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analogue computer

<computer, hardware> A machine or electronic circuit designed to work on numerical data represented by some physical quantity (e.g. rotation or displacement) or electrical quantity (e.g. voltage or charge) which varies continuously, in contrast to digital signals which are either 0 or 1.

For example, the turning of a wheel or changes in voltage can be used as input. Analogue computers are said to operate in real time and are used for research in design where many different shapes and speeds can be tried out quickly. A computer model of a car suspension allows the designer to see the effects of changing size, stiffness and damping.

(1995-05-01)


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