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"J. R. Molloy" <jr@shasta.com> wrote:

*>
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*> For computing purposes, can we then conclude that "analog" machines have no
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*> use?
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No, definitely not. There are special-purpose analog computers in use all

over the place. Woodworkers use a simple device consisting of a right angle

with straight edge at 45 degrees to quickly and accurately locate the center

point of round stock without measurement. In the days before CAD, draftsmen

used a simple technique to evenly subdivide a distance by angling a rule

until it precisely measured the desired number even units.

*> Are these really "analog," and are they really "computers"?
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The examples I gave are clearly analog, and do compute a result, though they

aren't computers in the programmable, general purpose sense.

*> Is there really no such thing as a real analog computer?
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One of my favorite examples is the "shortest path" problem. Given a 2- or

3-D map, with a list of nodes and arcs, determine the shortest path between

two specified nodes. Digitally, this is a pain in the ass. The analog

solution is trivial: build a scale model of the graph with string. Pinch the

two nodes, one with each hand. Pull hands apart. The distance between the

hands is the length of the shortest path.

-Dave

**Next message:**hal@finney.org: "Investing in artists to get a share of later success"**Previous message:**Jim Fehlinger: "Re: "analog computer" = useless hypothesis?"**In reply to:**J. R. Molloy: "Re: "analog computer" = useless hypothesis?"**Next in thread:**Ken Clements: "Re: "analog computer" = useless hypothesis?"**Messages sorted by:**[ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ]

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