What is a hybrid computer

What is a hybrid computer?

Hybrid computers are computers that provide functions and features found in both analog and digital computers. The idea behind this combined or hybrid computer model is to create a unit of work that offers the best of both types of computers. In most designs, the analog components of the device allow efficient differential equation processing, while the digital aspects of the computer deal with the logical operations associated with the system.

With the creation of this type of integrated computer, the benefits of analog and digital computing are immediately available. A hybrid computer is extremely fast when it comes to managing equations, even if these calculations are extremely complicated. This benefit is made possible by the presence of the analog components inherent in the device design.

While the hybrid computer can manage equations as easily as an analog computer, the digital components help eliminate one of the major drawbacks of an all-analog device. Comparatively, the range of accuracy is limited on an analog computer, whereas the accuracy is much greater on a digital computer. By integrating the components that enable the digital computer to exceed the three to four-digit accuracies typical of analog devices, equations can be processed much faster with hybrid computers than with the digital option alone. In other words, hybrid computing offers both speed and precision, so the user doesn't have to settle for one or the other.

The value of a hybrid computer is easy to see when equations need to be managed in real time. While a purely analog device would provide quick and less precise results and a digital device would provide more precise answers that would take longer to compute, the hybrid approach enables answers to be obtained now and not later. At the same time, these answers are more detailed and therefore more useful than the quick answers from the analog devices.

It is important to note that a true hybrid computer is not simply a hybrid system. The hybrid computer consists of the necessary components so that the device can work quickly and precisely. Products that are marketed as hybrid systems are often nothing more than digital computing devices that have been supplemented with an analog-to-digital converter for the input and a digital-to-analog converter for the management of the output. While a system of this type is effective, it is usually considered to be less efficient than a true hybrid computer.