HP Connection to Ancient Calculator



#12

Another general-interest story, but this one is reasonably on-topic here since it concerns a) a calculator and b) HP.

A team of researchers is close to announcing what they believe is the purpose of the Antikythera Device. The Device, which was found in 1902 in a Mediterranean wreck, dates from the 1st century BC, so that it easily predates Leibniz and Curta-style calculators.

Most people who have investigated the Antikythera Device believe that it performs some kind of astronomical calculations. The latest team of researchers have used a reflectance imaging technique developed by HP Labs to create a polynomical texture map of the gears in the device, thus revealing text engraved within the device for the first time. They also used high-resolution x-ray technology.

An article giving some details of all this is at http://www.networkworld.com/news/2006/112706widernet.html. The team's main site is at http://www.antikythera-mechanism.gr/ but seems to be down due to Slashdot Effect.

Best,

--- Les

[http://www.lesbell.com.au]

Edited: 23 Nov 2006, 11:19 p.m.


#13

Les,
I remember reading about this machine 20 years ago or so in "Scientific American". Thanks for the update. BTW what is the "Slashdot Effect"?

tm


#14

"Slashdot Effect" occurs when a story is linked from the site http://slashdot.org. It has so many readers that, when they all click on the links, they can effectively make a site unreachable.

The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project site at http://www.antikythera-mechanism.gr/ is back up today, however.

The opening statement on the site states:

"The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project, with the cooperation of the National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation and the support of the National Bank of Greece, organizes a conference at the Lecture theatre of the National Bank of Greece, Karatzas building, 82-84 Eolou street, in Athens, Thursday November 30th and Friday December 1st, 2006.

"This conference will include the announcement of the first results of this initiative, including a new model of its function. The organizers invite leading world experts to discuss and reassess the Mechanism's origins, purpose and wider significance for the state of technology in ancient Greece."

The ancient Greeks constructed some amazing technology, but this mechanism must be at or near the pinnacle.

Best,

--- Les

[http://www.lesbell.com.au]


#15

Les,

Please keep us posted in case we might miss something about this fascinating ancient machine.

tm


#16

You should check the .gr site next week (Tuesday/Wednesday) - they are promising to post "important news", including new theories about the function.

#17

Quote:
Please keep us posted in case we might miss something about this fascinating ancient machine.

The main site, http://www.antikythera-mechanism.gr/, seems to be down - perhaps they're doing a major update on it. Last I saw, there was going to be a conference Thurs/Fri this week, which might explain it.

Meanwhile, Reuters has started to carry some reports on the Antikythera Mechanism, alluding to a paper in the journal, "Nature". See http://www.smh.com.au/news/World/Ancient-calculator-ahead-of-its-time/2006/11/30/1164777701132.html.

Best,

--- Les

[http://www.lesbell.com.au]


#18

Thank you Les for the update.

I too find their web site not functioning.

tm


#19

The Antikythera Mechanism site, http://www.antikythera-mechanism.gr/ is back up, with some computer-generated images of what the machine looked like. There's a lot more information on other pages, too.

There's also a press release from Nature at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v444/n7119/abs/nature05357.html.

Best,

--- Les

[http://www.lesbell.com.au]

#20

The Greek site is still down ...

So, for those of us understanding German, there are 2 more articles here and here. Enjoy!

#21

If you thing you are going to be slashdotted check out my friends solution:

http://www.geology.smu.edu/~dpa-www/attention_span/

#22

Update to this post.

I said 20 years ago or so! The SA issue was June 1959! Per Google. Just getting old.

tm


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