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  • Mechanical computer

    While browsing BBR (can't find the post), I ended up here and here. Rather amazing.


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    «That looks like a really nice house except for that horrible bathroom.» Donrhos

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  • #2
    Re: Mechanical computer

    Only watched half or so of part 1 but this is very cool. Very very interesting how all this works.

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    • #3
      Re: Mechanical computer

      oooooollllddddd but interesting. Everything this computer does is probably done in an instant many times over by your cell phone.
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      • #4
        Re: Mechanical computer

        These are fascinating. They show an essentially "analog" computer using gears, shafts, and cams to implement an adder, multiplier, and integrator. Unlike a digital computer, the results are continuous and realtime.

        The 1953 presentation is slow by today's standards, but I've noticed the same change of pacing going from a 1980 comedy (say, Mel Brooks' old films) through mid-80's films like Airplane to the very fast pacing of today's movies. So perhaps the film wasn't that slow by the standards of its day.

        Also note all the animation of annotations on top of the gears. There was no digital film editing back then. That had to all be done by slow and laborious methods and lots of expensive optical mixing (playing two films while filming with a 3rd piece of film in a special box).
        Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

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        • #5
          Re: Mechanical computer

          Going from an analog computer (like gears) to a digital computer (like your cell phone) involves some non-trivial math. I spent quite a bit of time at MIT looking at the adaptations you must do when converting formulas from continuous time to discrete time. (Alas, that was decades ago, and I've forgotten most of it.) For many applications the difference isn't that important, but precision automation (what I do) does care about the fine print. So does landing munitions on a constantly changing target while minimizing collateral damage.
          Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

          snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

          Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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