The Most Powerful Computers You've Never Heard Of

Dipublikasikan tanggal 29 Peb 2024
Analog computers were the most powerful computers for thousands of years, relegated to obscurity by the digital revolution. This video is sponsored by Brilliant. The first 200 people to sign up via get 20% off a yearly subscription.
Thanks to Scott Wiedemann for the lego computer instructions - • LEGO Logic Gates - Hal...
Antikythera Archive & Animations ©2005-2020 Images First Ltd. • The Antikythera Cosmos "The Antikythera Cosmos" (2021) follows the latest developments from the UCL Antikythera Research Team as they recreate a dazzling display of the ancient Greek Cosmos at the front of the Antikythera Mechanism.
Tides video from NASA -
Ship animation from this painting -
Moore’s Law, the op-amp, and the Norden bombsight were filmed at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.
Freeth, T., Bitsakis, Y., Moussas, X., Seiradakis, J. H., Tselikas, A., Mangou, H., ... & Edmunds, M. G. (2006). Decoding the ancient Greek astronomical calculator known as the Antikythera Mechanism. Nature, 444(7119), 587-591. -
Freeth, T., & Jones, A. (2012). The cosmos in the Antikythera mechanism. ISAW Papers. -
Cartwright, D. E. (2000). Tides: a scientific history. Cambridge University Press. -
Thomson, W. (2017). Mathematical and physical papers. CUP Archive. -
Parker, B. B. (2007). Tidal analysis and prediction. NOAA NOS Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services. -
Parker, B. (2011). The tide predictions for D-Day. Physics Today, 64(9), 35-40. -
Small, J. (2013). The Analogue Alternative. Routledge. -
Zorpette, G. (1989). Parkinson's gun director. IEEE Spectrum, 26(4), 43. -
Tremblay, M. (2009). Deconstructing the myth of the Norden Bombsight (Doctoral dissertation). -
Gladwell, M. (2021). The Bomber Mafia. Little, Brown and Company. -
Mindell, D. A. (2000). Automation’s finest hour: Radar and system integration in World War II. Systems, Experts, and Computers: The Systems Approach in Management and Engineering, World War II and After. Edited by A. C. Hughes and T. P. Hughes, 27-56. -
Haigh, T., Priestley, M., & Rope, C. (2016). ENIAC in Action. The MIT Press. -
Soni, J., & Goodman, R. (2017). A mind at play: how Claude Shannon invented the information age. Simon and Schuster. -
Haigh, T. & Ceruzzi, P. (2021). A New History of Modern Computing. The MIT Press. -
Rid, T. (2016). Rise of the Machines: a Cybernetic History. Highbridge. -
Ulmann, B. (2013). Analog computing. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag. -
Special thanks to Patreon supporters: Dmitry Kuzmichev, Matthew Gonzalez, Baranidharan S, Eric Sexton, john kiehl, Daniel Brockman, Anton Ragin, S S, Benedikt Heinen, Diffbot, Micah Mangione, MJP, Gnare, Dave Kircher, Edward Larsen, Burt Humburg, Blak Byers, Dumky, , Evgeny Skvortsov, Meekay, Bill Linder, Paul Peijzel, Mac Malkawi, Michael Schneider, Ludovic Robillard, jim buckmaster, Juan Benet, Ruslan Khroma, Robert Blum, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Vincent, Stephen Wilcox, Marinus Kuivenhoven, Clayton Greenwell, Michael Krugman, Cy 'kkm' K'Nelson, Sam Lutfi, Ron Neal
Written by Derek Muller, Stephen Welch and Emily Zhang
Filmed by Derek Muller, Emily Zhang and Raquel Nuno
Animation by Fabio Albertelli, Jakub Misiek, Mike Radjabov, Ivy Tello, Trenton Oliver
Edited by Derek Muller
Additional video supplied by Getty Images
Music from Epidemic Sound and Jonny Hyman
Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev and Emily Zhang

Komentar: 10 000

  • I'm absolutely fascinated by these old mechanical computers. There was no software back then to design them, the device was designed within someone's imagination. Truly incredible.

    • They were designed on paper using methods and instruments that were practiced for years. Imagination alone was never enough. We have always used tools to supplement the deficiencies of our bodies and minds. Software is merely the latest tool.

    • I'm sure the ancient alien astronauts visiting us had workstations on their UFOs that could run Autocad.

    • Your comment doesn't make much sense. Even right now when you are designing something you need to visualize the outcome before writing the code for the task. So this has been happening in the past and in the present and will continue to happen in the future. You can't design something without imagining it in your head first.

    • A mechanical computer is simply a scale model simulator of the process under consideration. Its components are assumed to represent all of the forces involved in the real world process, but some aspects might have been overlooked. As the narrator said, an analogue computer is specific to the problem being solved, hence there is no concept of software.

    • Ok

  • My mom used to work on an analog computer in the 1940's. She worked in a comptometer office when they got this "new machine." She never called it a computer but as She described it my mouth nearly dropped. I was in college learning programming at the time and we had recently gone over the history of computing. She said it had a bunch of wires and plugs and dials and flashing lights. Her boss couldn't figure it out so he gave her the manual to figure it out.

  • I dropped out of school, regrettably, but whenever I find your channel while scrolling, I always seem to pay more attention than I did in school. You've taught me more than most of the people who were paid to teach me, and for that I appreciate you V, keep up the good work!

