The Most Powerful Computers You've Never Heard Of

Obscure Supercomputers with Astonishing Capabilities

4 min

πŸ—’οΈ Introduction

In the world of technology and computing, we often hear about the latest cutting-edge devices, supercomputers, and smartphones that dominate the headlines. However, there exists a realm of computing power that remains hidden from the mainstream spotlight – “The Most Powerful Computers You’ve Never Heard Of.” These remarkable machines are not your everyday laptops or desktops; they are analog computers, historical artifacts, and unsung heroes of computation.

This article delves into the intriguing world of these often overlooked computing marvels, shedding light on their significance, history, and their unexpected resurgence in today’s digital age.

🌐 The Unsung Heroes of Computation

  1. The Forgotten Analog Computers Analog computers, once the pinnacle of computational power, have largely faded into obscurity. As digital computers gained prominence, analog counterparts were relegated to the sidelines. Veritasium’s video on YouTube titled “The Most Powerful Computers You’ve Never Heard Of” explores the historical significance of analog computers and their role in shaping the digital age.
  2. A Glimpse into the Past The Ars Technica article, “The most important computer you’ve never heard of”, delves into the history of the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) computer. SAGE, an analog/digital hybrid computer, played a pivotal role in jumpstarting today’s technology and building IBM into a technological giant.
  3. Analog’s Resurgence Analog computers are not just relics of the past. They are making a surprising comeback in the modern era. In the article by WordlessTech, “The Most Powerful Computers you’ve never heard of”, the re-emergence of analog computers is discussed. These machines are finding applications in various fields, thanks to their unique computational capabilities.

πŸš€ The Future of Analog Computing

  1. Radical Transformation of Computers While analog computers from the past were remarkable, the future of computing promises to be radically different. The YouTube video titled “Future Computers Will Be Radically Different (Analog …)” delves into how the landscape of computing is evolving, with a focus on analog technologies that could reshape the industry.
  2. Turning the Tables with Analog Power Analog computers are not just a thing of the past; they are still influencing modern engineering. The article from Interesting Engineering, “The most powerful analog computers that turned the tables in …”, explores how these powerful analog machines are used in contemporary applications, demonstrating their versatility and capability to tackle complex problems.

πŸ—οΈ Conclusion

“The Most Powerful Computers You’ve Never Heard Of” represent a fascinating aspect of the computing world. From their historical importance to their unexpected resurgence in the digital age, these analog computers hold a unique place in the realm of computation. As technology continues to evolve, it is essential to remember and appreciate the diverse contributions made by analog computing to our modern digital world.

As we conclude this exploration of analog computing, let’s take a moment to reflect on the significance of these unsung heroes. They may not have the fame of supercomputers or the ubiquity of personal devices, but they have played a pivotal role in shaping the technology landscape we know today.

πŸ“š FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is an analog computer?

Analog computers are computational devices that use continuous physical variables, such as electrical voltage or fluid pressure, to perform calculations. They were prominent before the advent of digital computers.

2. Why did analog computers fade into obscurity?

Analog computers lost their prominence as digital computers became more versatile and efficient, offering greater precision and ease of use.

3. Are there any practical applications for analog computers today?

Yes, analog computers are making a resurgence in various fields, including engineering, physics, and even some areas of artificial intelligence due to their ability to handle complex, continuous data.

4. What was the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) computer?

SAGE was a groundbreaking analog/digital hybrid computer system used by the U.S. military during the Cold War. It played a pivotal role in the development of modern computing technology.

5. How are analog computers influencing the future of computing?

Analog computers are being explored for their potential to handle tasks that digital computers struggle with, such as simulating complex physical systems and performing certain types of optimization tasks. Their unique capabilities make them a subject of interest for researchers and engineers alike.

πŸ’‘ More Information Is Available About:
The Most Powerful Computers You’ve Never Heard Of

Analog computers were the most powerful computers for thousands of years, relegated to obscurity by the digital revolution. This video is sponsored by Brilliant. The first 200 people to sign up via get 20% off a yearly subscription.

Thanks to Scott Wiedemann for the lego computer instructions –

Antikythera Archive & Animations Β©2005-2020 Images First Ltd. “The Antikythera Cosmos” (2021) follows the latest developments from the UCL Antikythera Research Team as they recreate a dazzling display of the ancient Greek Cosmos at the front of the Antikythera Mechanism.

Tides video from NASA –

Ship animation from this painting –

Moore’s Law, the op-amp, and the Norden bombsight were filmed at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.


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Written by Derek Muller, Stephen Welch and Emily Zhang
Filmed by Derek Muller, Emily Zhang and Raquel Nuno
Animation by Fabio Albertelli, Jakub Misiek, Mike Radjabov, Ivy Tello, Trenton Oliver
Edited by Derek Muller
Additional video supplied by Getty Images
Music from Epidemic Sound and Jonny Hyman
Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev and Emily Zhang respects copyrights. All content is either created by us, properly licensed, or used with permission. If you have concerns, please contact us.