This Compact Analog Laptop Cleverly Calculates Lorenz Attractors for Convection Simulation

Pseudonymous university student “CheeenNPP” has developed a personal computer with a change: it is really analog, instead than electronic, and serves to address Lorenz system equations — supplying butterfly-like Lorenz attractor answers as its output.

“One of the main applications of analog circuits is to resolve mathematical issues, this kind of as making a circuit corresponding to a non-linear differential equation and examining the phase airplane attributes of it by observing its output voltage with an oscilloscope or analog plotter,” CheeenNPP describes of the project. “I will take a well known non-linear differential equation, the Lorenz Attractor, as an illustration, and clearly show the complete procedure of fixing it with an analog circuit.”

A technique of a few equations created by Edward Lorenz, Ellen Fetter, and Margaret Hamilton in 1963, the Lorenz system delivers a simplified mathematical design of atmospheric convection primarily based on a two-dimensional fluid layer which is warned from below and cooled from earlier mentioned. It really is most well known for the Lorenz attractor solution family, which makes a sample not as opposed to the wings of a butterfly — and it’s these solutions CheeenNPP’s analog laptop or computer is built to give.

“Integral: use [an] inverting integrator circuit, but temporarily discard the resistor, which is equivalent to integrating the enter latest and multiplying by -1,” CheeenNPP points out of how their development is effective. “Multiplying by -1: use the inverting amplifier and established the two resistors with the exact benefit. Addition: use present-day summation alternatively of voltage, so the kind is more simple. Multiplying by a regular k: use a resistor with a resistance of 1/k, the voltage throughout it is transformed into a current and output as a final result. Multiplication: implemented applying a focused voltage multiplier.”

Following LTSpice simulation to demonstrate the notion, CheeenNPP established about making it on a prototyping board — ensuing in a astonishingly compact creation with a maze of solder and jumper-wire one-way links beneath. Related to an oscilloscope, the acquainted winged pattern of a Lorenz attractor is straight away seen.

“The phosphor afterglow of the analog oscilloscope […] has a really illusory and ethereal elegance,” CheeenNPP says, “just like the elusive chaos implied by the Lorentzian attractor.”

A circuit diagram and additional information and facts on the job is accessible on CheeenNPP’s Hackaday.io web page.


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