What is Analog computer: Definition and 13 Discussions

An analog computer or analogue computer is a type of computer that uses the continuously changeable aspects of physical phenomena such as electrical, mechanical, or hydraulic quantities to model the problem being solved. In contrast, digital computers represent varying quantities symbolically and by discrete values of both time and amplitude.
Analog computers can have a very wide range of complexity. Slide rules and nomograms are the simplest, while naval gunfire control computers and large hybrid digital/analog computers were among the most complicated. Systems for process control and protective relays used analog computation to perform control and protective functions.
Analog computers were widely used in scientific and industrial applications even after the advent of digital computers, because at the time they were typically much faster, but they started to become obsolete as early as the 1950s and 1960s, although they remained in use in some specific applications, such as aircraft flight simulators, the flight computer in aircraft, and for teaching control systems in universities. More complex applications, such as aircraft flight simulators and synthetic-aperture radar, remained the domain of analog computing (and hybrid computing) well into the 1980s, since digital computers were insufficient for the task.

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  1. The Art of DHT

    Is Analog Computing Making a Comeback in AI Research?

    I am researching self-learning AI, and one of the most talked of solutions is returning to analog computing. Analog computing uses real time changes in voltage and frequency to run calculations or perform functions. Does anyone have any experience in building electronic analog computers based on...
  2. The Most Powerful Computers You've Never Heard Of

    The Most Powerful Computers You've Never Heard Of

    Analog computers were the most powerful computers for thousands of years, relegated to obscurity by the digital revolution. This Veritasium video looks at the history of computers and the differences between analog and digital computers.
  3. V

    What are some examples of circuit simulations with self-managing surges?

    I spend a lot of my time simulating circuits whose salient feature is their tendency to surge. I like all surges, but especially those which have any potential to be managed... http://is.gd/constcurr The non-manageable ones tend to blow up very suddenly... http://is.gd/kaboomopamp My favorite...
  4. K

    Changing circuitry of analog computer *During* simulations?

    I am wondering whether it would be possible for the analog circuitry itself to change DURING the time an analog computer does computations. Over and above the above mentioned question, is it possible that the circuitry itself can change DURING simulations, while this change in the circuitry is...
  5. J

    I Any sources on how to generate a nomogram?

    I've been very interested in analog computers lately, and a simple application of one has come up at work where I simply need to solve for RPM given a part diameter and feed (tangential) speed. It's simple enough to do the calculation in each instance, but I think it would be useful for the...
  6. kostoglotov

    Engineering Does this (textbook) circuit diagram contain a mistake?

    Homework Statement [/B] This circuit solves some differential equation, the question is asking for the equation based on the circuit diagram imgur link: http://i.imgur.com/b1npQSK.pngHomework EquationsThe Attempt at a Solution I refer to the input terminal for -f(t)...the signal from it...
  7. M

    Simulating a simple analog computer?

    Hi, anyone into analog computing? I was wondering if there is an example of a simple virtual analog computer somewhere (open source), I can't seem to find one. I'm interested in basic principles of advancing the state of the network, as you must do on a digital computer. I found some complex...
  8. Z

    HR neuron model using analog computer technique

    Hi Everyone, I am simulating(using HSPICE) HR neuron model using analog computer technique but I am not getting the required response. I am using uA741 model of opamp and MLT04 model of multiplier. I have tested these components individually and they are working fine. I doubt there is something...
  9. D

    Using analog computer to solve 2nd-order diff eq

    I'm trying to build a circuit to solve the differential equation x''+2x'+x = f(t), where f(t) is a sine wave with frequency 5Hz and amplitude 0.5V. I am supposed to get a sine/cosine wave (as the diff. eq is just the same as the ove governing spring-mass forced oscillation) as solution, but...
  10. M

    Can I Build a Homebrew Analog Computer Using Op Amps?

    Hi All, This is a great forum for both newbies and advanced techies alike. I am a senior level tech and I have rediscovered analog computers. I would like to build a homebrew analog computer with op amps, obviously. I have done extensive research and found that detailed schematics are in rather...
  11. M

    Analog Computer Lab: Building a Feedback System

    Hello everyone, I hesitated to post in this section because I couldn't determine if it was more appropriate to post it in the electrical engineering section or in the homework one. Since this is a relatively simple project and counts as homework, I posted it here. However if I am posting in...
  12. E

    Designing Analog Computer to Solve x' + 9x = 3

    I am instructed to design an analog computer to solve the following equation using 2 summing amplifiers and a integrator. I have attached a image of what I've done. I am seeking confirmation of my circuit or hint as to how to proceed. Thanks in advance! eqn: x' + 9x = 3
  13. R

    Help with Prelab Questions for UBC's Analog Computer Lab

    Could anyone help me with the Prelab questions here: http://www.physics.ubc.ca/~phys209/analogue_comp.pdf I'm not asking for you to answer them for me, but I'm having trouble even starting on them. Any help with how to start, how to approach these problems will be very much appreciated...