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MMD > Archives > February 1996 > 1996.02.27 > 03Prev  Next


Are Player Pianos Early Computers ?
By Marc Kaufman

Jody says:

> I think that calling early digitally controlled textile
> looms and pianos "computers" to be quite an exaggeration.
> However its clear that the underpinnings of "digital control"
> started evolving a long time ago (the looms _ARE_ given credit
> in my computer textbooks).

Right on. The distinction between "computers" and "digital machines" hinges on control structures (loops, if-then-else) and the keeping of "state information" external to the program that can be tested by the program.

Though, I admit, it gets fuzzy when you ask if a Jukebox that plays 3 tunes for a Quarter maintains and tests external "state". And didn't Link have "loops"?

Marc Kaufman


(Message sent Tue 27 Feb 1996, 06:02:30 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  Are, Computers, Early, Pianos, Player

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