# Definition:Babbage's Difference Engine

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## Definition

**Babbage's difference engine** was an automatic mechanical calculator designed to tabulate polynomial functions.

## Also known as

**Babbage's difference engine** is also seen referred to as **Babbage's engine**.

However, this can be taken to mean either this or **Babbage's analytical engine**, which is a different machine.

Some sources conflate the two machines.

## Also see

## Source of Name

This entry was named for Charles Babbage.

## Historical Note

Because of many factors, personal and financial among others, Charles Babbage was unable to develop his machine as he originally intended.

## Sources

- 1989: Ephraim J. Borowski and Jonathan M. Borwein:
*Dictionary of Mathematics*... (previous) ... (next):**Babbage's engine** - 1998: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(2nd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next):**Babbage, Charles**(1792-1871) - 2008: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(4th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next):**Babbage, Charles**(1792-1871)