Now My Phone Can Do This

Life Nov 4, 1966
Life Nov 4, 1966

In this pic, Guidance Counselor Homer Gammons (right) visits the lab of Western New England College, where municipal water problems are being studied on an analogue computer.

Actually, 50 years later, my phone may not be able to do that. What do I know?

The wisegeek.org tells me that an analog computer works in parallel, which means that it can carry out multiple tasks simultaneously. A digital computer, even though it may work considerably faster, can only perform one calculation at any one instant…The second difference is that an analog computer handles continuous variables, while a digital computer works with discrete numbers. The difference between these is that continuous variables can include every conceivable number, even irrational numbers, such as Π (pi).

That makes my head hurt. Here’s one used at NASA for space and stuff.

http://www.wisegeek.org/
http://www.wisegeek.org/

And this one was used for airplanes. Ain’t she sittin’ pretty?

http://vm136.lib.berkeley.edu/
http://vm136.lib.berkeley.edu/

“Huge Electronic Brain, ten tons of it, which is destined to monitor the design, development, and testing of jet engines of the future, even before they are built, left San Francisco International Airport today (July 6) for Indianapolis and the Allison Division of General Motors. A product of the Berkeley Division of Beckman Instruments, Inc., the analog computer system was loaded on an American Airlines DC-6A Airfreighter, grouped in 29 metal cabinets, six feet high and spanning a width of nearly 60 feet. It is scheduled for arrival tomorrow before noon.” Call Bulletin Library, 7/6/56

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