digital computer

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A computer that operates on discrete quantities (compare analog computer). All computation is done within a finite number system and with limited precision, associated with the number of digits in the discrete numbers. The numerical information is most often represented by the use of two-state electrical phenomena (on/off, high voltage/low voltage, current/no current, etc.) to indicate whether the value of a binary variable is a “zero” or a “one”. Usually there is automatic control or sequencing (through a program) of operations so that they can be carried through to completion without intervention. See also discrete and continuous systems.

Subjects: Computing.

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