the development of the digital computer that deserves much greater recognition than it has so far received. The three individuals, Percy Ludgate, Leonardo Torres y Quevedo, and Vannevar Bush, have not been selected at random. Roughly contemporaneous, working in three different countries (Ireland, Spain, and the United States), and as far as I know unaware of one another's existence, they nevertheless shared one important and, for its time, unusual characteristic: a full appreciation for the significance of Charles Babbage's planned Analytical Engine.

It has been commonly assumed (see Metropolis and Worlton 1980) that Charles Babbage's work on a mechanical digital program-controlled computer, which he started in 1835 and pursued off and on until his death in 1871, had been completely forgotten and was only belatedly recognized as a forerunner to the modern digital computer. Ludgate, Torres y

IEEE Computer Society, Oct 01, 1982 Page 1 IEEE Annals of the History of Computing...