Digital, Analog and Hybrid Computers

Q35. How are digital, analog and hybrid computers different from one another?

Ans. Digital Computer

The digital computers work upon discontinuous data. They convert the data into digits (binary digits 0 and 1) and all operations are carried out on these digits at extremely fast rates. A digital computer basically knows how to count the digits and add the digits. Digital Computers are much faster than analog computers and far more accurate. Computers used for business and scientific applications are digital computers.

 

Analog Computer

In analog computers, continuous quantities are used. Computations are carried out with physical quantities such as voltage, length, current, temperature etc. the devices that measure such quantities are analog devices, for example voltmeter, ammeter. Analog computers operate by measuring rather than counting. The main advantage of analog computers is that all calculations take place in parallel and hence these are faster. But their accuracy is poor as compared to digital counterparts. Analog computers are mostly used in engineering and scientific applications. An electronic weighing scale is an example of an analog computer.

 

Hybrid Computer

Hybrid computers utilize the best qualities of both the digital and analog computers. In these computers some calculations take place in analog manner and rest of them take place in digital manner. Hybrid computers are best used in hospital where analog part is responsible for measurement of patient’s heart beat, blood pressure, temperature and other vital signs and then the operation is carried out in digital fashion to monitor patient’s vital sign. Hybrid computers are also used in weather forecasting.

 

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