    • No worries, school does not have anything to do with wisdom, inteliigence etc. and the knowledge can be fill in

  • I used and helped develop analog computers in 1960's and early 70's. Gun aiming analog mechanical computers used gears and wheels . It considered ship vector and speed and distance to target. The disk/ball mechanism for integration mentioned were also part of it. Electronic ones used tube then transistor operational amplifiers with resistor input and feedback for aritmatic plus capacitor feedback for calculus anf special diode networks in input for trig. And so on. Moon landing simulator we made combined analog (to "think" ) and digitals with control for in/ out. Civil engineers and auto companies used analog pc's to optimize suspensions and roadside slope grading. Plotters as large as beds drew plans and curves far more accurate than primitive digitals. I used m9 in USAF.

    • The firing solution computer on the USS North Carolina is impressive. It also considered temperature, barometric pressure, delta in altitude (for targets on cliffs), rotation of the earth, and roll of the ship.

    • And now a digital computer, very small can do all this calculation very quickly, less costly and much easier to maintain. I did two tours on DDGs that were converted DLGs and we had a 5" gun that used this old analog system, but everything else ran on digital computers. The accuracy of the 5" gun wasn't great. I did a tour on an FFG with a 3" gun and it could put a round through a window of about 1sq. m at quite a distance. It ran on a digital computer. I was a DS, Data Systems Tech, and worked with these digital computers and different systems involved in CIC. Out system changed names a couple times and eventually it got eaten up into an integrated weapons system when AEGIS came about. I REALLY enjoyed working on this equipment (1980 - 2000) and I've followed computer technology ever since. The need for ever more powerful computers does not require that a transistor keeps shrinking and this is a fallacy that different people who follow computer technology have spread (what we do when we can no longer shrink a transistor). The fact is when a transistor hits that point it will use such a small amount of electricity that ICs can become much larger as long as clock speeds are low enough. But this brings up the problem of failure rate for die being produced from a wafer, where the larger the die is the higher in percentage is for unusable die from the wafer, since every wafer has imperfections. So we have now moved to chiplets, so a CPU can be made of multiple chiplets and this solves so many problems, along with being able to stack one die on top of another, and eventually probably being able to produce multi layer die that I see most of this talk about the need to move away from digital along with moving away from silicon wafers as sensationalism and nothing more. A bigger problem for digital computers has been and will be how fast memory is. CPUs have to do a LOT of work to try to predict what data/instructions will be needed and fetch it from memory and load it into cache on the CPU which works much faster. If memory could be sped up to where it could run even 1/2 the speed of the CPU cores that amount of performance boost would be VERY impressive and it would simplify the CPU because you wouldn't need so much branch prediction and prefetching, flushing an instruction pipeline with a branch prediction is wrong, etc........

    • @@tango_uniform Also pitch, wind direction and speed, for a gun if I remember correctly. Even in launching SAR missiles, you need pitch and roll to get the missile going in the correct trajectory

    • I hope you have watched the video narrated by Spock titled “The Last Question”. If youre an AC pioneer, you’ll appreciate it. You guys are the golden age of engineering. Hats off.

    • In 2000s, I helped to disassemble a big modular analog computer from 70s. It was pretty universal in its day, but mostly used to model the transients during a big electric motor startup. A big 20x20 switchboard, few electric drums for variable coefficients, everything an engineer could have wished for. As the students, our task was to grab the equations it was modelling and port it into MATLAB. A paltry Pentium-2 PC was quite faster and much more precise than that giant machine. After the model was ported, we together with the faculty's staff disassembled the computer and moved its modules into the humidity-controlled storage. They wanted to preserve them for history. Wonder if it's still in there...

  • I’m always amazed at how these guys were able to figure this stuff out so long ago. I had a hard enough time trying to understanding FFT and Laplace transform in my engineering classes today and I still feel like I don’t have a good hold.

    • Probably because they didn't have social media, the internet, smartphones, and television as constant distractions and it was actually possible for them to spend time thinking critically and creatively. Plus, all of those things, when used in an unhealthy way, can literally cause symptoms of addiction, literally change brain circuitry, and inhibit your ability to focus and think deeply. Tech companies deliberately design all of those things to be addictive.

    • @@geisaune793 if you don’t think they had wild distractions back then, which older people also constantly complained about. I have this bridge in New York, I can sell you for dirt cheap. The exact way you derisively describe modern electronics as a distraction, is the way the older generation of their time derisively described distractions such as: radios, going to a movie theatre, sports, watching street performers, drinking, dating, etc… “The(My) older generations were better” mentality has been a well documented social problem since the 1700s. If you were an older man after WW2, you would have likely been with most others in society, publicly & angrily calling the younger *WW2 veterans* : “The Scared Rabbit Generation.” A claim mostly due to them staying home with their modern distractions, and “being scared of public places.” (Cartoonist, & WW2 veteran, Bill Maudlin was one of the biggest 1950s-60s voices in calling out the hypocrisy.)

    • @@cjwrench07 You may notice that Fourier lived 200 years ago. Not to mention Laplace

    • @@dmitripogosian5084 and those guys had just as many distractions as we have, just different types. Having Money, or hanging around money to get funding/money, was just as much of a freedom granter as today. If there wasn’t time for distractions for the average earners, how do we explain the sheer amount of religious, social, and alcohol establishments in basically every single small town or bigger city that’s investigated?

