Abstract

The evolution of large electronic computers has been so rapid that the importance of these machines for the optical sciences is not widely recognized. Calculations have already been made with such equipment in the fields of lens design, color, and spectroscopy.

Enormous speeds, up to a hundred thousand times that of a desk calculator, and flexible logic of recent general-purpose computers now make possible numerical solution of partial differential equations, synthesis of simple lens systems, correlation of complex infrared spectra with known data, mechanized literature searching, and real-time control instrumentation.

The limitations imposed by economic considerations, by shortage of trained programming personnel, and by machine breakdown are discussed.

© 1953 Optical Society of America

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