Difference between Analog and Digital Computer

Hello awesome readers, today we are going to understand the basic difference between Analog and Digital computer. But before starting, I’d like to discuss a bit about both type of computers.

What is an Analog Computer?

An Analog computer or Analogue computer is a computer which uses continuously changeable entities like mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, etc. quantities in any problem which is being solved.

They were first used at the time of 1950’s – 1960’s. They do not use discrete values, but rather continuous values.

Those computers work on an analogue signal. These signals are the continuous signals for which the time varying feature (variable) of the signal is a representation of some other time varying quantity, i.e., analogous to another time varying signal.

Analogue computers are used in some specific applications, like the flight computer in aircraft, ships, submarines, and some appliances around us like the refrigerator, speedometer of your bike, etc.

What is a Digital Computer?

They are the computers that perform various computational as well as some other general purpose tasks. The information in these computers is represented by variables that take a limited number of discrete values.

Those computers work on a digital signal. These signals are used to represent data as a sequence of discrete values; at any given time it can only take on one of a finite number of values.

Digital computers use the binary number system, which has two digits i.e., 0 and 1. A binary digit is called a bit. Here the information is represented in the groups of bits.

The advantages of a digital computer are that they are accurate, fast, re-programmable and the outputs are least affected by outside disturbances.

Some of the best examples of digital computers are your laptop, calculators, smartphones, etc.

Now let’s differentiate both in tabular form.

Difference between Analog and Digital Computer

Difference between Analog and Digital Computer

Analog Computer Digital Computer
The analogue computer works on a continuous signal. The digital computer works on a discrete signal. This signal has two states, on or off.
The output is a voltage signal, they are not exact values and are in graphical form. The outputs are in numbers, exact values are seen on displays.
These computers use a network of resistors and capacitors. Here a large number of logic gates, microprocessors and on-off switches are used.
Analogue computers have a limited ability to act as a digital system. The digital computers can emulate the behaviour of analogue computers.
Analogue computers are slower in speed. Digital computers are quite fast.
These computers are mainly used in the field of science. These computers can be used in all fields of life.
The analogue computers measure the analogue quantities like voltage, temperature, etc. The digital computers calculate mathematical operations, complex calculations, media streaming, etc.
Analogue computers are a bit difficult to use. Digital computers are quite easy to use.
The data storing in analogue computers are quite difficult as they use continuous signals which are difficult to store. Storing data in digital computers are quite easy as they just stores either 0 or 1 which can be easily stored.

Comment below if you have queries related to above article for analog vs digital computer.


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