[SIGCIS-Members] Analogue computing (forthcoming book)

tmisa at umn.edu tmisa at umn.edu
Fri May 21 05:32:25 PDT 2010

I see that Springer's **NEW** series in the History of Computing has a 
forthcoming title (apologies if this circulated already):

Charles Care, Technology For Modelling: Electrical Analogies, Engineering 
Practice, and the Development of Analogue Computing (History of Computing)

Historians have different views on the core identity of analogue computing. 
Some portray the technology solely as a precursor to digital computing, 
whereas others stress that analogue applications existed well after 1940. 
Even within contemporary sources, there is a spectrum of understanding 
around what constitutes analogue computing. To understand the relationship 
between analogue and digital computing, and what this means for users 
today, the history must consider how the technology is used. Technology for 
Modelling investigates the technologies, the concepts, and the applications 
of analogue computing. The text asserts that analogue computing must be 
thought of as not just a computing technology, but also as a modelling 
technology, demonstrating how the history of analogue computing can be 
understood in terms of the parallel themes of calculation and modelling. 
The book also includes a number of detailed case studies of the 
technology's use and application.

Topics and features: discusses the meaning of analogue computing and its 
significance in history, and describes the main differences between 
analogue and digital computing; provides a chronology of analogue 
computing, based upon the two major strands of calculation and modeling; 
examines the wider relationship between computing and modelling, and 
discusses how the theme of modelling fits within the history of analogue 
computing; describes how the history of analogue computing evolved through 
a number of stages of use; presents illustrative case studies on analogue 
modelling in academic research, oil reservoir modelling, aeronautical 
design, and meteorology. General readers and researchers in the field of 
history of computing – as well as history of science more generally – 
will find this book a fascinating insight into the historical use and 
evolution of technology. The volume provides a long-needed historical 
framework and context for these core computing technologies. Dr. Charles 
Care is a senior software engineer at BT and an Associate Fellow at the 
Department of Computer Science of the University of Warwick, UK.

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