    • ​@@cjwrench07 I agree with you in this type of thinking - people hundreds of years ago had quite similar needs and feelings like we have today, so we can guess their ambitions, joys etc. We just live in another system and we have new tools for dealing with problems. But I see some difference between today's entertainment and that time entertainment bunch of years ago. So today we bring our entertainment with us, in our pockets, or we have it in our houses in the form of smartphones, computers, game consoles and such. It makes people quite lazy, because if they want to spend some time playing, watching movies, listen to music or such, they have just to turn the device on. And there is no big resistance for a person to do this. It's just easy. Years ago people had to put in a little more effort to have fun. They had to go to someone if they wanted to talk with her/him. They had to go somewhere to listen to beautiful music or watch a theater play or a movie. I'm not talking about huge differences but I think this is understandable that young people today open eyes and mouths wide when they hear how much work people did 150...350 years ago just to solve one problem. Also I think that today's school doesn't work as good as it would and discourages young people from learning. Education system in many countries, including my homeland - Poland, is based on standards of Prussian school 200 years ago. The main purpose of this system is to create educated and obedient society and not exactly curious. (sorry for my language mistakes if they're terrifying, I'm still learning English 😅)

  • As a US Navy reactor operator of 60s-era nuke submarines, I am recalling that subs had a large number of analog computers, from bow to stern, so to speak. In my own training for my specialty, we were told of magnetic amplifiers (mag-amps) used in German gun directors, that still worked perfectly after being recovered from sunken ships. Part of my work was checking and correcting as needed, the micrometer settings of certain variable circuit components in a particular analog computer that was absolutely vital to the operation of a nuclear submarine engineering plant. In the meantime, we did manual calculations with a slide rule and graphs, to determine when the reactor should go critical. (all of these submarines were turned into razor blades decades ago, so no useful classified information is in this remark)

    • Razor blades?

    • the classic submariner's lament...when a sub is decommissioned and turned into so much scrap metal, the end result of which is the sub is remanufactured into other steel products...we say, she was turned into razor blades (a trivial end to a once formidable machine. @@CCDNNewsNetwork

    • That's truly fascinating.Thank you for ur service

    • Thank you for your service, swabee! Charlie Lord USN

    • You can only get stories like that on ID-tv. Thanks mate.

  • This is a phenomenal explainer!

    • Maybe a scientist

    • What’s up checkmark?

    • Glad to see you watching another great creator. Love both your videos, for slightly different reasons lol

    • Well you're a good explainer too, you're just usually 3-4 drinks in before you film it.

    • How to drink bro I'm thirsty

  • Absolutely great video! The first person who added sine waves with Scotch Yoke was not William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) but Francis Bashforth (1819-1912). He built a Fourier synthesizer in 1845 for purely math purposes (equation solver). When Kelvin's tide predictors started to become famous he tried to make his priority known but it didn't work very well. His paper "A description of a machine for finding numerical roots of equations" was reprinted in 1892.

  • These scientists were absolute GENIUSES and I’m just blown away at their accomplishments

    • It's incomprehensibly easier to become a data scientist today

  • I was a field engineer for Electronics Associates Inc., the largest manufacturer of analog computers in the 60's and 70's. I traveled all over, but the last year was at NASA Ames. Among other things, the navigation 8-ball used in the Apollo program was developed on our computers. They were state of the art at time time. We later combined them with digital computers. The complex computations were handled with ease on the analog portion and the raw number crunching was done on the digital computer. All together we had around 15 large scale analog computers on site at NASA Ames filling entire rooms and involved in all aspects of their various missions from spaceflight to life science studies. Analog computers speak to engineers in their language--mathematics. Digital computers require interpretation between languages.

  • Excellent presentation. When I was doing my aerospace masters in 1981, I had a project to simulate an unstable combat aircraft and then to add the effect of an active control system to stabilise and control it. This was all analogue using potentiometers and amplifiers. The reason was that analogue computers have the immediate response needed to bring a dynamically unstable systems under control without introducing nuisance and limit cycle oscillations. All artificial stability systems for aircraft at the time had an active end built as an analogue computer, even if the pilot input end was still digital. It was a very powerful lesson. As my tutor observed, in general with digital systems you can have fast or you can have powerful. With analogue computing, it's possible to make the sensor the source of power (as in aerodynamic servo tabs, the BAe146 regional jet has an entirely analogue pitch control system involving a devious concoction of pneumatic, aerodynamic and inertial devices), the result can be both fast (=responsive) and powerful.

  • I had no idea about the history of tide computations. The presentation of the Fourier application is the best video that I ever saw. Even if I hadn't taken Calculus 30 years ago, there would have been a lot of understanding imparted from the stunning visual aids. The video also provides an appreciation of the genius (1% inspiration and 99% perspiration) of earlier generations.

  • 07:10 ''a number of pulleys'' (SmarterEveryDay heavy breathing Intensifies)

  • What a great talk. I remember hearing a story about analog computers for use in naval gunnery; they were used to keep the guns level at the target in rolling seas. When they tried to replace them with digital computers they found the digital computers were too slow to compensate for the movement of the ship, and had to go back to analog controls. It took a couple of decades of digital computer development before the digital computers were fast enough to replace the analog ones.

    • I’m glad you brought that up. This video states the problems with analog but did not mention the huge advantage and that is speed. An analog computer can solve VERY quickly, which is why they were so effective for use on gun sights against dive bombers.

