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Old 12-15-2008, 11:28 PM   #1
Nixels OP
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Antikythera: 2000 year old computer reconstructed

It might not be as good as the newest Mac, but it's an impressive computer for its time. And the story of its rediscovery, and Michael Wright figured out what was going on and built a modern version.




From the Guardian article:


Antikythera: A 2,000-year-old Greek computer comes back to life
Watch a working model of the ancient clockwork device that some call the world's first computer
Comments (34)

Regulars of the Science Weekly podcast will remember our interview with Jo Marchant, the author of Decoding the Heavens. The book tells the story of the Antikythera mechanism, a mysterious clockwork object made up of numerous meshed cogs that was discovered more than a century ago among the cargo of a Greek shipwreck.

The mystery of how the Greeks had made a machine that appeared to be 1800 years ahead of its time and why that knowledge was seemingly lost is fascinating, but Marchant's story is really about the scientists and engineers who have fallen under the spell of the Antikythera mechanism over the last century. It is a gripping tale of scientific obsession, rivalry and skulduggery.

If there is one thing that lets the book down, it lacks clear diagrams of how the cogs fitted together and hence how the mechanism worked. This video makes up for that. It shows Michael Wright's working model of the Antikythera mechanism. I defy you not to be amazed.
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Old 12-15-2008, 11:34 PM   #2
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Impressive it is, especially for its time.
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Old 12-15-2008, 11:35 PM   #3
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Is "computer" a misnomer? Just glancing at the article leads me to ask if the device is programmable.
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Old 12-15-2008, 11:42 PM   #4
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Difference engine ?



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Difference_engine
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Old 12-15-2008, 11:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klay
Is "computer" a misnomer? Just glancing at the article leads me to ask if the device is programmable.
Hmm, good question. I'll check tomorrow - this is the end of my Dawn Patrol shift. (Yeah, I know it hasn't even started, but that's too bad, I'm at the end of my program schedule)
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Old 12-16-2008, 05:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klay
Is "computer" a misnomer? Just glancing at the article leads me to ask if the device is programmable.
The gearing is the "programming", if you will. Conceptually, changing the gearing out would be "reprogramming".

It's a computer like a calculator is a computer.
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xeraux
The gearing is the "programming", if you will. Conceptually, changing the gearing out would be "reprogramming".

It's a computer like a calculator is a computer.
That seems more like a clock than a computer.
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klay
That seems more like a clock than a computer.
If you really think about it, that's what a clock is too. A single function computer.
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xeraux
If you really think about it, that's what a clock is too. A single function computer.
But isn't what makes a computer a computer its programmability?
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:37 AM   #10
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I want to get the plans and build a Jo Momma Antikythera. Put all the head explosions on it, and all the likely beat downs that cRaSH is gonna have with Inmates on here. Then there will be the cycles of all the ADV events, and a list of ADVer's that will hook up in a given time. Oh, and there'd have to be the disasterous rides, fundraisers for laid-up Inmates and the next four times the servers have to be changed out.

Hedge36 to the white courtesy phone...

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Old 12-16-2008, 07:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klay
But isn't what makes a computer a computer its programmability?
Hey now. Anything less complicated than a Crackberry is considered child's play and unworthy of discussion as a computer. Siddown and shaddup.

The likes of you'n'me aren't worthy of our impressionable minds about something done so long ago they didn't even have iPods when it was invented.

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Old 12-16-2008, 07:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klay
But isn't what makes a computer a computer its programmability?
You're still thinking digital.

Like I said, you can change the gearing and you've "reprogrammed" it. There are mechanical analog computers.
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xeraux
You're still thinking digital.

Like I said, you can change the gearing and you've "reprogrammed" it. There are mechanical analog computers.
No, I'm not thinking digitally. Isn't what makes a computer not just a calculator its ease of reprogramming? This is a definitions question.
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:43 AM   #14
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It's still probably faster than the Dell I have at home.
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:46 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klay
No, I'm not thinking digitally. Isn't what makes a computer not just a calculator its ease of reprogramming? This is a definitions question.
If it calculates something it is "computing" it, is it not?
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