One of the world’s first computers ran on water

English mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage is said to have designed the first automatic digital computer in the world. Babbage created plans for the Analytical Engine in the mid-1830s. Although it was never completed, the Analytical Engine would have had most of the basic elements of the present-day computer.

But, do you know that one of the first computers in the world, called the water computer, was run on water. It was built by Vladimir Sergeevich Lukyanov, of Russia, in 1936 and solved differential equations in partial derivatives.

Lukyanov worked with a construction firm that could not find a solution for the cracks that used to happen in concretes during winter’s sub-zero temperature. To understand the thermal process better, Lukyanov researched the temperature conditions in concrete masonry. Finally, he built the water integrator machine that could plot graphs and help visualize the thermal process.

Manufacturing plants, research organizations, and educational institutes used the water computers well into the 1970s. The use of these hydraulic integrators diminished once the digital computers became more powerful and convenient to use.

Figure 1 from Lukyanov's Hydraulic Integrator and Moor's Hydrocal:  Experience in Applying of the Hydraulic Analogies Method in the USSR and  the USA | Semantic Scholar

Vladimir Sergeevich Lukyanov

samim on Twitter: "Water Integrator: "an analog computer built in the  Soviet Union in 1936. It functioned by manipulation of water through pipes  & pumps. It was capable of solving differential equations.

The water computer

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