Transmission of Information

By: Jesse Miller

Information transmitted in a discrete form appears as signals which may only assume a finite number of states within a continuum of amplitude values. Analog computers are designed to store, retrieve, and manipulate information that is continuous in nature.

These types of computers are particularly well suited to the solution of linear, integral, and differential equations as might be required. The presence or absence of a pulse can represent a discrete form of information, such as true-false or an on-off condition.

E.g. In controlling a fractionation process where the composition and amount of gas in a fractionation tower is regulated. Based on the information representing the correct composition of raw materials entering the tower, plus current temperature and pressure readings, a new temperature setting is calculated via a control law.

This control law has been programmed into the integrating and differentiating circuitry of the analog computer. All readings, settings, and calculations are in the form of continuous signals.

An analog computer does not have the speed, computational ability, and above all accuracy to handle the processing needs of many of the common computer applications such as payroll accounting. In fact, even in process-control applications like the fractionation tower example, the analog computer is not completely satisfactory and has been replaced by the computationally superior digital computer or by a combination of digital and analog computers known as hybrid computers.

In a digital computer, all information is transferred in a discrete form which involves signals representing one of two states. The binary signals are created by the presence representing one of two states. The binary signals are created by the presence or absence of an electric current or the presence of a positive or a negative current.

Certain advanced research efforts have been made toward the development of non binary computers. Such efforts are still in testing stage. They are much less reliable than binary computers. Retrieval, storage, and processing of discrete information by digital computers are gaining prominence.

There are two types of discrete information present in digital computers, namely, machine instructions and the data which are to be manipulated by these operations. Associated with a data structure is a particular set of operations needed to access properly information present in that structure.

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High level operations are translatable to a functionally equivalent set of machine-level operations. Information connectivity exists due to transmission devices which work to transmit appropriate information.

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