The Most Powerful Computers You've Never Heard Of

The Most Powerful Computers You've Never Heard Of

Analog computers were the most powerful computers for thousands of years, relegated to obscurity by the digital revolution. This video is sponsored by Brilliant. The first 200 people to sign up via get 20% off a yearly subscription.

Thanks to Scott Wiedemann for the lego computer instructions –

Antikythera Archive & Animations ©2005-2020 Images First Ltd. “The Antikythera Cosmos” (2021) follows the latest developments from the UCL Antikythera Research Team as they recreate a dazzling display of the ancient Greek Cosmos at the front of the Antikythera Mechanism.

Tides video from NASA –

Ship animation from this painting –

Moore’s Law, the op-amp, and the Norden bombsight were filmed at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.


Freeth, T., Bitsakis, Y., Moussas, X., Seiradakis, J. H., Tselikas, A., Mangou, H., … & Edmunds, M. G. (2006). Decoding the ancient Greek astronomical calculator known as the Antikythera Mechanism. Nature, 444(7119), 587-591. –
Freeth, T., & Jones, A. (2012). The cosmos in the Antikythera mechanism. ISAW Papers. –
Cartwright, D. E. (2000). Tides: a scientific history. Cambridge University Press. –
Thomson, W. (2017). Mathematical and physical papers. CUP Archive. –
Parker, B. B. (2007). Tidal analysis and prediction. NOAA NOS Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services. –
Parker, B. (2011). The tide predictions for D-Day. Physics Today, 64(9), 35-40. –
Small, J. (2013). The Analogue Alternative. Routledge. –
Zorpette, G. (1989). Parkinson’s gun director. IEEE Spectrum, 26(4), 43. –
Tremblay, M. (2009). Deconstructing the myth of the Norden Bombsight (Doctoral dissertation). –
Gladwell, M. (2021). The Bomber Mafia. Little, Brown and Company. –
Mindell, D. A. (2000). Automation’s finest hour: Radar and system integration in World War II. Systems, Experts, and Computers: The Systems Approach in Management and Engineering, World War II and After. Edited by A. C. Hughes and T. P. Hughes, 27-56. –
Haigh, T., Priestley, M., & Rope, C. (2016). ENIAC in Action. The MIT Press. –
Soni, J., & Goodman, R. (2017). A mind at play: how Claude Shannon invented the information age. Simon and Schuster. –
Haigh, T. & Ceruzzi, P. (2021). A New History of Modern Computing. The MIT Press. –
Rid, T. (2016). Rise of the Machines: a Cybernetic History. Highbridge. –
Ulmann, B. (2013). Analog computing. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag. –

Special thanks to Patreon supporters: Dmitry Kuzmichev, Matthew Gonzalez, Baranidharan S, Eric Sexton, john kiehl, Daniel Brockman, Anton Ragin, S S, Benedikt Heinen, Diffbot, Micah Mangione, MJP, Gnare, Dave Kircher, Edward Larsen, Burt Humburg, Blak Byers, Dumky, , Evgeny Skvortsov, Meekay, Bill Linder, Paul Peijzel, Mac Malkawi, Michael Schneider, Ludovic Robillard, jim buckmaster, Juan Benet, Ruslan Khroma, Robert Blum, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Vincent, Stephen Wilcox, Marinus Kuivenhoven, Clayton Greenwell, Michael Krugman, Cy ‘kkm’ K’Nelson, Sam Lutfi, Ron Neal

Written by Derek Muller, Stephen Welch and Emily Zhang
Filmed by Derek Muller, Emily Zhang and Raquel Nuno
Animation by Fabio Albertelli, Jakub Misiek, Mike Radjabov, Iván Tello, Trenton Oliver
Edited by Derek Muller
Additional video supplied by Getty Images
Music from Epidemic Sound and Jonny Hyman
Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev and Emily Zhang


  1. Articulate99 on April 6, 2022 at 6:32 pm

    Always interesting, thank you.

  2. WhyIsTheMooseLoose on April 6, 2022 at 6:33 pm

    Thank you for what you do @Veritasium! You are truly an inspiration to me to stay curious!

  3. ehmcheng on April 6, 2022 at 6:34 pm

    me: there’s no way integration can be done with an analogue computer
    veritasium: hold my ball and disc

  4. Anshul _ on April 6, 2022 at 6:34 pm

    How do people even figure out this stuff? I can’t imagine how the world would’ve been without some genius inventors of the past.

  5. Shane Anderson on April 6, 2022 at 6:36 pm


  6. Harry Pugh on April 6, 2022 at 6:36 pm


  7. Richard Farrer on April 6, 2022 at 6:38 pm

    Have to comment on digital computers using and, or and not. I can see why you didn’t go into depth, but all of those can be handled by nand (not and) gates.

    Not A = A nand A = not (A and A)
    A and B = (A nand B) nand (A nand B) = not (not (A and B))
    A or B = (A nand A) nand (B nand B) = not (not A and not B)

  8. Bill Johnson on April 6, 2022 at 6:40 pm

    for the algo

  9. De Kev on April 6, 2022 at 6:40 pm

    LAPLACE and FOURIER are still giving Electrical Engineering students sleepless nights today

  10. Kipkemoi Kiptum on April 6, 2022 at 6:41 pm


    It’s not Wheatstone differential pulley. It’s Weston differential pulley.

    Weston was Thomas Aldridge Weston (RIP) & Wheatstone was Sir Charles Wheatstone. I really got lost trying to Google pulleys from Wheatstone based on your subtitles.

    My Electrical and Electronic Engineering education also played against me. Kindly consider correcting it.

  11. Nate Shwartz on April 6, 2022 at 6:43 pm

    That was an amazing video!

  12. Elias Håkansson on April 6, 2022 at 6:44 pm

    This video is, dare I say, clickbait…

  13. Jonathan Torres 🕎✝️ on April 6, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    _As He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered them, _*_“Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled. For all these things must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines, epidemics, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. “Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. And you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. Then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another. And many false prophets will rise and will deceive many. Because iniquity will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come._*_ Matthew 24:3‭-14 MEV_
    (Obs: From the beginning of the tribulation to the end, which takes 7 years, and near the end, the gospel will be preached to the whole world, which would be impossible without technology of global communication.)

    *_“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you know that its desolation has drawn near._*_ Luke 21:20 MEV_
    *_“So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place,(…)_*_ Matthew 24:15 MEV_
    _“His armies shall rise up and desecrate the sanctuary fortress. They shall abolish the daily sacrifice and set up the abomination that makes desolate. Daniel 11:31 MEV_
    _“From the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away and the abomination that makes desolate set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Daniel 12:11 MEV_
    (Obs: These events will take place after the construction of the third temple of Solomon in Jerusalem.)
    *_(…)then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. Let him who is in the field not return to take his clothes. Woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse in those days! Pray that your escape will not be in the winter or on the Sabbath. For then will be great tribulation, such as has not happened since the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be. “Unless those days were shortened, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened._*_ Matthew 24:16‭-22 MEV_

    *_There will be signs in the sun and the moon and the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men fainting from fear and expectation of what is coming on the inhabited earth. For the powers of heaven will be shaken._*_ Luke 21:25-26 MEV_
    (Obs: In the age of technology, men know what is happening on the inhabited earth, no longer are they limited by local information.)
    *_“Immediately after the tribulation of those days, ‘the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.’ “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other._*_ Matthew 24:29‭-31 MEV_
    *_When these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption is drawing near._*_ Luke 21:28 MEV_

    *_Because you have kept My word of patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation which shall come upon the entire world, to test those who dwell on the earth._*_ Revelation 3:10 MEV_
    (Obs: Rapture before the time of temptation, which will be the government of the antichrist during the great tribulation.)

    _For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 MEV_
    (Obs: Rapture.)

    *_For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man._*_ Matthew 24:38‭-‬39 MEV_
    (Obs: People will not be eating and drinking and marrying during the great tribulation, therefore, rapture will happen before the great tribulation, when people are still distracted.)

