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Re: Analog Computers - General description (long)

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  • joshbensadon
    ... Thanks Herb, Your good words are always a welcomed sight. Yes, I have much reading to do. The online book referenced by Mike appears to be a real gem,
    Message 1 of 18 , Sep 8 5:53 PM
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      --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "s100doctor" <hjohnson@...> wrote:
      > To answer the original question, about the nature and use of electronic analog computing. If you are interested enough, obtain some books on the subject from the era. Many engineering books about analog computing are available cheaply from Amazon - cheaper than

      Thanks Herb,

      Your good words are always a welcomed sight.
      Yes, I have much reading to do. The online book referenced by Mike appears to be a real gem, especially since this Analog Computer is an EAI model. I did a search for "Analog Computer" on Amazon and got 3,000+ hits. Can you help me out with a known title?

      Further, would you know if schematics can be found for these old computers, sorry I don't have the exact model number. If you do have these schematics in your collection, please name your price.

      Cheers,
      Josh
    • joshbensadon
      ... Mike, Thanks! That s a great place to start. As usual, I have much homework to do... so I ll be here in the corner, quietly reading if anyone wants me.
      Message 2 of 18 , Sep 8 5:58 PM
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        --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, Mike Loewen <mloewen@...> wrote:
        >
        > You might start with "The Handbook of Analog Computation":
        >
        > http://www.analogmuseum.org/library/eai_handbook.pdf
        >
        > Also on that page are dozens of manuals, handbooks, tutorials and
        > lectures about analog computing:
        >
        > http://www.analogmuseum.org/english/library.html
        >
        >
        > Mike Loewen mloewen@...


        Mike, Thanks! That's a great place to start. As usual, I have much homework to do... so I'll be here in the corner, quietly reading if anyone wants me.

        I'm going to search around that site to see if they might even have schematics for this EAI computer.

        Cheers!
        Josh
      • s100doctor
        ... I just saw your message, about two weeks after you posted it. Contact me privately, if you want specific things from me, Josh. I don t read this MARCH list
        Message 3 of 18 , Sep 24 10:02 AM
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          --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, joshbensadon wrote:
          >

          > Thanks Herb,
          >
          > Your good words are always a welcomed sight.
          > Yes, I have much reading to do. The online book referenced by Mike appears to be a real gem, especially since this Analog Computer is an EAI model. I did a search for "Analog Computer" on Amazon and got 3,000+ hits. Can you help me out with a known title?
          >
          > Further, would you know if schematics can be found for these old computers, sorry I don't have the exact model number. If you do have these schematics in your collection, please name your price.
          >
          > Cheers,
          > Josh

          I just saw your message, about two weeks after you posted it.

          Contact me privately, if you want specific things from me, Josh. I don't read this MARCH list on any regular basis, or engage in long discussions on it in general. That's simply not what I do, why that may be is not particularly relevant except to say it's nothing to do with you.

          Also, I can't follow exactly what schematics you are looking for, and how on the one hand you have some kind of EAI computer, but on the other hand don't know what model it is.

          I'm sorry you find the learning situation about them, to be complicated and with an unclear path. That's the nature of technology which is obsolete, generally used only by scientists and specialists, and largely documented only in books from the period. And from a period before personal computers and digital networking of any kind - not that most of that would help.

          Since I'm of that obsolete and ancient time, and I was an engineer, I know something about it. But not something I can point to easily, that's in one book, or that can be learned by reading one or two books.

          Sorry, but that's not my fault. It's old, it's complicated, it involves knowledge about things. Without that knowledge, operating an analog computer will make no sense at all, and seeing it run will be incomprehensible. It was difficult at the time, that knowledge is still difficult today. I can't reasonably think of an easy way to get around those circumstances - either about the background knowledge needed, or the operational knowledge to use such things, as they are almost IDENTICAL - and entirely unlike personal computing today.

          herb
        • joshbensadon
          ... Please let me explain. It s not my computer, but it belongs to the York Univeristy Museum operated by Zbigniew Stachniak. I only get to work on this
          Message 4 of 18 , Sep 24 3:13 PM
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            --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "s100doctor" <hjohnson@...> wrote:
            >
            > Also, I can't follow exactly what schematics you are looking for, and how on the one hand you have some kind of EAI computer, but on the other hand don't know what model it is.
            >

            Please let me explain. It's not my computer, but it belongs to the York Univeristy Museum operated by Zbigniew Stachniak. I only get to work on this machine once a week or every two weeks, and I didn't get to see the exact model of it. Zbigniew told me the model number last week, but my lack of short term memory strikes again.

