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Category# Digital electronics

Summary

Digital electronics is a field of electronics involving the study of digital signals and the engineering of devices that use or produce them. This is in contrast to analog electronics and analog signals.
Digital electronic circuits are usually made from large assemblies of logic gates, often packaged in integrated circuits. Complex devices may have simple electronic representations of Boolean logic functions.
The binary number system was refined by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (published in 1705) and he also established that by using the binary system, the principles of arithmetic and logic could be joined. Digital logic as we know it was the brain-child of George Boole in the mid 19th century. In an 1886 letter, Charles Sanders Peirce described how logical operations could be carried out by electrical switching circuits. Eventually, vacuum tubes replaced relays for logic operations. Lee De Forest's modification of the Fleming valve in 1907 could be used as an AND gate. Ludwig Wittgenstein introduced a version of the 16-row truth table as proposition 5.101 of Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921). Walther Bothe, inventor of the coincidence circuit, shared the 1954 Nobel Prize in physics, for creating the first modern electronic AND gate in 1924.
Mechanical analog computers started appearing in the first century and were later used in the medieval era for astronomical calculations. In World War II, mechanical analog computers were used for specialized military applications such as calculating torpedo aiming. During this time the first electronic digital computers were developed, with the term digital being proposed by George Stibitz in 1942. Originally they were the size of a large room, consuming as much power as several hundred modern PCs.
The Z3 was an electromechanical computer designed by Konrad Zuse. Finished in 1941, it was the world's first working programmable, fully automatic digital computer. Its operation was facilitated by the invention of the vacuum tube in 1904 by John Ambrose Fleming.

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Inverter (logic gate)

In digital logic, an inverter or NOT gate is a logic gate which implements logical negation. It outputs a bit opposite of the bit that is put into it. The bits are typically implemented as two differing voltage levels. The NOT gate outputs a zero when given a one, and a one when given a zero. Hence, it inverts its inputs. Colloquially, this inversion of bits is called "flipping" bits. As with all binary logic gates, other pairs of symbols such as true and false, or high and low may be used in lieu of one and zero.

Logic family

In computer engineering, a logic family is one of two related concepts: A logic family of monolithic digital integrated circuit devices is a group of electronic logic gates constructed using one of several different designs, usually with compatible logic levels and power supply characteristics within a family. Many logic families were produced as individual components, each containing one or a few related basic logical functions, which could be used as "building-blocks" to create systems or as so-called "glue" to interconnect more complex integrated circuits.

Analytical engine

The analytical engine was a proposed mechanical general-purpose computer designed by English mathematician and computer pioneer Charles Babbage. It was first described in 1837 as the successor to Babbage's difference engine, which was a design for a simpler mechanical calculator. The analytical engine incorporated an arithmetic logic unit, control flow in the form of conditional branching and loops, and integrated memory, making it the first design for a general-purpose computer that could be described in modern terms as Turing-complete.

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