    _When they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:3 MEV_
    (Obs: Sudden destruction near the rapture.)

    *_Two will be in the field; one will be taken, and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and the other left._*_ Matthew 24:40‭-41 MEV_
    (Obs: Rapture.)

    _Know this first, that there shall come scoffers in the last days who walk after their own lusts, and say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were since the beginning of the creation.” 2 Peter 3:3‭-4 MEV_
    (Obs: Apostasy of the last days, when more and more men are denying God and going after their own sinful desires.)

    _But the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat. The earth also and the works that are in it will be burned up. 2 Peter 3:10 MEV_
    (Obs: The destructions that will happen after the rapture, just as the days of Sodom and Gomorrah; the righteous are rescued and the judgements are poured upon the wicked. "like a thief in the night" means it will happen when you do not expect. "heavens will pass away" means the sky will vanish as a scroll that is being rolled up, which is mentioned in Revelation 6:14.)

    _In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, for the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:52 MEV_
    (Obs: People around the world have been hearing trumpets from the sky in different times, it has been happening for a few years. When the last trumpet sound, the redeemed will be rescued and the great tribulation will begin.)

    _He causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, so that no one may buy or sell, except he who has the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name. Revelation 13:16‭-17 MEV_
    (Obs: In the last days, no one will be able to buy or sell without a mark from the government/beast of the antichrist, which will take place during the great tribulation, which is at the door.)

    _But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” Daniel 12:4 MEV_
    (Obs: In the last days, many will travel to many places and knowledge will be increased.)

    *_“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life._*_ John 3:16 MEV_

    Behold, the Lord of lords is coming soon, repent now of all your sins —turn away from all sins— and abide in the only Savior and Lord Jesus the Christ (Yeshua the Messiah) with all your heart, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

  14. nauy on April 6, 2022 at 6:46 pm

    Part 2 is most likely about neuromorphic computers, which imo are really just ‘Cargo Cult’ technology. It’s been tried before and it is still stupid.

  15. lexiii69- on April 6, 2022 at 6:47 pm

    These kind of scientists sacrifice themselves for a better future!

  16. ZenArcade on April 6, 2022 at 6:48 pm

    A perfect video ! Should be in alll engineering classes !

  17. Vinayak Johari on April 6, 2022 at 6:48 pm

    The video is so detailed, that it takes double the time to understand.🧐🧐
    Love the knowledge you provide.❤❤❤

  18. LUCIANITO on April 6, 2022 at 6:49 pm

    sometimes I feel so !di0t while watching these videos, not only because I ´ve to really focus and repeat over and over a segment to feel like I understand what he is talking about (that integration part ffs) but also because I admire these legendary like people for being so freaking brillant at such a young age and with such a dedication, I wouldn´t be able to have an inch of their dedication,

  19. graphist painter on April 6, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    Hmm that whole issue may take the all now resident computers to some other level, eh? I mean that all those super efects that are being made inside adobe programs and stuff could find a really fertile ground to bloom on them by that thought, OK? How lovely that would really be, huh? Plus do not mind all my ‘eh’s and ‘huh’s for they’d been something our ancient philosopher (Yes me I am Greek) Socrates had been teaching all of us named the obstetric method, eh? But we had to believe only on what those language speakers around the whole globe, that that kind of expression is not right, and why on this state that we are today should we consider them as the only correct ones, huh? I mean least me I want my personal knowledge to be spread around the whole globe, eh? Why should you come against me cause of my own preference of speaking? If you do not like my sayings man just shut your ears, OK? (not you of course, my dear friend, eh?)

  20. Vaishakh Chavan on April 6, 2022 at 6:52 pm

    Wow! You just blew my mind away! I’ve been working with electronics form the era of the vacuum tube valves all the way to modern computation and microcontrollers. Lord Kelvin and the magic he made certainly overwhelmed me but what’s even better was the way in which man could think and produce these amazing things, both horrible as well as incredible. Thank you. I loved this one.

  21. DogFish Rising on April 6, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    “Then he had a stroke…. of inspiration”

  22. Akash S on April 6, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    The British are always trying to show off their intelligence. science doesn’t have to be this complicated.

