# Thread: Could you theoretically make a non digital computer?

1. I understand that computer chips and all that are a super effecient way to compress and access data. But could you potentially do the same thing in a less compressed way?

Like I think back to the way medieval robots had peg boards with tight strings attached that could be moved around to achieve different movements. And I was wondering if maybe if you had a large enough pegboard could you say program a full modern video game? I imagine you would need a pegboard about the size of the moon, but could it be done?

2.

3. There are analogue computers based on operational amplifiers, as well as hybrid computers that are a combination of both analogue computer and digital computer.

4. I thought only tvs were analogue. Got any reading material on how analogue computers wirk?

5. Originally Posted by Humility
I thought only tvs were analogue. Got any reading material on how analogue computers wirk?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analog_computer

6. Originally Posted by Humility
I understand that computer chips and all that are a super effecient way to compress and access data. But could you potentially do the same thing in a less compressed way?

Like I think back to the way medieval robots had peg boards with tight strings attached that could be moved around to achieve different movements. And I was wondering if maybe if you had a large enough pegboard could you say program a full modern video game? I imagine you would need a pegboard about the size of the moon, but could it be done?
Lord Kelvin made a special-purpose mechanical analogue computer in the 19th century (for predicting tides). Vannevar Bush constructed a general-purpose mechanical computer (the "differential analyser") in the 1920s-1930s. In its final version, it was capable of solving fifth-order differential equations, if memory serves. Output curves were printed by an x-y plotter. Programming was achieved by assembling gears, linkages and the like to simulate the equations as desired. One had to be handy with a spanner to program these machines.

In WWII, analogue computers were mated with radar and anti-aircraft guns. Newton's laws of motion were solved in real time to aim the guns for maximum effect. The combination was successful at essentially eliminating the threat of V-1 flying bombs, and Hitler stopped wasting money on the weapon. General-purpose circuits evolved that could be configured easily to perform mathematical operations such as scaling, summation, integration, etc.; these came to be known as "operational amplifiers" (op-amps, for short). Analogue computers based on op-amps continued to be manufactured into the 1970s. When chaos theory suddenly became a fad in the 1990s, many researchers dusted off the remaining analogue computers and studied chaos with them. Some still do.

Compression isn't really the main virtue or differentiator. The primary virtue of digital is fidelity in replication. Analogue information suffers degradation in transmission and copying. Digital information can, in principle, be conveyed or stored with arbitrarily low error rates. But you can still do a lot with analogue, as history shows. Remember, all of our technology was analogue until after WWII, and we still managed to get a lot done.

7. a pegboard would produce the same effect as a modern program but instead of pixels and bits and bites you'd get waves on ropes and physical disturbances coordinating to give out a picture

8. Humility, an analog computer can be made with basic mechanical parts and used for mathematical answers and detection of environmental changes. However, it would not be capable of operating today's software since there would be nothing to accommodate such programming, no matter how big it were. For a computer, you cannot combine the technology of the forties with that of the twenty-first century. Modern ones are designed to work to precision with individual bits to form a whole, whereas analog ones are whole to begin with and not nearly as steady or accurate. Primitive computers are too sensitive to manual settings, but current machines often get confused by the trillions of details that those must process.

9. Originally Posted by Theresa
Humility, an analog computer can be made with basic mechanical parts and used for mathematical answers and detection of environmental changes. However, it would not be capable of operating today's software since there would be nothing to accommodate such programming, no matter how big it were. For a computer, you cannot combine the technology of the forties with that of the twenty-first century. Modern ones are designed to work to precision with individual bits to form a whole, whereas analog ones are whole to begin with and not nearly as steady or accurate. Primitive computers are too sensitive to manual settings, but current machines often get confused by the trillions of details that those must process.
Not a bad response for a bot. Some relevant keywords, some historical references, but the non-sequiturs give it away. But the author has managed to pass one phase of a Turing test -- I see 70 posts from Theresa.

10. Tk421, why are you calling me names and annunciating irrelevant information about me that is visible to everyone anyway? What objection do you have to my response to Humility?

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