Differential Analyzer

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Related to Differential Analyzer: Electronic Differential Analyzer, EDVAC

differential analyzer

[‚dif·ə′ren·chəl ′an·ə‚līz·ər]
(computer science)
A mechanical or electromechanical device designed primarily to solve differential equations.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Differential Analyzer

An analog calculator built in the 1930s by Vannevar Bush at MIT. Designed to solve differential equations, it was used in World War II to calculate ballistics tables that showed the trajectory of a projectile over distance. Containing more than a thousand gears, the machine took up an entire room. It was tediously programmed by physically changing the gears with a screwdriver and wrench, and the output was displayed as graphs. As the gears wore over time, the machine introduced inaccuracies, yet it was a remarkable breakthrough and the fastest computational tool of its kind. No more than a dozen Differential Analyzers were built.

Bush With His Differential Analyzer
Although programmed with a screwdriver and wrench, Bush's Differential Analyzer was a breakthrough in its time. (Image courtesy of The Computer History Museum, www.computerhistory.org)
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References in periodicals archive ?
Practical use of the differential analyzer requires the ability to combine the output of two or more integrators.
In many cases when our forefathers modeled differential equations on a differential analyzer they were in search of a first glimpse at the solution of the differential equation.
The most popular question asked when our mini differential analyzer is viewed for the first time is "How do you know what equation is being solved?" From a broader and proactive perspective, the question becomes "How do we program the machine to model the desired equation?" In this section we describe the machine setup for an equation that describes dampened harmonic motion,
Since the completion of the construction of our two integrator mini differential analyzer in Spring of 2006, the Team has had the opportunity to travel with Lizzie and talk about this historical concept of mechanical integration.
Bush, The differential analyzer, a new machine for solving differential equations, J.
Bush and S.H Caldwell, A new type of differential analyzer, J.
Thus the differential analyzer would note when an otherwise useful design would be likely to incur manufacturing difficulties or unacceptable machining costs.
Still, both types of programs use an expert module, some form of differential analyzer, and a dialog generator.
The student or user model plots the student's current skill level and conveys this to the differential analyzer that determines which of the skill-overlays to utilize.
Looking for counterparts in critics for these theories of bugs, one finds most of the critics built to date are enumerative and contain large, fixed catalogs of bugs that serve astriggers that lead the differential analyzer to fire criticisms.
These include differential analyzer, expertise module, dialogue generator, text files, user model, and interface.
This is because the differential analyzers now do the following:

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