Babbage's Difference Engine and other historic computers

Polynomial calculations

Babbage designed his difference engine to calculate and tabulate the value of seventh order polynomials to 31 decimal places. His intent was to eliminate the possibility of human error when calculating printed mathematical tables.

Photo credit: Jitze Couperus


Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...