Babbage's Bag
Babbage's Bag


Charles Babbage invented the modern computer and with it started the development of computer science and all the computer technology that we take for granted today. Babbage's Bag is a look at many of the interesting ideas that are at the heart of computing. It's not quite theory and it's not quite practice. It certainly is fun if you give it a chance and it will provide a background of knowledge that it's all too easy to miss.

Turing's Test, the Loebner Prize and Chatterbots
Written by Mike James   
Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Turing Test - it's pure Hollywood. Any time a character in a film wants to impress all they have to mention is the Turing Test. There is even a $100,000 prize, the Loebner Prize, for the first AI to pass the famous test - but this too is mostly Hollywood. With the next Loebner Prize due on September 14th, it's a good time to review the whole situation.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 September 2013
Virtual Memory
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Monday, 10 September 2012

Virtual memory is a way of pretending that your computer has more memory than it really has. But like all good things it comes at a cost. Virtual memory is an example of trading speed for storage.

Last Updated on Monday, 10 September 2012
VPN - Virtual Private Network
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Monday, 04 July 2011

A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is an easy and low-cost way of connecting to your home or company network from anywhere in the world with all of the facilities that a local connection would bring.

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 May 2012
What if Babbage..?
Written by Mike James   
Friday, 26 December 2014

Charles Babbage was born in the eighteenth century - the age of the Industrial Revolution. The calculating machines he invented, although  never fully realized in his lifetime, are rightly seen as the forerunners of modern programmable computers. What if he had succeeded? Babbage already had plans for games arcades, chess playing machines, sound generators and desktop publishing. A Victorian computer revolution was entirely possible. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 April 2015
What is a Turing Machine?
Written by Mike James   
Thursday, 23 November 2017

The Turing machine can compute anything that can be computed. It is the very definition of computation and the fundamental tool for reasoning about computers. You really need to know what it is all about. Here is an illustrated guide.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 November 2017
What Is Computable?
Written by Mike James   
Thursday, 14 June 2018

Performing a computation sounds like a simple enough task and it is easy to suppose that everything is computable. In fact there are a range of different types of non-computability that we need to consider. In this article we try to answer the question of what is computable and what is not. This is probably the fundamental question of computer science.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 June 2018
What's in a DOS
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 14 October 2009

A look at filing systems, blocks and the FAT and how they are used

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 February 2011
XOR - The Magic Swap
Written by Alex Armstrong   
Wednesday, 31 July 2013

We all know that if you want to swap the contents of two variables you need a third temporary variable to do the job - but it can be done with just two with the magic XOR swap.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 August 2013

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