  • Amazing how much effort is put into your videos be it the history, working and structure behind complex machinery, the animations, editing and the list goes on....

  • This video made me remember the clocktowers of Neal Stephensons Anathem. Still a favourite book.

  • It's amazing how smart those guys were who calculated the tides.

  • Your sentence about analog computer being "anaolg for only one type of problem" at min 17.24 just left me speechless. Great content, and amazing narration

  • The ball and disk integrator actually blew my mind. I cannot believe such a thing has existed and I only ever heard about it now. What a beautiful machine.

    • For those interested, May I suggest books 📚 like “1800 mechanical movements, devices and appliances” which give an amazing insight into the variety of complex mechanical movements possible in that realm.

    • @@tomorrow6 Yes that Ball and Disk was really neat, I thought I knew about all the fundamentals in this area. That 1800 movements book is really cool too. Any other sources of roots concepts like that, feel free to post'em : ) also hoping I don't miss it when the new part 2 video comes out

    • I WANT ONE!

    • Same thought I had. I had never heard of this. it's such a brilliant idea

    • Honestly, I don't think it would be too hard to come up with this idea. It follows pretty naturally from the fundamental theorem of calculus, which basically says that you have to translate the height of the input into the slope of the output. I was more impressed by the pulley thing. Now that is neat!

  • I am a meteorology student and my university is very old fashioned. I had to do a lab course for meteorological instruments, and one of them involved using an analog computer to measure the humidity. The device contained human hairs and the computer was able to measure how much the hairs stretch and draw a graph of the humidity. The tutor asked me beforehand what I expected to see, and I said an exponential curve, and the thing really did draw a perfect exponential curve. I remember both my partner and I were kind of fascinated by it even though nobody would ever actually use such an archaic device anymore. Thinking about analog computers reminds me of another professor who claimed that every single physical thing that happens is a measurement, which is why the wave function in quantum mechanics collapses when it's observed. Thinking about it, building devices to mimic these measurements that God and the universe is constantly making makes a lot of sense.

    • And now imagine that in your brain such images of the world are created by a variety of interactions between neurons. I think human brain is some kind of an analog computer, too. It's really fascinating! ❤

    • hair hygrometers are archaic? Out of the mouths of babes. Humidity transmitters using horse tail hair are still in use today and are generally more stable than the electronic sensors. The horse hair does not stretch. It elongates as it absorbs moisture. The hair bundle is maintained under a gentle stress, just enough to keep the hairs from becoming loose. The only one I know of that can rival a horse hair hygrometer is the chilled mirror technique. In this device colimated white light is directed at a 45 degree angle to a front surface mirror cooled by a Peltier junction. The light is reflected off the mirror to a photoelectric detector. The control circuitry controls the Peltier device to maintain a slight decrease in light which indicates a thin film of dew is on the mirror. The temperature of the mirror is the dew point. The (analog) electronics can convert the dew point into relative humidity when needed. I have a horse hair dew point transmitter in my display case that is 90s vintage. It's output is to control the current in a current loop to between 4 and 20ma. That's a standard analog measurement range. It used to be 10-50ma but to reduce power consumption in large control systems, the 4-20 ma was standardize. The compliance voltage is usually 45 volts so many consumers of the signal may be connected in series. Voltage operated instruments used dropping resistors across their terminals to develop the voltage. Most indicators and analog control elements use the current signal directly. The entire reactor control and protection system of the Sequoyah nuclear plant near Chattanooga, consisted of a large room full of racks of analog computing elements. Square root extractors to linearize the differential pressure signal across an orifice plate flow measurement. Integrators and differentiators. PID controllers. Alarms (devices which closed contacts when the current exceeded a setpoint, voters (selected the highest or lowest of several inputs) and so on. Construction was started in 1970 and it went commercial in about 1978. It was only 3 years ago that Westinghouse replaced the analog control system with a multiply redundant custom-designed computer system.

    • Based on flat non moving earth. Same as astroLabe. FYI

  • I've been watching your channel for years, and some of the videos are hit and miss for me, but this Analog series may your greatest uploads yet. This is revolutionary. Thank you for sharing, I will be looking forward to part 2

  • Went to look for part two. Very disappointed its not there yet. Cannot wait. Love your channel.

  • Wow crazy well researched and presented video derek! Very thought provoking and quite the interesting series of events and stories. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Your videos are well done, entertaining and engagingly informative, Thanks 👍 Regarding analogue computing, good regarding unambiguous discrete phenomena

  • As a total software person I find these mechanical devices so fascinating and clever. Those people coming up with them were geniuses.

    • Yea no doubt. The more I learn the more it becomes apparent our whole human world is a massive construction standing on the shoulders of countless geniuses. It’s just mind boggling how clever the differential machine is alone.

    • This is more like mechanical clock

    • Talk about “hard-coded” 😉

    • it also helps to understand that because mathematics dogma was driven towards physical representations of equations before the advent of digital computing, that it would be a lot more intuitive for people at the time to make mechanisms that perform equations !

    • same here man, I cannot even understand how would they come up with those elegant solutions, but they did and it moved humanity forward!

  • Man, such immersive information and explained in a very understandable manner is just awesome.

  • Totally immersing Veritasium! Your graphics are world class and the concepts you introduce absolutely enthralling. Thank you.

  • Wonderful stuff! I also love the peculiar irony of all these ingenious analogue devices being modelled by (admittedly very fast) digital programs - all those composed graphs, ray-tracings and 3D models... Is that a positive feedback loop? LOL. As others have already remarked, we are really at the start of a new era of scientific understanding. Congratulations. See yourself as a pioneer!

