[vcf-midatlantic] vacuum tube computers, was Re: Museum Report 2017-11-26 November 26, 2017

Drew Notarnicola drew.notarnicola at gmail.com
Tue Nov 28 12:17:32 EST 2017

I think this would be good stuff to put on the docent wiki for future

On Mon, Nov 27, 2017 at 1:47 PM, Dave McGuire via vcf-midatlantic <
vcf-midatlantic at lists.vintagecomputerfederation.org> wrote:

> On 11/26/2017 10:57 PM, william degnan via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
> > If a smart phone was full of tubes and associated 50's era components
> > instead of today's smaller components the phone would have to be the size
> > of Camp Evans.
>   Likely larger.
> > The MIT machine we have in the museum display is not anything like a cell
> > phone however it's an analog computer sort of.  Its more actually a bunch
> > of Philco analog rack units that would have been part of a larger system
> > plus a plotter and instruments generating "input".  I have materials at
> my
> > house that explain some of the rack components I promise next time I come
> > up I'll try to put something together to explain what the MIT computer
> > likely would have done.  Also, as they are now the rack components are
> in a
> > disorganized impractical configuration. We need to put them together
> into a
> > more likely configuration asap.  That would be a good thing to do next
> > workshop.  The process of researching the components will help expose
> it's
> > function and help docents explain it.
>   If I'm not mistaken, that system is every bit a full-blown analog
> computer, by any reasonable definition.  Remember, one can make a
> circuit that qualifies for that name with a few variable resistors, an
> op-amp, and a meter.  Most every analog computer consists of a random
> bunch of separate circuits, usually multiple copies of each, and for the
> truly modular ones the number of each were specified at the time of
> purchase.  If a scientist was working on a budget and he knew that most
> of his work could be completed on an analog machine with eight op-amps,
> he/she'd order the machine with eight op-amps.
>                 -Dave
> --
> Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
> New Kensington, PA

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