Item Details

The Differential Analyzer. A New Machine for Solving Differential Equations. [Journal of the Franklin Institute. Vol. 212, No. 4].

Philadelphia, PA: Journal of the Franklin Institute, 1931. First Edition. Hardcover. “The most powerful computing machine prior to the electronic digital computer. . . . Bush invented an elegant, dynamical, mechanical model of the differential equation. . . . The differential analyzer proved so useful that copies were built at the University of Pennsylvania, the General Electric plant in Schenectady, New York, and the Ballistics Research Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, as well as many other places in Europe and America. In England, Douglas Hartree built a small model of the analyzer . . . which gave results with a two percent margin of error.” [OOC 244]
"The differential analyzer was an analog computer developed by Vannevar Bush (1931), who was interested in developing machines that expressed information in terms of physical measures, such as the turning of a shaft (Zachary, 1997).  Work on the differential analyzer was begun in 1928, and it was completed in 1931 at a cost of $25,000.  It was MIT’s first computer.  The purpose of the differential analyzer was to solve differential equations.  The differential analyzer was a set of electric motors that drove a series of gears and shafts; the moving components represented the values of different values in a differential equation of interest, and physical connections amongst the components were physical implementations of relationships amongst mathematical variables.  “Calculations were carried out by brute force.  Metal clanked against metal until a solution arrived” (Zachary, 1997, p. 51)." [Dictionary of Cognitive Science]. Very Good+. Minor shelf/edge wear, ownership plate at front pastedown, discrete library marks at title page (small stamp and emboss), else tight, bright, and unmarred. Brown buckram binding, gilt lettering, printed paper endpages. 8vo. 816pp plus adverts (subject paper pp 447–488). Illus. (b/w plates). Index. Two laid in cigarette cards: "Super Calculating Machine" and "The Manchester University Robot" (both with an image on one side and text on the other). Item #11048

Price: $2,000.00

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