  • The video is so detailed, that it takes double the time to understand.🧐🧐 Love the knowledge you provide.❤❤❤

  • Unbelievable the effort that goes into the 3D animation segments. May I ask what software you use to model?

  • Chris from "Clickspring" is building an Antikytherean mechanism and has been building it using period tools and techniques to the best of the experts knowledge...the ww1/2 analog firing computers are still incredibly advanced and smartly built tbh. They are just insanely accurate for as little input as they take and what they can interpret and output for solutions

    • He's also writing a paper about it as he's figured some stuff about it no knew previously if I remember rightly

    • That's a beautiful channel.

    • Ha I was going to mention this. :3

    • Interesting

    • Very, very interesting my brother

  • @Veritasium another reason why it took so many shells in WW1 was that many (if not all) planes were cloth covered, and could remain airworthy taking hundreds of hits. The only effective way to bring down a cloth plane is to damage the engine or kill the pilot. Love the video! Just wanted to bring this up

  • I've wondered how and when there would be a merging of digital and analog with infinite data points ever since being annoyed at stairstepping in printed fonts. Applications in photography and visual displays as well as audio would be just the beginning that people can easily imagine. The more profound advancements would come from what most of us have never imagined.

    • Yes! This is the way

  • thanks for canning the "mugging" (like that roper guy) and upping the quality of the graphics and for doing more in-depth research

  • Thank you for what you do @Veritasium! You are truly an inspiration to me to stay curious!

  • Who created these animations? Very nice work.

  • This was astoundingly relevant to--almost a summary of--my History of Science: The Digital Age course, for which I have a final for tomorrow. This video is practically a 'further reading' section. Thank you for this.

    • Good luck

    • You will ace it

    • Good luck! Although it depends what part of the world you live in, a final on the week of Christmas sure is rough. Hope you at least get New Years off!

    • Hmm yes indubitably

    • You are as lucky as Lord Kelvin.

  • Okay, I really like the way this guy does sponsored content. Instead of slapping it in the middle where it interrupts content, he puts it at the end! That's a very respectable thing to do! And for my opinions on the rest, it's really interesting seeing how mechanical computers work! I've always had a fascination with stuff like clockwork, and what is a clock but a basic mechanical computer? Thank you for this video!

  • Now you touched one of the most fascinating topics for me. Thank you!!

  • Thank you for this. Super interesting and presented in a super engaging way, as it always is.

  • Great video ! Waiting for part 2. Not sure why Turing’s efforts weren’t included. Hoping to see them in part 2.

  • Analogue computers have never really died off. There are some great videos on old naval ship firing solution solvers and they are some awesome analogue computers.

  • When I was learning to be an engineer back in the early '70s, analog computers were on the way out the door. Large-scale integration was beginning, and Moore's Law was a new concept that my professor's predicted was going to revolutionize computers. Fifty years later I am retired after a career in digital computing, and now I find that analog is making a comeback. I am looking forward to part 2; I know enough about analog computer that I can anticipate some of the application for which they will be useful. I suspect the improvements in electronics, and perhaps even 3D printing of components will produce new and sophisticated analog machines. Makes me wish I was 20 again, so I could have a second career in analog! Please keep making these videos - you are doing valuable work. 👍

    • Absolutely. Although I personally suspect that 3D printing will take a back seat to modern CNC machining -- "computer numerical control" -- use a digital computer to control a lathe or mill (or yes, a 3D printer) to build the parts for an analog computer. 3D printing plastic parts is great, but I'd rather have a precision machined piece out of aluminum or brass. And just as an example (that I googled; I am not an expert in either field), a typical 3D printer has a resolution of 140 microns, while precision machining can get below 5 microns

    • You rule!

    • Thank you for your work, sir.

    • Nice that you share this with us! What a time to have been in digital computing, all those changes. I hope you see still more evolution happening. Must be exciting, for me it is anyway, though I'm only 40 years old:)

    • Can you give a young engineer like me a bit of perspective on what's coming up? I'm at least a year away from graduation and can really use some help!

  • I had to come back and watch this one again after your recent video on FFTs. This is really fascinating.

  • I am constantly humbled by the enormous amount of work and ingenuity that went into machines I have taken for granted.

  • as an instrumentation control technician it’s cool seeing my field of work and the fundamentals/history of instruments be talked about it gives you another level of understanding and interest

  • Please, wanna see that 2nd part! Keep it up. Great Channel!!

  • I'm so impressed with your ability to disect any subject no matter how complex, like this one. My brain stumbles and spins trying to keep pace, but at leat I manage, only thanks to your excellent work! I was sure I already was subscribed, but I wasn't! I corrected that immediately!

  • crazy how they predicted the tides back then

  • Analog computers were used in Poland in the 70's and 80's. Saw that at the technical university in the 90's as a curiosity. You brought those memories back.

  • Vannevar Bush led the differential analyzer project at MIT and Claude Shannon was his student at the time, who also contributed greatly to the analog computer work. Shannon's work later at Bell Lab with his colleagues during WWII was actually on Fire Control (anti-aircraft gun aiming problem in the video). :)

  • Gosh, I was worried the music won't stop as I really wanted to watch this. Thank you very much. 😊

    • Oh..... I spoke too soon. 😢

  • Cool, beautiful work. Excited for part 2.

