Difference between Analog and Digital Computer

The idea of the computer has arrived in the greatest mind of history about centuries ago. Then it takes a few decades to implement the idea of the computer. The first digital computer was first invented in 1973. After that, a lot of variation of the computer has arrived based on the need for personal and business uses.

It is hard to pass a single day without a computer. But centuries ago, it was nothing but an idea. The evaluation of the computer can be divided into two-part, which are the analog computer and the digital computer. We will describe both types of computers, along with their differences briefly.

Difference between Analog and Digital Computer

Analog Computer

The analog computer, also called the analog computer, is one of the variations of the computer that arrives with continuously changeable physical properties such as mechanical, hydraulic, electrical quantities to solve a problem. The analog computer has come to service from 1950 to 1960. Instead of discrete values, they use continuous values.

The analog computer can arrive with a vast number of difficulties. In the period of the analog computer, there were no personal uses of it. The computer was used in industrial and scientific applications. Even after the introduction of digital computers, they were used in many applications as they are extremely faster. The uses of the analog computer were continued around the ’60s and ’70s.

The analog computer was vastly used in the flight computer in aircraft, aircraft flight simulator, ships, submarine, refrigerator, speedometer, and different teaching control systems of the college and universities. They are still used in some synthetic aperture radar, and flight simulators around 80 have before the digital computer becomes sufficient for these tasks.

Digital Computer

Digital computers are the ones that can perform a wide variety of computational tasks along with different general-purpose tasks. In the digital computer, the information is represented by various variables that take discrete values. As the name suggests, digital computer works based on the digital signal. The signals are implemented to signify the data as the order of distinct values. Such a computer can take only one finite number of values at a time.

One of the exciting things about the digital computer is it works on two digits, which are zero and one. They are binary digit and known as a bit. The information in these computers is represented as a cluster of bits. The benefits of the digital computer are they are fast, efficient, reprogrammable, and their output is not that affected by outside aspects.

The digital computer is a combination of different hardware and a software unit. The hardware includes the motherboard, RAM, Power Supply, Video/Graphics Card, and much more. Different output and input units can be added to the computer to extend its functionality. Some of the input units are keyboard, mouse, scanner, etc. Some of the output units include the display, printer, etc.

Some of the examples of digital media include calculator, smartphone, laptop, desktop, etc.

Difference between Analog and Digital Computers

Though the idea of computers arrives from the same thoughts, there are considerable differences in the way they work and their functionalities. Check out the difference between the analog computer and digital computer from below.

Signal

One of the aspects that differentiate the analog computer from the digital computer is the type of their signal. There are two states of the digital signature which are on and off. The on signal is typically the high volt when the off state is zero volts. On the other hand, the analog signals are continuous, and they can arrive with any value between two points. The analog signal voltage can either vary with time or stay constant.

Circuit

The digital signal uses several on-off switching circuits, including logic gates, microprocessors, clock pulse generators, etc. On the other hand, the analog computer uses signal generators, op-amps, a network of capacitors and resistors.

Emulation Capability

The digital computer can easily emulate the nature of the analog computer with the assistance of improvised technology. As an example, a program of the digital computer can compute a 2,000 Hz sine wave in real-time with reliability and accuracy. The analog computer simply cannot do this. The analog computers have a very low capability to mimic digital computers.

Noise Level

The analog computers usually arrive with a mentionable level of electrical noise, and the noise can affect the accuracy. The digital systems also come with the electrical noise, but it doesn’t change the performance and reliability that much like the analog computer does. 

Programming

The digital computer and analog computer, both types are programmable. However, they use different methods for this. The programming of the digital computer includes several instructions. The instructions are for various purposes, like moving data from one location another, comparing two numbers, or multiplying two numbers.

To program the analog computer, you will need to connect the sub-systems electrically using the path cables. Such as, you will need to connect a signal generator with a knob, which differs in signal strength.

Availability

There are only a few instances of the analog computer are available till now. More so, the design and components are also available though they are hardly manufactured. On the other hand, the worlds currently run on the digital computer. They are vastly used in different sectors due to the flexibility, efficiency, and reliability it offers. 

Difference between Analog and Digital Computer

Size

The analog computer can arrive at the size of a large book. However, as we also have to count the tall racks laden along with the equipment, the entire size of the analog computer is pretty big. The digital computer can come at different sizes, starting from a notebook size to whole room size. The tiny microchip can be an example of a small-sized computer when the server-centers can be an example of big computers.

Signal Coordination Differences

The digital computers generally synchronize with a master clock, which produces on-off electrical pulses by high-frequency frequency. All the functions in the computer, starting from moving the data to comparing the data, require a specific number of clock pulses. The overall speed of the computer depends on the clock speed.

On the other hand, the electrical signal drifts from one circuit to another without any pre-existing fundamental coordination. As there is a lack of coordination, there can be unpredictable and chaotic behavior in analog computers.

Complexity in Data Storage

Different types of properties of digital computers, including discrete and numerical properties, make storing data simple in the devices. The data can be copied and retained by a memory circuit to another circuit.

Storing the data is pretty tricky in analog devices. That is because the analog systems use the continuous signals which make the stored analog signal to drift with time. That is why the analog signal is generally converted to a number so that it can be stored in the digital circuit as numbers.

The computer is a blessing of technology that has brings revolutionary changes in our life. Though digital computers are mostly used nowadays, we shouldn’t forget the facility of the analog computer during the first periods.

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