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Can analog make a comeback?
03-07-2018, 01:08 AM
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Can analog make a comeback?
I ran across this interesting article recently from IEEE Spectrum. It discusses some interesting research in the area of analog computing and hybrid analog/digital computing. The author talks about IC's his research group has fabricated to put analog computing to work.

https://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/hard...g-computer

The article was interesting because analog computing can be much faster and consume much less power for certain applications. Picking the application area is crucial because of the limited accuracy of analog computing. Despite the fascination with ever more digits of accuracy (34 digits!), it's not always necessary for real world problems. After all, we went from Kitty Hawk to the Moon with slide rules that give only two or three places of accuracy.

Analog circuit elements, such as summation, multiplication and integration, were arranged in a switching fabric somewhat like cells in an FPGA. Interconnections between elements could be established before computation begins. One interesting circuit element for simulating arbitrary functions was an A/D converter driving the address lines of a RAM whose outputs would then drive a D/A converter.

Any thoughts on where a dead-and-buried technology like analog computing might be applied today?

~Mark

Remember kids, "In a democracy, you get the government you deserve."
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Can analog make a comeback? - mfleming - 03-07-2018 01:08 AM



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