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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2021-22

ENGS 15.04 Computing Before Electronics

In this course we explore the computational techniques by which mankind survived and thrived before the advent of the integrated circuit and the electronic calculator.  From the commerce of early civilizations until the last third of the 20th century, there was a progression of mechanical calculating gadgets, some simple – some quite ingenious and complex.  Among these we will study sliderules, planimeters, integrators, digital adding machines, nomographs, and other special charts and graphical techniques.  We will also cover celestial navigation, which in its day was a particularly important application of calculation.  Laboratory sessions will give students direct experience using antique and period calculating instruments, plus the opportunity to create their own calculating devices.



Distributive and/or World Culture


The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.