30 Nov '17, 8pm

IEEE

IEEE

Photo: Mark Richards/Computer History Museum In 1950, the physicist Arnold Nordsieck built himself this analog computer. Nordsieck, then at the University of Illinois, had earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, under Robert Oppenheimer. To make his analog computer for calculating differential equations, the inventive and budget-conscious Nordsieck relied on US $700 worth of military surplus parts, particularly synchros—specialized motors that translate the position of the shaft into an electrical signal, and vice versa. Nordsieck’s “Synchro Operated Differential Analyzer” was one of many electro-mechanical and electronic analog computers built in the 1950s. Compared with their digital counterparts, they were generally far faster at solving things like differential equations. In Nordsieck’s machine, the synchro units provided mathematical functions like...

Full article: https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-history/dawn-of-electronic...

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