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72 09-2011 elektor The Chaos Machine

Summary: 72 09-2011 elektor
The Chaos Machine
Analogue computing rediscovered (1)
For some of us it may be surprising that, before the mid sixties,
hardly any computing in real-time applications was done by a digital
computer. Instead, analogue computers were used because of their
speed and relative reliability. Analogue computers are machines
that are built to behave as the system we want to compute.
A famous example is the Phillips moniac computer from the 1950s [1]
(Figure 1) which used water flow through Perspex pipes to model
the flow of money in an economy. However, in most practical appli-
cations, electronic analogies were used. The word analogue refers
to the behaviour of the computer being analogous to that of the
system we want to simulate. In contrast, the word digital refers to
the process of transforming the behaviour of a system to a stream
of numbers or digits calculated by a numerical algorithm. Although
this is the origin of the word analogue, its meaning has now evolved
to describe anything that is not digital.
Modern analogue computers


Source: Ambaum, Maarten - Department of Meteorology, University of Reading


Collections: Geosciences