            I'm not in any rush to learn all about it, I'll just take my time and enjoy the ride. I've already found some information online (thanks to the posts in this group).

            PS. My contact with Zbigniew should also be credited to Bill and Evan's Hope presentation. I live 10 minutes from York and have been visiting the campus for years but have never known about their Vintage Computer Museum until now.

            Cheers,
            Josh
          • Evan Koblentz
            ... Awesome. Tell Zig I said hello.
            Message 5 of 18 , Sep 24 3:37 PM
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              >>> My contact with Zbigniew should also be credited to Bill and Evan's Hope presentation. I live 10 minutes from York and have been visiting the campus for years but have never known about their Vintage Computer Museum until now.

              Awesome. Tell Zig I said hello.
            • B. Degnan
              ... Univeristy Museum operated by Zbigniew Stachniak. I York, PA? ... Hope presentation. I live 10 minutes from York and have been visiting the campus for
              Message 6 of 18 , Sep 24 6:51 PM
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                > >
                >
                > Please let me explain. It's not my computer, but it belongs to the York
                Univeristy Museum operated by Zbigniew Stachniak. I


                York, PA?

                >
                > PS. My contact with Zbigniew should also be credited to Bill and Evan's
                Hope presentation. I live 10 minutes from York and have been visiting the
                campus for years but have never known about their Vintage Computer Museum
                until now.
                >

                I live kind of close and would be interested to drive out some time to
                check it out.

                http://www.cse.yorku.ca/museum/

                What's actually on display there?

                Bill
              • Evan Koblentz
                ... Toronto, Canada.
                Message 7 of 18 , Sep 24 7:01 PM
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                  >> York, PA?

                  Toronto, Canada.
                • joshbensadon
                  ... No, York University in Toronto, Ontario. ... I m a newbie at old computers, so I ll probably miss a few key systems. I think Zbigniew s favorite is the MCM
                  Message 8 of 18 , Sep 24 7:42 PM
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                    --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "B. Degnan" <billdeg@...> wrote:
                    > York Univeristy Museum operated by Zbigniew Stachniak. I
                    >
                    >
                    > York, PA?
                    >

                    No, York University in Toronto, Ontario.

                    > What's actually on display there?
                    >


                    I'm a newbie at old computers, so I'll probably miss a few key systems.
                    I think Zbigniew's favorite is the MCM 70 computer, he wrote a whole book on it. There are lots of other systems as you saw in the web link you provided, but I'm not sure what's worth mentioning? Dynalogic systems? There's some of the the more familiar common systems, but several word processors and obsure ones I don't remember the names of. But there is a whole line of MCM computers. These were based on the 8008 and when that processor became too slow, they went the way of emulating the processor with faster logic chips so they wouldn't have to re-write software.

                    Anytime you're in Toronto, I'd be happy to show you around.

                    Cheers,
                    Josh
                  • Jim Scheef
                    Josh, Did you ever get any response to your question? I think of an analog computer as a device that models a problem and thus calculates the answer by
                    Message 9 of 18 , Dec 8, 2012
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                      Josh,

                      Did you ever get any response to your question?

                      I think of an analog computer as a device that models a problem and thus 'calculates' the answer by varying inputs to the model and then measuring an output. Accuracy depended on the accuracy of the model which could be rods and gears or electric circuits or both. Analog computers that are used today include tide clocks or the more common clocks what show the phase of the moon (location is one of the inputs). Big analog computers in the 30's were used to 'solve' multiple differential equations. Artillery tables are the most common example from WWII.

                      The Wikipedia article is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analog_computer

                      Jim

                      On 9/7/2012 7:50 PM, joshbensadon wrote:
                       

                      I'm trying to learn something about these old computers. First of all, do they actually follow program steps? I always equated the term computers with something that can follow directions, calculate numbers, make decisions based on the results. How were these old computers used? Who used them? etc.


                    • Bob Schwier
                      ________________________________ From: Jim Scheef To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com Sent: Saturday, December 8, 2012 9:44 AM Subject:
                      Message 10 of 18 , Dec 8, 2012
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                        From: Jim Scheef <scheefj@...>
                        To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Saturday, December 8, 2012 9:44 AM
                        Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Analog Computers - General description

                         
                        Josh,

                        Did you ever get any response to your question?

                        I think of an analog computer as a device that models a problem and thus 'calculates' the answer by varying inputs to the model and then measuring an output. Accuracy depended on the accuracy of the model which could be rods and gears or electric circuits or both. Analog computers that are used today include tide clocks or the more common clocks what show the phase of the moon (location is one of the inputs). Big analog computers in the 30's were used to 'solve' multiple differential equations. Artillery tables are the most common example from WWII.

