Analog Computing

What Does Analog Computing Mean?

An analog computer is a computer or device that uses
physical means, such as mechanical or hydraulic components to do computing
tasks, rather than using electronic circuits to manipulate the results of
digital technologies. Analog computers represented the earliest efforts of
engineers to create powerful computing devices, where digital computers quickly
took over as technologies such as logic gates and circuit boards were
pioneered.

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Techopedia Explains Analog Computing

Early examples of analog computers include Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine and other designs of the era, such as the Jacquard loom. These early computers worked through mechanical processes with physical mechanical parts. Another example is the Enigma machine used to crack German cryptography in World War II. Some types of hardware after that era were said to have bridged analog and physical design, for instance, the widely used punch card systems of early mainframe computers for data input.

While analog computers are largely obsolete, there are still a few efforts to research the use of analog computers in control systems, and for other specialized uses.

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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.