inscript -> notes -> analog computing
The EAI TR-48 desktop analog computer, released in 1962
A paradigm of computing marked by manipulating continuous voltages as opposed to stored digits, modelling systems as opposed to declaring a program, where programs are often built connecting electrical components with patch cables. Through the work of a number of engineers and designers, the analog computer would go on to inspire the commercial modular synthesizer.
In fact, an intersting question here is between what came first: analog synthesis or analog computing. According to Mark Doty, "devices that employ synthesis using analog technology predate devices that employ analog technology for computing."1 I believe it may be less a question of internal implementation, and more so, a question of the patch panel as the primary programming interface. Joost Rekveld provides quite a bit of evidence of the link between the two.2 In the field of video synthesis, Dan Sandin refers to his Sandin Video Processor as a "general-purpose, patch-programmable, analog computer". Interestingly enough, Serge Tcherepnin used the term "patch-programmable" to a describe a number of his function block modules, though I am not sure he went so far as to refer to his synthesizers as "computers".
Another aspect of analog computing is that it points to, if not an intermediary, an alternate rung on the ladder of abstraction. How did the history of computing go from physical scale models, like the dutch Waterloopbos, a hydrological laboratory computing outcomes as a function of like material and conditions to smaller and smaller devices which no longer model problems as a function of scale, but of mathematics? ~rephrase
advantages of analog computing:
- parallel => does not run into any chase conditions
- often far more energy efficient than modern digital computing
I'm particularly interested in historical/cultural and technical centers of analog computing, among them:
The Analog Museum's "Introduction to Analog Computing"⭧
The Analog Museum's Library⭧
1) Vintage Synth Explorer forum thread⭧ on the relationship between analog computing and analog modular synthesizers
2) Joost Rekveld's essay "The Analog Art"⭧