Proceedings PaperSmall-computer program for optical design and analysis written in "C"
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The use of electronic computers in optical design and analysis is well established. In fact, optical calculations were among the first applications of the first computers that were built in the 40's, and Donald Feder, starting in 1951 , proved that the use of these machines went far beyond removing the tediousness of laborious calculations and offered new dimensions in understanding the actual design process . By today's standards, of course, the equipment which had such a remarkable impact at its time, was primitive and slow. A modern inexpensive programmable calculator easily outperforms the any computers in both speed and memory capacity, not to mention accuracy and reliability. This also implies, that today, even computers at the low end of the cost and performance scale can be turned into remarkably powerful tools for optical design and analysis. This has been demonstrated for the class of programmable calculators  but applies, of course, even more convincingly to the present generation of low-cost personal computers, which are typically based on 16- or 32-bit processors, and where prices start well below $ 1000.-. Any degree of higher performance is available at steadily increased prices, so that there appears to be a fit for each requirement.