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October 31 2012
A Victorian-era device might have jumpstarted the Computer Age more than 100 years before the first personal computers of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. That century-old dream has inspired a British programmer to launch a crowd-funding effort that can finally make the steam-powered "Analytical Engine" a reality.
The early computer concept — a brass-and-iron machine the size of a small steam locomotive — came from the mind of Charles Babbage, a famed mathematician who tinkered with different designs for the Analytical Engine until his death in 1871. The Plan 28 project aims to build Babbage's machine by raising $8 million (5 million in British pounds) over the next 10 years.
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