                        The Wikipedia article is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analog_computer

                        Jim

                        On 9/7/2012 7:50 PM, joshbensadon wrote:
                         
                        I'm trying to learn something about these old computers. First of all, do they actually follow program steps? I always equated the term computers with something that can follow directions, calculate numbers, make decisions based on the results. How were these old computers used? Who used them? etc.
                        We still used analogue computing systems in the Navy in the 1970's.  Each synchro could be adjusted with a pot which
                        one tweaked in with a small screwdriver.  When one got the last pot tweaked in one went back and started over to
                        make sure that the whole system was still in alignment.  The system was hard wired with no significantly changeable
                        components.
                        bs


                      • Ken
                        ... I just happened to have discovered this great video a couple of days ago. It s a 50 s US Navy instructional film about the mechanical computers they used.
                        Message 11 of 18 , Dec 8, 2012
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                          On 9/7/2012 7:50 PM, joshbensadon wrote:
                          >I'm trying to learn something about these old computers. First of all, do they actually follow program steps? I always equated the term computers with something that can follow directions, calculate numbers, make decisions based on the results. How were these old computers used? Who used them? etc.

                          I just happened to have discovered this great video a couple of days ago. It's a 50's US Navy instructional film about the mechanical computers they used. It's really eye-opening and very high quality. (It gets to the meat about two minutes in.) For me, it demonstrated the analog/mathematical approach, in contrast to the digital/logical approach I grew up learning.
                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1i-dnAH9Y4

                          - Ken
                        • s100doctor
                          ... http://www.eugeneleeslover.com/VIDEOS/fire_control_computer_1.html It looks like the site linked above is a primary Web source for WWII and later Naval
                          Message 12 of 18 , Dec 10, 2012
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                            --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, Ken <kenzolist@...> wrote:

                            > I just happened to have discovered this great video a couple of days ago. It's a 50's US Navy instructional film about the mechanical computers they used. It's really eye-opening and very high quality. (It gets to the meat about two minutes in.) For me, it demonstrated the analog/mathematical approach, in contrast to the digital/logical approach I grew up learning.
                            > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1i-dnAH9Y4
                            >
                            > - Ken
                            >
                            http://www.eugeneleeslover.com/VIDEOS/fire_control_computer_1.html

                            It looks like the site linked above is a primary Web source for WWII and later Naval fire control computer documents. It may be the original source for the video referenced above, or certainly an earlier one.

                            These control computers used rotational position (radius vs angle) as means of expressing an analog function. One input variable was a cam on a shaft; two input variables was a surface on a cylinder. By cascading, you could have several variables per output. The video series shows this, and the Navy textbooks on the site above explain further.

                            Mechanical computers like this were "programmed" by manufacture; one design equals one program. Electronic analog computers were programmed by wiring panels and adjusting components, as well as by design or by hard-wire. Hybrid analog computers, made the connections and adjustments digitally.

                            I knew nothing about the above, until I did some Web searching based on the reference first given. It's good to see more ancient technology on the Web. In this case, advanced WW II technology, digitized from books and films.

                            Herb Johnson
                          • William Donzelli
                            ... I think some of these are originally from the Historic Naval Ships Association. There is a group of us ship geeks that are also trying to save and archive
                            Message 13 of 18 , Dec 10, 2012
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                              > http://www.eugeneleeslover.com/VIDEOS/fire_control_computer_1.html
                              >
                              > It looks like the site linked above is a primary Web source for WWII and
                              > later Naval fire control computer documents. It may be the original source
                              > for the video referenced above, or certainly an earlier one.

                              I think some of these are originally from the Historic Naval Ships
                              Association. There is a group of us ship geeks that are also trying to
                              save and archive the technology, bitsavers style.

                              > These control computers used rotational position (radius vs angle) as
                              > means of expressing an analog function. One input variable was a cam on a
                              > shaft; two input variables was a surface on a cylinder. By cascading, you
                              > could have several variables per output.

                              There is also a class of fire control computers that used linear
                              displacement of levers and linkages, rather than rotation. These
                              machines were much cheaper to make, but not quite as accurate. And of
                              course, there were hybrids of all sorts. I had a small collecton of
                              small machines and assemblies at VFC East number 2.

                              Trivia - there are two Mk 4 Torpedo Data Computers still in active
                              service, in the Taiwan Navy. They have been in near continuous service
                              since 1946.

                              --
                              Will
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