  • Agreed, absolutely fascinating. Wish I had known this in high school as an excellent example of why its useful to know how functions work.

  • I exclaimed at my TV when you showed the rotary ball integrator. What a beautiful system!

    • my small brain cannot understand how this mathematically works

    • @@marc-antoineb.2125 same here

    • @@marc-antoineb.2125 same, but the pulley and the ball thing looks cool

    • I got chills when they turned it into a Fourier transformer by oscillating the platform. Ingenious, and so simple!

    • @@wsshambaugh also with the pulley system to add all the functions

  • This channel is my favorite youtube channel. I wish you stay prosperous and make educational videos.

  • Thanks for a great vid! I always think of it as : Analog tells you how much. Digital tells you how many.

  • Wow! Lots of good info here, both the science and the history. Thanks.

  • Wow, this is so informinga and not one bit outdated

  • thx...the fourier thomson part is amazing ..hope further explaining happens to this part in the future .

  • It's so crazy how adding or multiplying sine waves, something that's as simple as punching values into a calculator today, used to require some unbelievable engineering. I mean, just the notion of such an advanced mechanical computer makes my head hurt. The things we do today would be seen as magic many years ago. Great video!

    • This comment sparked a big boy thought in my brain. Thank you!

    • You need to punch in a whole lot of numbers in that calculator to do a fourier transformation. The fact that it was analog is ideal for fourier transformations instead of doing a lot of calculations the next calculation comes from turning the wheel slightly. No wonder these where still used in the 1960'ties.

    • Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. (Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke's 3rd law)

    • Obviously there must be an external input, but you don't necessarily need to do everything manually, like in a calculator. If you already know the formulas that you will follow, you can create a web panel / etc to facilitate it to the user.

    • Isn't this undermining the fact that a calculator is an even greater feat of engineering?

  • My first view of an analog computer was of a Central Air Data Computer (CADC) made by Bendix Corp. It was enclosed in a clear plastic bubble to show us (airmen in an Aircraft Instrument Systems class at Chanute AFB) back in '65-'66 what we would be dealing with in fixing the F105 fighter jet. It had about 4 to 8 (?) levels of gears, differentials, cams and dual-synchronous transmitters to perform calculations from inputs of airspeed, altitude, and temperature and send the results to various systems throughout. It was a cylinder about one foot in diameter and about 18" in length. About the only system it didn't affect was the ejection seat! AAAHHh, the good-ole days!!!

  • It's one of the greatest videos I have ever seen. Well-done .

  • Your contents are really good,nice work.Can you do a video on Cybersecurity?

  • Watching this while listening to "Rainy Jazz Cafe - Slow Jazz ..." music in the background is mint. Makes this so much more enjoyable!!!

  • This is amazing. Thompson's multiplier integral is very similar to how you would perform convolution of 2 analog signals on a paper. I remember my Uni prof. Teaching it as sliding one function across the other and taking the integral.

  • 4:15 It's pretty mind boggling that a telegraph cable was laid across the Atlantic ocean in the 1850's. I'd love to learn the details of that endeavor someday.

    • In brief - yes, it worked. But ... it was shoddily made, and leaked water. Thus, the signals were very weak. Two solutions were proposed. One was to use a mirror to amplify the weak signals by reflecting a dot on a wall. The second, advanced by an arch-rival, was to use high voltage. The arch-rival won the debate .. and burnt out the cable in a few days. This is in a short story is told by Neil Stephenson - "Mother Earth Mother Board" from 1996

    • Before artificial satelites intercontinental telephone calls were possible thanks to cables lying deep at the bottom of the sea.

    • Bet you can find at least half a dozen videos on this topic. Now is the time to pray 🙏🤞as my luck is usually terrible when it comes to winning bets (though logically speaking I should win).

    • @@adblockturnedoff4515 lo. You're right.

    • @@adblockturnedoff4515 Except Neil Stephenson is a great writer. He even starts out the story with this convoluted Victorian introduction 'wherein it is explored...'

  • Something about seeing some Valves stuck together to make an OP-amp really makes me happy, it satisfies my nostalgia for analog tech. I didn't realise they were so old

  • I was reading about tide predicting machines this morning and came across this video. This is a great video!

  • Double thumbs up. I really appreciate the work you put into this. Thank you!

  • this is by far the best animation I've ever seen in an informational video

  • Wow. I love this. Concise and clear and I never thought of it this way

  • This presentation, on this channel, may be my all-time favorite. As a software engineer, I am blown away and humbled by the innovations of people like Lord Kelvin. I absolutely loved the organization and flow of this presentation.

    • Agreed! Their entire production is the very highest in quality. Just reviewing the references on this 1 video alone says a lot. It really is one of the best science channels on ID-tv. When I think about this other youtuber...a 20-something year old turd who's worth $20M from making imbecilic, "how dumb can we get in 20 minutes on this video?" while he's driving a Bently down Sunset Blvd in We-Ho, w/ his model girlfriend, who wouldn't give him the time of day except for his $20M, his Bently, his mansion & his fame. No wonder this country can't have nice things.

    • @@MrDAMS1963 Which country are you talking about? If you're in the USA you already have some of the nicest things in history. If you want to make history, change the world. If you want to make money, appeal to the average masses.

    • Praise Bob

  • This video covers so many topics about science, I love it.

