Charge imbalance in early cables: the influence of language

de Cogan, D., Janacek, G. J., Al-Ajllan, A., Carter, S. C., Claflin, D., Collins, C., Cutlack, M. R., Davies, P., Galaasen, F., Hubee, M., Love, D. C., Meduoye, O. O., Merritt, A., Nash, T., Newell, T. L., Patten, S. S., Pierson, T. R., Pluck, A. L., Radford, J., Raja, T., Salisbury, M. P., Walker, S. and Willows, P. (2004) Charge imbalance in early cables: the influence of language. In: IEE History of Technology Conference, 2004-07-02 - 2004-07-03, University College London.

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The basis for this paper was initiated by observations that were made by a group of undergraduate students (the co-authors listed above) as part of a coursework exercise in an elective unit (CMPS2S22 "The Information Revolution and its origins") which is taught at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. It concerns a technical problem that must have beset the early operators of cables who used a sensitive galvanometer with a light-spot, so that deflections one way were identified as dots and the other way as dashes. If Morse code had been designed for use on long distance cables, then it would have been balanced, so that the number of dots in an average message would equal the number of dashes. This would generally leave the light spot in the middle of the screen. But Morse code was not designed this way and the sum of dots generally exceeds the sum of dashes. In the case of the imbalance in Morse code messages, there are linguistic effects, but we may be certain that operators would, with experience, have developed coping strategies, so that the spot did not go off the scale. However, the authors are not aware of any record of such operational procedures

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Computing Sciences
Depositing User: Vishal Gautam
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2011 20:51
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2023 12:30

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