The Most Powerful Computers You’ve Never Heard Of

Analog computers were the most powerful computers for thousands of years, relegated to obscurity by the digital revolution. This video is sponsored by Brilliant. The first 200 people to sign up via get 20% off a yearly subscription.

Thanks to Scott Wiedemann for the lego computer instructions –

Antikythera Archive & Animations ©2005-2020 Images First Ltd. “The Antikythera Cosmos” (2021) follows the latest developments from the UCL Antikythera Research Team as they recreate a dazzling display of the ancient Greek Cosmos at the front of the Antikythera Mechanism.

Tides video from NASA –

Ship animation from this painting –

Moore’s Law, the op-amp, and the Norden bombsight were filmed at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.


Freeth, T., Bitsakis, Y., Moussas, X., Seiradakis, J. H., Tselikas, A., Mangou, H., … & Edmunds, M. G. (2006). Decoding the ancient Greek astronomical calculator known as the Antikythera Mechanism. Nature, 444(7119), 587-591. –
Freeth, T., & Jones, A. (2012). The cosmos in the Antikythera mechanism. ISAW Papers. –
Cartwright, D. E. (2000). Tides: a scientific history. Cambridge University Press. –
Thomson, W. (2017). Mathematical and physical papers. CUP Archive. –
Parker, B. B. (2007). Tidal analysis and prediction. NOAA NOS Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services. –
Parker, B. (2011). The tide predictions for D-Day. Physics Today, 64(9), 35-40. –
Small, J. (2013). The Analogue Alternative. Routledge. –
Zorpette, G. (1989). Parkinson’s gun director. IEEE Spectrum, 26(4), 43. –
Tremblay, M. (2009). Deconstructing the myth of the Norden Bombsight (Doctoral dissertation). –
Gladwell, M. (2021). The Bomber Mafia. Little, Brown and Company. –
Mindell, D. A. (2000). Automation’s finest hour: Radar and system integration in World War II. Systems, Experts, and Computers: The Systems Approach in Management and Engineering, World War II and After. Edited by A. C. Hughes and T. P. Hughes, 27-56. –
Haigh, T., Priestley, M., & Rope, C. (2016). ENIAC in Action. The MIT Press. –
Soni, J., & Goodman, R. (2017). A mind at play: how Claude Shannon invented the information age. Simon and Schuster. –
Haigh, T. & Ceruzzi, P. (2021). A New History of Modern Computing. The MIT Press. –
Rid, T. (2016). Rise of the Machines: a Cybernetic History. Highbridge. –
Ulmann, B. (2013). Analog computing. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag. –

Special thanks to Patreon supporters: Dmitry Kuzmichev, Matthew Gonzalez, Baranidharan S, Eric Sexton, john kiehl, Daniel Brockman, Anton Ragin, S S, Benedikt Heinen, Diffbot, Micah Mangione, MJP, Gnare, Dave Kircher, Edward Larsen, Burt Humburg, Blak Byers, Dumky, , Evgeny Skvortsov, Meekay, Bill Linder, Paul Peijzel, Mac Malkawi, Michael Schneider, Ludovic Robillard, jim buckmaster, Juan Benet, Ruslan Khroma, Robert Blum, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Vincent, Stephen Wilcox, Marinus Kuivenhoven, Clayton Greenwell, Michael Krugman, Cy ‘kkm’ K’Nelson, Sam Lutfi, Ron Neal

Written by Derek Muller, Stephen Welch and Emily Zhang
Filmed by Derek Muller, Emily Zhang and Raquel Nuno
Animation by Fabio Albertelli, Jakub Misiek, Mike Radjabov, Iván Tello, Trenton Oliver
Edited by Derek Muller
Additional video supplied by Getty Images
Music from Epidemic Sound and Jonny Hyman
Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev and Emily Zhang

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