Difference Between Analog Computer and Digital Computer


Main Difference

There are two types of computers which are known as Analog and Digital computers. Both these types of machines have their own uses and misuses, but digital computers have taken over analog computers. Analog computers were used few years ago in abundance, but now their number have decreased thanks to the emergence of Digital computers. Their differences will be discussed in detail during this topic. Both these types of networks are used to transmit information with the help of electrical signal but differ in the way the information is transferred. In Analog computers, the data is forwarded with the support of continuous signals while in digital computers the data is transmitted with the aid of discrete signals which are usually in the form of binary numbers. The difference can be further explained that Analog computers are less accurate as compared to digital computers. Results which are obtained by Analog computers can have some percentage of error while digital computers results can be up to 100% accurate. Analog computers are used for quantities for which the exact values are not always necessary such as temperature and speed. While Digital computers are used for numbers which require exact values, for example, the calculations which are carried out while constructing a bridge and other operations. The best example of the analog device will be oscilloscope which is still used by engineers for taking measurements. While the best case of Digital devices will be a pedometer which gives the exact number of steps. Analog computers are slower in speed and are less reliable whereas Digital computers are fast speed devices which can be relied upon. Digital computers are being used all over the world while Analog computers have been restricted to specific fields such as medical and engineering. A further explanation of both these types of the PC is given in the paragraphs below.

Comparison Chart

Analog ComputerDigital Computer
A computer which uses the continuous signal for its operation is called an Analog computer.A computer which uses the discontinuous signal for its operation is called a Digital computer.
Vastly used in different companies and other places.Were mostly employed in the past and currently are only used for experimentation purposes.
Are slower in speed because of their mechanism.Fast
Less reliable when it comes to obtaining values.More reliable in calculations.

What are Analog Computers?

Analog computers can be a vast field to define. In simple words, a computer which uses the continuous signal for its operation is called an Analog computer. Because of this type of indicator, they are able to receive input and produce output regularly, and this helps in solving complicated processes. However strong the signal may be and even if it is in the form of electrical or mechanical, analog computers are able to deal with it. The emphasis in this type of computer is on obtaining a solution, however, error prone it may be. Analog computers started way back in the 19th century and have advanced over the years. Before the origin of digital computers, they were considered the best forms of devices. An example of the analog computer will be a mercury thermometer which calculates the temperature of the human body and then displays it as a range of mercury. Because it has noise in its system that affects the results as well while storage process in analog devices is complicated as they may hold values but that is only possible for a certain amount of time.


What are Digital Computers?

Digital computers are defined as devices that use the discrete signal for their processes which are in the binary form. In Digital computers, the input is coded in the form of zeroes and ones to get a more accurate result. An example of a digital computer will be a calculator in which all the coding is already done, and you get a correct result which is not possible in the case of analog devices. This is also because of the reason that e is minimum noise in the system because the electrical noise coming is in the form of analog signal. Calculations, in this case, take less time because all the coding is already done and the results which are displaced can be as accurate as possible. Digital devices have taken over the analog ones in the recent times because of their effectiveness. It is more reliable, has greater space and can store data for a longer time although its cost is higher. The factor that gives it more edge is that there are no observatory errors since all the calculations are done by the computer and values are displayed correctly.

Key Differences

  1. Digital computers work on signals which are not continuous while Analog computers work on signals which are continuous.
  2. Digital computers are vastly used in different companies and other places today while Analog computers were mostly employed in the past and currently are only used for experimentation purposes.
  3. Analog computers are slower in speed because of their mechanism while Digital computers are faster in speed as compared to Analog.
  4. Analog computers are less reliable when it comes to obtaining values while Digital computers are more reliable in calculations.
  5. Analog computers have a complicated interface while Digital computers have a user-friendly
  6. Digital computers can have memory up to several terabytes while Analog computers have a particular
  7. An example of Analog devices is mercury thermometer while a good example for Digital devices is digital weighing machines.
Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss