Analog computers have been a valuable resource for a time to solve linear as well as nonlinear differential equations before being superseded by digital computers. However, interest toward analog computing has not fully faded away. Though not competitive for accuracy or speed, analog computers have the important property of being true physical systems that can be made to behave according to a given equations set. This aspect makes analog computers interesting educational tools for hands-on work with real physical systems, where a number of effects, both linear and not linear, can easily be added at will (a feature not readily available in mechanical systems). This paper describes the implementation of a modular, very flexible, cheap, yet powerful analog computer, suitable for student laboratories. As examples of possible applications, a selection of linear and nonlinear oscillator models are described that can be used in the laboratory to introduce students to various nonlinear effects.

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Supplementary Material

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