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GE Differential Analyzer

by Critical Commons Manager

When Worlds Collide presents a rare appearance of GE's analogue, mechanical computing device known as the Differential Analyzer. No mere background prop, this is a plausible application of the technology being used to calculate the trajectory of a planet that is speeding toward collision with the Earth. Already in 1951, vaguely anthropomorphized initials were used to refer to the computer ("D.A." for Differential Analyzer), prefiguring this cinematic convention in numerous subsequent films of the mainframe era. The gender roles seen in this clip are also historically grounded, with women responsible for input/output of data to the machine.

Differential Analyzer cameo in When Worlds Collide

Scientists rely on a combination of data and images to determine that the world will soon be destroyed by collision with another planet

from When Worlds Collide (1951)
Creator: Rudolph Maté
Distributor: Paramount
Posted by Critical Commons Manager
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