Charles Petzold on writing books, reading books, and exercising the internal UTM

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Appearing at Ada's on October 30th

October 4, 2012
New York, N.Y.

Cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. Sorry!

If you've been to the London Science Museum, you've undoubtedly seen this gorgeous piece of hardware built 140 years ago:

Today we classify this as a special-purpose analog computer. You might know what it does, and you might even know how it works, but I suspect you're not aware of the role this machine played in the 19th century debates over Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

This machine is the subject of a book I'm working on and which I hope to publish sometime before the 2020's. Until then, all I can offer is a summary in the form of a talk with pictures and animations that I'll be delivering at my favorite place in Seattle, Ada's Technical Books, on October 30th at 6:30 PM.

I'm going to be in Seattle that week for Build, and if you'll be at Build as well (or just in the Seattle area), drop by, hang out a bit, and perhaps even buy a book.

For a little more information about the content of the talk I'll be giving, check out the Microsoft Press Blog.


Hey! Ada's technical work was programming the difference engine for Charles Babbage, not an analogue computer. Darwin was a completely different Charles. Whichever Charles writes a book about them, the discussion should be held at a bookstore named after the right one's girlfriend.

— not another Charles, Thu, 4 Oct 2012 20:11:09 -0400

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