The Shœstring Foundation Weblog
   


About
The Shœstring Foundation Weblog, Miscellaneous Byproducts

Matthias Bauer
bauerm (at) shoestringfoundation · org
reop pubkey

Subscribe
Subscribe to a syndicated feed of my weblog, brought to you by the wonders of RSS.


Blosxom Logo

       
Tue, 26 Jan 2010

Back to the √s


The Curta II machine The Curta is a mechanical computing device, about 12.5 cm high, 8 cm in diameter, with 49 bits internal precision.
I'm totally in awe about the elegance of the design and the smooth handling. Trying to actually compute something, e.g. a square root, on this machine, immediately makes one aware of the roots (sic!) of numerical mathematics. There simply is no button marked √ on the Curta, and still people used this very machine to compute square roots (and logs, and trigonometric functions, ...). Until the 1980ies most scientists knew how to efficiently compute everything on such add/substract machines, and this knowledge is now buried without a tombstone.

[/projects] permanent link