Analytical Engine

The Analytical Engine was a proposed mechanical general-purpose computer designed by English mathematician and computer pioneer Charles Babbage. It was first described in 1837 as the successor to Babbage’s difference engine, which was a design for a simpler mechanical computer.

The Analytical Engine incorporated an arithmetic logic unit, control flow in the form of conditional branching and loops, and integrated memory, making it the first design for a general-purpose computer that could be described in modern terms as Turing-complete. In other words, the logical structure of the Analytical Engine was essentially the same as that which has dominated computer design in the electronic era. The Analytical Engine is one of the most successful achievements of Charles Babbage.

Babbage was never able to complete construction of any of his machines due to conflicts with his chief engineer and inadequate funding. It was not until 1941 that Konrad Zuse built the first general-purpose computer, Z3, more than a century after Babbage had proposed the pioneering Analytical Engine in 1837.