  • 10:00 For calculating harmonic component you need two multipliers ( sin and cos ) , not only one as shown (and some square / root / add) . Otherwise a very good explanation and well documented history . Not to mention a good animation describing the machines !


  • This is a much better document than anything that is shown in my TV. Have been a bit busy but could not stop watching this, excellent video. Telling that one has to open ID-tv to see stuff like this, clearly the times of TV broadcasts is about to end, who watches TV broadcasts anymore?

  • this is a much better take on analog computing than the previous video

  • My grandad was a bomber pilot in the RAF in WW2, his crew was occasionally given new devices to test, one of them was a machine that contained a moving map that was small enough to strap to their thigh. This map would rotate around rollers and update to show the terrain he was flying over regardless of visibility to the ground. The whole crew thought it was incredible and provided great feedback to the engineers that developed it. But as was often the case it was taken away after testing and they never got it back for the rest of the war. Always been curious what that machine was, how it worked and why it was taken away if it seemed to be working.

    • Sounds fascinating, commenting to see if anyone that knows replies.

    • Analog computer

    • Many incredible inventions and discoveries made during the war were never actually put into use with front line forces because it was feared they would do more harm than good if they fell into the hands of the Axis powers. This was especially true of inventions like the one you describe. A key part of the aerial defence of the UK was the use of decoys on the ground to send German bombers using visual navigation off-course - at various points during the Battle of Britain entire fake towns and other features were created for this purpose. If the device you describe were to found by the Germans in a crashed plane then it could be reverse engineered and the accuracy of their bombers would improve ten fold, even in weather conditions where our own fighters could not see the enemy. Worse still, what if these same computers were adapted into guidance systems for the German V1 and later V2 unmanned missile and rocket attacks? The navigation abilities of V1 were notoriously bad, which is why it was largely fired at targets so big that they were hard to miss, i.e. London. They weren't precision weapons, but what if this technology was available to the Germans? That development may have altered the outcome of the war. These are just hypothetical reasons, I'm sure someone knows the real reasons why the device your grandfather tested was never seen again. However these types of very real fears were the case for many inventions being kept on a shelf marked Top Secret instead of being used.

    • It was taken away and given to the Nazis to help them build up the Nazi War Machine! Then, our inventions that the Nazis was using made them look like a genius, when it was in fact American genius. There are spies in our Military Industrial Complex who sit in the highest military and civilian positions waiting to transfer American military and civilian secret to our enemies for a handsome price!

    • I fail to see how that would work other than using air speed which would be pretty inaccurate considering air speed isn't the same as ground speed.

  • These small documentaries are really well made. Weldone.

  • Absolutely EXCELLENT. The best history that I have ever seen!

  • Very very awesome how machines are built. Very inspiring and interesting. Wish you make more videos around this area🥰😇

  • My first job at Lockheed in 1959 was to write the specifications and handle the selection of a supplier for an analog computer for a Navy radar plane. It was to convert the forward and sideways ground speed from the dappled radar into latitude and longitude. I got to visit companies that made all the precision components.

  • Wow! Now this is a great example of applying integrals. Thanks Veritasium!

  • The analog computers used by navies during the First and Second World Wars are amazing technological feats. The inputs are the continuous, relative motions of opposing ships and the outputs are a synchronous stream of firing solutions.

    • The Norden bomb site. The third most expensive weapons program of WW2. An analog computer with 50 variables.

    • @@byrnemeister2008 It became a important piece of equipment to the Allies due to it’s increased accuracy with pinpointing the exact location for detonation.

    • @@byrnemeister2008 that hole was filled in immediately the war ended...

    • @@byrnemeister2008 different tech entirely

    • The US Navy was still using pure analog computers for gun fire control into the 70s and possibly early 80s. In the early 70s I worked on the fire control radar for the Tartar missile system and at that time our system was a mixture of analog and digital.

  • I used to work in an area that had 4 high and 4 low tides per day. The area's geography greatly magnified solar tides - we named them the low and high high tide, and the low and high low tide. The tides interacted with each other on a rotating roughly two week cycle.

  • I can safely say that this is one the most informative videos I ever saw in my entire life.

  • Supremely....might be a valid circumscription for this video and for the preceding research gotten through

  • I see some of the comments of how amazing and paradigm shifting this video was and I definitely echo those sentiments! It's been a week since watching part 1 and 2 but I'm still thinking about it. A thought almost literally struck me today. Since Analog computers are able to model random systems, like you demonstrated in part one. Are Analog computers better than digital computers at predicting a chaotic system, like lets say, turbulent flow like in your previous video. I was thinking it might be because of the fact that an analog computer is demonstrating what's actually happening in the physical world. It's so awesome!! Maybe someone on here can give me an answer because I'm just burning to know! I'm a huge fan of your videos, you often tackle difficult to explain topics that not many science communicators will not touch! Thank you for your work on this platform!

  • What an absolutely fascinating video. I've been extensively working on theory using physics with the stock market, and your explanation of the frequencies of Tides and deconstructing them across time frames has given me some very interesting ideas

  • So Lord Kelvin was the first guy to think of a system to compute the FFT! How come I never heard about this in engineering school. Before DFTs and FFTs, there existed AFT (Analog Fourier Transform). Mind blown...🤯. And what an elegant construction. These concepts should be used to teach mathematics and engineering in STEM. The genesis of the thinking behind any mathematical and engineering breakthrough goes way beyond equations and has real world analogies that are much easier to understand. Brilliant video. Thanks for everything you do, Veritasium. 🎉🙏🏽

    • Precisely this, had they taught me the history behind the math in high school I would have been more interested. As opposed to asking the teachers what sine and cosine is actually used for and getting a non answer.

