Computers & Mobile Technology
Early Russian Hydraulic Computer

In the heyday of analog computing, Vladimir Lukyanov designed an advanced computer that used water as the storage media. Various tubes, tanks, valves, pumps and sluices churned out solutions for the user based on variables such as changing tax rates or increasing money supply. From the Russian magazine Science and Life:

Built in 1936, this machine was “the world’s first computer for solving [partial] differential equations,” which “for half a century has been the only means of calculations of a wide range of problems in mathematical physics.” Absolutely its most amazing aspect is that solving such complex mathematical equations meant playing around with a series of interconnected, water-filled glass tubes. You “calculated” with plumbing.

[via Pruned]


15 thoughts on “Early Russian Hydraulic Computer

  1. “Various tubes, tanks, valves, pumps and sluices churned out solutions for the user….” haha, I see what you did there.

    In any case, that’s pretty awesome…googling for some (hopefully) video and/or further information

  2. Fortunately, we do not live on the Disc, and so the hydraulic computer does not accidentally magically interface with reality in order to add or remove gold from vaults.

  3. Pingback: Anonymous
  4. how about using some modern photo etching to miniaturise one? or even a better one? non-electric computing would be good in the case of emp strikes, or zombies trying to eat the warm generators.

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In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens' educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

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