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

By Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic 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 support specialist in the ...