[SIGCIS-Members] Analogue vs. Digital
pne at umich.edu
Wed May 19 04:37:24 PDT 2010
James Small's dissertation did finally get published as a book:
The Analogue Alternative: The Electronic Analogue Computer in Britain and the USA, 1930–1975 (Routledge, 2001).
It's a terrific book and the only thing of its kind about computers (stops in 1975, as the title mentions, though). Unfortunately it is insanely expensive - well over $100, and not many used copies floating around.
A couple of chapters were published as stand-alones in the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing.
Mark Bowles, "U.S. Technological Enthusiasm and British Technological Skepticism in the Age of the Analog Brain" (IEEE Annals)
Lang, "Analog was not a Computer Trademark! Why Would Anyone Write About Analog Computers In Year 2000?," Sound and Vibration (August 2000, attached to this email if the attachment survives the filter)
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On May 19, 2010, at 4:46 AM, Aristotle Tympas wrote:
> Hi Pierre,
> A welcomed addition to the history of the analog-digital relationship is
> that by Charles Care, who defended his dissertation at the University of
> Warwick in 2008. Care integrates this history into the history of
> modeling. You may also want to check relevant articles in Care's webpage
> at the University of Warwick.
> David Mindell's 'Between Human and Machine' is, in my opinion, a must for
> those who want to study this relationship. But it is focused on an earlier
> period than the one that your student is interested in and it is more
> focused on on-line computing (computing as integrated into
> control-regulation). The dissertation by James Small (part of which made
> it to articles in the 'Annals of the History of Computing' and 'History
> and Technology', one in each) is more relevant in regards to period. For a
> suggestive study on the social meaning of analog technology from a context
> other than computers, I would recommend the book 'Analog Days: the
> invention and impact of the moon synthesizer' (by Trevor Pinch and Frank
> Trocco, 2002).
> A wonderful but extremely demanding theoretically book on the
> analog-digital relationship from the early 1970s (1972) was written by
> Antony Wilden (System and Structure: Essays on Communication). I thought
> of it upon reading your email because it follows this relationship in
> contexts of some relevance to what we now call neurobiology.
> Because of your student's chronological focus, I would also suggest
> looking at the understudied history of hybrid analog-digital computer
> structures. For my own try at briefly introducing this history in the
> context of an encyclopedic entry, see Aristotle Tympas, ‘Computers:
> Hybrid’, in Encyclopedia of 20th –Century Technology, Colin Hempstead
> (editor), Routledge, London, Great Britain, 2005, 202-204. Also, for a
> survey of some preceding works on the history of analog computing, you may
> see the references in Aristotle Tympas, ‘Computers: Analog’, in
> Encyclopedia of 20th-Century Technology, Colin Hempstead (editor),
> Routledge, London, Great Britain, 2005, 195-199.
> I hope this helps,
>> One of our students is studying the early use of electronic computers
>> in neurophysiology, and has hit upon a 1967 controversy between
>> Experimental/ Analogue and Digital approaches, when DEC LINCs were
>> installed. What reading would you recommend on this topic ?
>> (I remember James Small addressed this controversy in his
>> dissertation, some 20 years ago - and so did, more recently, Paul
>> Edwards in "The Closed World")
>> Thanks !
>> Pierre Mounier-Kuhn
>> CNRS & Université Paris-Sorbonne
>> 28 rue Serpente, 75006 Paris
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> ??????????? ?????? / Aristotle Tympas
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