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Difference between Analog Computer and Digital Computer

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Pre-requisite – Classification of Computers 

1. Analog Computer : Analog computer system is the very old computer system which operates on the mathematical variables in the form of continuously changeable physical quantities/entities like mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, etc. They use continuous values rather than discrete values so they work on analog signal. At the time of at the time of the 1950s–1960s these analog computers were first used. Analog computers are limited in accepting the problems and also they can never be extremely accurate.

Features of Analog Computers:

  • Uses continuous signals: Analog computers use continuous physical quantities, such as voltage or current, to represent data and perform calculations.
  • Real-time processing: Analog computers are capable of performing calculations in real-time, which makes them useful in applications such as scientific simulations and control systems.
  • Accuracy: Analog computers are capable of performing calculations with high accuracy, but this accuracy is limited by the precision of the components used in the system.
  • Non-programmable: Analog computers are typically designed to perform specific types of calculations and cannot be programmed to perform other functions.

2. Digital Computer : Digital computers are the computer systems/machines which uses the binary number system, which has two digits: 0 and 1 and performs many computational tasks. It processes the data represented in discrete and the main three components of digital computers are input, processing and output. The first digital computer was designed for numerical computations in the late 1940s. Digital computers give results with more accuracy as it is not dependent upon physical quantities for processing a task. 

Features of Digital Computers:

  • Uses binary code: Digital computers use binary code, which is a combination of zeros and ones, to represent data and perform calculations.
  • Programmable: Digital computers are capable of being programmed to perform a wide variety of calculations and functions, making them highly versatile.
  • Storage: Digital computers can store large amounts of data and retrieve it quickly.
  • Accuracy: Digital computers are capable of performing calculations with high accuracy, which is limited by the precision of the digital components used in the system.

Similarities between Analog and Digital Computers:

  • Both can perform mathematical calculations and process data.
  • Both require hardware components such as processors, memory, and input/output devices to function.
  • Both have been used in a variety of applications, including scientific simulations, control systems, and data processing.
  • Both have limitations in terms of accuracy and precision.

Difference between Analog Computer and Digital Computer :

01.Analog computers works with continuous values or these types of systems process continuous data.Digital computers works with discrete values or these types of systems process discrete data.
02.Speed of analog computers is less than the digital computers.Speed of digital computers is more than the analog computers.
03.Analog computer has very low or limited memory and it can store less amount of data.Digital computer has very big memory it can store large amount of data.
04.Analog computer has no state.Digital computer has On and Off these 2 steps.
05.Analog computers are less reliable than digital computers.Digital computers are more reliable than analog computers.
06.Its performance is comparatively low.Its performance is very high.
07.Its speed of processing is not so high.Its speed of processing is very high.
08.Analog computers depends upon physical variations.Digital computers does not depend upon physical variations.
09.It provides results with less accuracy as compared to digital computers.It provides results with higher accuracy as compared to analog computers.
10.Analog computers are difficult to use.Digital computers are not so difficult to use.
11.Analog computers have complex architecture.Digital computers do not have so complex architecture like analog computers.
12.Readability of analog computer is low.Readability of digital computer is high.
13.Analog computers show the result in terms of voltage signals.Digital computers show the result in computer display screen.
14.Analog computers employs analog encoding.Digital computers employs digital encoding.
15.Power consumption is high.Power consumption is low.
16.They are usually special purpose devices.It can be general purpose devices.
17.Examples includes analog clock and thermometer etc.Examples includes Digital laptop, digital camera, digital watches etc.

Conclusion :

analog and digital computers differ in their data representation, operations, precision, programming, and applications. Analog computers represent data using physical quantities, perform operations using continuous functions, and are less precise than digital computers. Digital computers represent data using binary digits, perform operations using discrete steps, and are more precise and versatile than analog computers.

Last Updated : 03 Apr, 2023
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