    • @@m1ndk1ller My teacher used to say just study whatever is in your book dont ask useless questions, these people just don't know the importance of all this and just made us into calculators.

    • @@anuragtekam9376 I need to understand the math not just how to do it.

    • This should be the best (and maybe the only) way to teach math - with real world examples

    • For those of us, who were never explained the reasonings of math, or having a dictionary/thesaurus, to find out what the differing parts of math are/were for, it is all but impossible to see something that does not have any tangible roots for yo draw an image within our minds, … I have never understood the practicality of algebra, any further than Einstein’s time x mileage, =‘s mph, … drawing a picture inside my mind of what something should look like, (such as using the “carpenter’s rule of thumb”), … is the one sure way, that I have used in creating doorway’s that are genuine in their appearance, & setting up a baseball/soccer field in proper angular accordance with the rules, … flat lining a parking lot, with a slope of 2 tenths of an inch from the highest point of the area, to the sewer drains, have ensured that water would not collect, and flood patrons vehicles in abundant rainstorms, … running a leveled string line, ensures grade at marked consideration points, for the backfill, grading, of stone, & legitimacy of pavement, whether poured, or heat adhered such as asphalt, … making an unbalanced wall look flat is also to be had, provided shims are properly placed, & utilized throughout construction, … painting said walls & ceilings can also be sight affected by how much paint is applied with a roller, & in what direction, it is rolled out, with textures, notwithstanding, …

  • Great story. I was in the Navy in the mid 80's onboad the USS Henry Clay SSBN 625 as a Missile Technician. I worked on an analog computer called MTRE 6 (Missle test and readiess equipment) which, as the name implies, sequentialy checks the readiness of all missiles for launch. It was the size of three refrigerators. It was based on boolean logic and data was optically read from a puched paper reel. Awesome!!

    • I was Airforce for ten years in the 1990s and some of our ground radar used punch cards to boot it up and memory. It was a tall thin box of punch cards all in order. Imagine if they fell out of the box. (FYI this was Norton AFB in Southern California with extremely busy air traffic from LAX and Ontario. Also when I left in 2001 the Navy scopes used for ATC and still what we used at almost all of Air Bases. It worked but hopefully upgraded soon. Thanks for your service.

    • @@darylkik6204 Likewise...thank you!!

  • Wait….. ¿You put a personalised AD in your video to promote a new channel? ¿¿¡¡HOW DID YOU DID THAT?? you genius!! ¡I never saw that before! that was very original and I specifically love how you did because you started the ad with “so it looks like you are about to watch a Veritasium video” using the 5 second wait to skip the AD to attract the interest of the viewer to listen to the ad and not skip the add immediately ¡I loved you guys a great! :D

  • Math cs major here … my head hurts. Wish there was more detail and examples. Will watch again.

  • I work on old power plant turbine control systems that are almost completely mechanical. They use hydraulic integrators and relays, along with a lot of linkage to precisely control speed and pressure. When they are set up correctly they outperform the most modern digital systems. Mostly due to the continuous nature of the feedback sampling. The pitfall is the maintenance of them. The mechanical systems need a lot of work compared to their digital equivalent. They also lack the redundancy of distributed control systems. But I guarantee they provide more precise control.

  • Beautifully put! 👏 I'm not a professor or something, but i do understand that both ways have their own pro's and cons, perhaps it's all about personal preference of reading out data because in the end, when our knowledge over both technologies in collaboration is at its peak, it wouldn't matter anyway. Digital programming will make computers work and fine craftsmanship will make analog computers work.

  • I've done a teardown video of a B52 bomber astro compass analog computer and it's glorious how these thing can compute sinusoidals and do integration etc.

    • Gonna have to watch that

    • I rly love your videos.

    • Oh shid you guys are the ones melting wrenches with the giant transformer. Good on you brethren

    • Why destroy the old mechanism? None are being made any more today. Is there a security reason for it’s destruction? Or am I mistaken and you meant that you took it apart to learn about it’s function?

    • @@wynfrithnichtwo8423 Yeah, you've missed a term... "Teardown" involves (specifically) taking carefully apart so that it can be rebuilt... including any and all repairs or replacements... so that when you are finished with a "full operation" you have two majority stages... "Teardown" and "Rebuild". If you'd like a specific reference in literature, Hayne's or Chilton's or "Climber" (for motorcycles) offer "Complete Teardown and Rebuild" Guides to automobiles, motorcycles, and ATV's... and there are probably other publications... SO you can order or download based on whatever vehicle you'd like by Manufacturer, Year, Model, and any additional nomenclature... AND read up on just about anything you'd ever want to know about it... Some of us "restorers" have to take things apart in a "teardown" operation, to study them. We usually have to take pictures prolifically of the project as we do so, and then study those pictures and the components to decipher how to get them back together to make them work "like new" again... and other times to simply fabricate a new one... occasionally (when we're lucky) better than the original. Nobody is willingly tossing one (essentially) into a chipper. I promise. We have more respect for the past and the heroes who lived it, than that. We're just as fascinated as you are! ;o)

  • This was incredible! Dying for part 2!

  • Simply amazing video , love this channel

  • One of the greatest videos in the history of ID-tv. Wow.