We live in an analog world. There is an infinite amount of colors to paint an object. There is an infinite number of tones we can hear, and there is an infinite number of smells we can smell. Here, common among all of these analog signals is their infinite possibilities. In the same way there are two types of computers: Analog Computer and Digital Computer.
Digital signals and objects deal according to discrete or finite values. That could mean just two total possible values 0 and 1. Thus, in the real world, entities are displaying data, gather inputs by either analog or digital means
While working with electronics means dealing with both analog and digital signals, inputs, and outputs. Here, we will cover the basics of analog computer.
Definition of Analog Computer
An Analog computer is a computer which uses continuously changeable entities like mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, etc. These were first used at the time of the 1950s–1960s. They do not use discrete values but use continuous values. Thus these computers work on an analog signal. Also, these signals are the continuous signals with a time-varying feature of the signal.
Analog computers are in use for some specific applications, like the flight computer in aircraft, ships, submarines, and some appliances in our daily life such as refrigerator, speedometer, etc.
Definition of Digital Computer
These are the computers which perform various computational as well as some other general-purpose works. The information in such computers is represented by variables taking a limited number of discrete values. These computers work on a digital signal. These signals represent data as a series of discrete values. But, at any given time it can only take on one of a finite number of values.
Specifically, digital computers use the binary number system, which has two digits i.e., 0 and 1. A binary digit is called a bit. Thus, they represented and store the information in the groups of bits. Main advantages of a digital computer are their accuracy and fast speed.
Also, these are re-programmable and their outputs are least affected by outside disturbances. Some examples of digital computers are desktop, laptop, calculators, smartphones, etc.
Types of Analog Computers
- Slide Rules
It is the simplest and most recognizable mechanical analog computer. It is the device for approximating basic mathematical calculations. The user slides a hashed rod to line up with various markings on another rod. They read the device on the basis of the lineup of various hash marks.
- Differential Analysers
It is a famous mechanical analog computer and is able to solve differential equations. The differential analyzer was refined in the 1930s. The machines are large in comparison to modern computers.
- The Castle Clock
It is a good representation of the various uses for mechanical analog computers. It was invented by Al-Jarazi and it was capable of saving programming instructions. A computational portion of this device allowed users to set the variable length of the day based on the current season.
- Electronic Analog Computers
Modern analog computers are using electrical signals flowing through various resistors and capacitors. These are not using the mechanical interaction of components. The voltage of the signal provides the displays. Electronic analog computers are also widely in use for computing and military technology.
An Overview of Analog computer
Analog computers were the earliest computer machines developed. These were also among the most complicated machines for analog computation and process control. Analog data is not discrete, but rather is of a continuous nature. It is an important fact that analog computer uses continuous values and not discrete values.
Analog computers are also immune to quantization noise, which is not the case with the digital one. Programming on an analog computer involves the transformation of the problematic equations into the analog computer circuit.
Thus we can conclude with certain advantages associated with analog computers. Real-time operation and simultaneous computation are also possible with the help of analog computers. Analog computers can also provide insight into the problems and errors in case of analog issues for users.
Solved Question for You
Q. Give some famous examples of analog computers.
Ans. Some examples are operational amplifiers, mechanical integrators, slide rules, tide predictors, electric integrators, etc. These are in use to solve the problems related to partial differential equations, electronic machines, and also neural networks.