“In the Spring of that year I had the good fortune to visit my friend, Mr Askell, at the Royal Society where they were pursuing development of a computational device using the research of intellectual giants who had gone before. Bright young scientists to’ed and fro’d with metal rods and some articles salvaged from the Martian machines. This device, Askell explained, could perform complex mathematics faster than the most talented idiot savant and I watched in awe as nothing particularly exciting seemed to be happening. “This,” Askell explained, “is the future”.
In the background I could swear I heard the tuts of the luddites of the Royal Society making their opinions known.”
The first Computational Analyser was built in Manchester University in 1900. It drew scientists from afar to view the processes which ran it – whole orders of magnitude faster than Babbage’s engine due to the salvaged Martian technology which powered it. What a Babbage Engine could perform in 3 minutes could be calculated in 3 seconds on the Analyser.
The building of the device was originally opposed by both the Royal Society and the British Association for the Advancement of Science. However it was funded entirely by the Royal Navy and by 1903, there were six analysers in Britain and a further two had been shipped to the Americas each with a full maintenance crew of twenty.
Babbage’s Analytical Engine
Thomson’s Differential Analyser