The GP-6 carries on the general purpose analog computer as an old technology that stays forever young. Although the analog computer rarely computes in a manner that gave it its name, analog computing continues to thrive in the form of linear circuits. Analog computing fundamentals are the roots of linear circuits. The analog computer patch panel remains the only means of programming linear circuits, i.e. operational amplifiers into the endless number of analog circuit devices. With a GP-6 in the laboratory, stable, trouble- free signal conditioning, simulation, control, intrumentation, etc. circuits can be up an running in minutes.
Control laboratories are the primary installations. The GP-6 is the ideal starting point for teaching classic control system design. Working first with the GP-6, the student experiences not only the basic challenge of the control problem, but a hands-on development of the system physics into its math model, the patch panel programming of linear devices into interface and controller circuits, scaling analog variables and the use of simulation as a tool for both inductive and deductive analysis.
The GP-6 is also used in classroom demonstrations and advanced design projects where programmable simulations serve as linear and non-linear plants to be controlled. GP-6 simulations are high speed, continuous, and realistic stand-ins for testing analog and digital controllers and control systems.
Other than teaching, the GP-6 finds application as a handy, portable, general purpose instrument, the GP-6 patch panel a means to quickly program, as opposed to breadboarding, linear circuits.
Each GP-6 is a self-contained unit capable of simulating linear and non-linear systems of up to four state variables. Over 2000 GP-6 analog computers have been installed in over 400 university, government and commercial research laboratories.
The GP-6 Analog Computer, Alive but not exactly kicking, an article by Ray Spiess.