  23. Jebi Se on April 6, 2022 at 6:55 pm

    14:30 well… no. there was also proximity fuse.

  24. Jan Kowalski on April 6, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    Analog computers were used in Poland in the 70’s and 80’s. Saw that at the technical university in the 90’s as a curiosity. You brought those memories back.

  25. The Restart Point on April 6, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    No mention of Babbage and the Difference Engine?

  26. Grom on April 6, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    My first track on yutube: Relax-Zakat

  27. Baby Blue Rue on April 6, 2022 at 7:00 pm

    I’ve seen several veritasium videos over the years… All by chance as I’ve always forgotten to subscribe. Not today.

  28. Vandalyst on April 6, 2022 at 7:00 pm

    17:11 do you know the first computer eniac wasn’t a binary computer it performed decimal arithmetic

  29. Nishadraj Sharma on April 6, 2022 at 7:01 pm


  30. Aaditya Bisht on April 6, 2022 at 7:04 pm


  31. G. B. on April 6, 2022 at 7:05 pm

    Finally I understand fourier-series!

  32. Shahar Har-Shuv on April 6, 2022 at 7:08 pm

    10:24 when I thought the animaiton was a schematic abstract visualization but apparently that’s exactly how it looks like

  33. ROHIT CHAT on April 6, 2022 at 7:10 pm

    The digital age course 🙏🙏

  34. Fork on April 6, 2022 at 7:10 pm

    What about quantum computing? That’s still digital right? And it’s much faster too.

  35. Дмитрий Иванов on April 6, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    I can safely say that this is one the most informative videos I ever saw in my entire life.

  36. Kirk Hodges on April 6, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    Gross oversimplification of neurons.

  37. vimal tirkey on April 6, 2022 at 7:13 pm

    Damn so many underrated inventors during wars.

  38. dcamron46 on April 6, 2022 at 7:13 pm

    I don’t understand how taking the tide curve, breaking it up into a fourier series and then re-adding the coeffcients back to together does anything other than re-create the original curve. How is this different from just taking a period of the original oscillating curve and simply extrapolating it to repeat itself…

  39. Jordan Cooper on April 6, 2022 at 7:15 pm

    Wow crazy well researched and presented video derek! Very thought provoking and quite the interesting series of events and stories. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  40. Markus Luukkonen on April 6, 2022 at 7:16 pm

    This is simply amazing.

  41. 90dy on April 6, 2022 at 7:16 pm


  42. Harold on April 6, 2022 at 7:20 pm

    Will you pay my student loans please, I’ve got about 25k remaining.

  43. mike on April 6, 2022 at 7:20 pm

    Is this as good as my rtx 3070 and ryzen 7 5600 beast pc

  44. Stanley Studios on April 6, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    But how did they compensate for sinusoidal repleneration?

  45. jj18 on April 6, 2022 at 7:23 pm

    7:28 sometimes all it takes is one train ride

  46. Fernand Lust on April 6, 2022 at 7:24 pm

    The Nike anti-aircraft missile system guidance computer was fully analog until the late seventies, early eighties. It needed quite some maintenance, but worked like a charm.

  47. Arturo Dela Cruz iii on April 6, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    no matter what digital or analog the laws of the universe says that not everything is permanent
    analog computer made of iron rust
    digital computers failsed when there is a radiation which destroy silicon chips
    what we need is an hybrid or more advanced design like quantum computers

  48. Answer by Accident ? on April 6, 2022 at 7:28 pm

    @veritasium You sure, analog is continues and Digital is Descrete …..If we see analog and digital signals its opposite.

  49. Mickeyislowd on April 6, 2022 at 7:28 pm

    Analogue to Digital Conversion. ADCs

  50. John B on April 6, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    *CORRECTION: The Most Powerful of ALL Computers, is "The Processing System of LIFE", ( NOT to be confused with humans ) very few humans, know about, on Earth… IF "The Processing System of LIFE" did not first exist, you and this Universe would NOT exist !*