Page:Scientific Memoirs, Vol. 3 (1843).djvu/711

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701
ON BABBAGE'S ANALYTICAL ENGINE.

ing more complicated, will in many respects be of simpler construction; and it is a remarkable circumstance attending it, that with very simplified means it is so much more powerful.

The article in the 'Edinburgh Review' was written some time previous to the occurrence of any ideas such as afterwards led to the invention of the Analytical Engine; and in the nature of the Difference Engine there is much less that would invite a writer to take exclusively, or even prominently, the mathematical view of it, than in that of the Analytical Engine; although mechanism has undoubtedly gone much further to meet mathematics, in the case of this engine, than of the former one. Some publication embracing the mechanical view of the Analytical Engine is a desideratum which we trust will be supplied before long.

Those who may have the patience to study a moderate quantity of rather dry details, will find ample compensation, after perusing the article of 1834, in the clearness with which a succinct view will have been attained of the various practical steps through which mechanism can accomplish certain processes; and they will also find themselves still further capable of appreciating M. Menabrea's more comprehensive and generalized memoir. The very difference in the style and object of these two articles, makes them peculiarly valuable to each other; at least for the purposes of those who really desire something more than a merely superficial and popular comprehension of the subject of calculating engines.A. A. L.

Note B.—Page 676.

That portion of the Analytical Engine here alluded to is called the storehouse. It contains an indefinite number of the columns of discs described by M. Menabrea. The reader may picture to himself a pile of rather large draughtsmen heaped perpendicularly one above another to a considerable height, each counter having the digits from 0 to 9 inscribed on its edge at equal intervals; and if he then conceives that the counters do not actually lie one upon another so as to be in contact, but are fixed at small intervals of vertical distance on a common axis which passes perpendicularly through their centres, and around which each disc can revolve horizontally so that any required digit amongst those inscribed on its margin can be brought into view, he will have a good idea of one of these columns. The lowest of the discs on any column belongs to the units, the next above to the tens, the next above this to the hundreds, and so on. Thus, if we wished to inscribe 1345 on a column of the engine, it would stand thus:—

1
3
4
5

In the Difference Engine there are seven of these columns placed side by side in a row, and the working mechanism extends behind them; the general form of the whole mass of machinery is that of a quadrangular prism (more or less approaching to the cube); the results always appearing on that perpendicular face of the engine which contains the columns of discs, opposite to which face a spectator may place himself. In the Analytical Engine there would be many more of these columns, probably at least two hundred. The precise form and arrangement