Sunday, 10 July 2011

Wordplay - computer

Samuel Johnson's dictionary 3rd edition published in 1766 defines 'computer' as:-
COMPUTER [from compute]. Reckoner; accountant.

Today of course, we use digital computers to compute - to do what was once done by hand and mind. Similarly, computer models do what we tell them to do - what we could still do by hand and mind if given an impossible amount of time.

Computers and computer models don’t do science - that's what we still do, the hand and mind stuff. We frequently do it very badly of course, but we can't blame computers for that, however powerful they may be. 

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