This question here brought up interesting points on what kind of distribution we could expect for the increase in computational power of mechanical computers in a world relying solely on such non-electric computation devices. A related question is asking about theoretical limits to mechanical computing.
I am wondering on what realistic computational limits exist on mechanical computers given a certain level of mechanical expertise - i.e. how small can we make the actual gears/shafts/springs/cogs/...
What is the maximum amount of computational power we could expect from a mechanical computer?
- Let's assume that the level of mechanical expertise is what we see in exquisite (and expensive) mechanical watches today - so in effect mechanics on a scale that a person can manufacture at with hand tools.
- As a size limit let's pick the size of some of the earliest large computers (maybe similar to ENIAC and consorts): the mechanical computer still needs to fit into a medium sized building.
As a measure of computational power I'm interested in FLOPS, i.e. floating point operations per second, which is still the standard in measuring computational strength of cluster systems nowadays. Exact numbers would of course be dependant on the system, but some rough order-of-magnitude estimation should be possible. For reference:
Bonus: If possible I'd also be interested in the power consumption (in Watt) of such a computational machine, but this could also be hand waved.