Non-binary computing was explored to the point of actual production during the relatively early days of computing. For scope of this question specifically ternary computers and decimal computers are considered.

Assuming that the western world would have instead embraced one of these models of computing instead of the ultimately more efficient and practice binary system, how would that have affected sociocultural and technological development?

To further restrict the scope, let's limit discussion to the effects on America specifically during the Cold War era (1947 - 1991).


1 Answer 1


Not much.

Even with the added complexity of a non-binary computer electronic computers are vastly superior to mechanical computers or doing it out longhand.

What we would use computers for wouldn't change since computability isn't dependent on the system used to represent numbers in hardware.

We'd still see a similar iterative cycle of improvement in computing hardware eventually running up against the same physical limits we are now.


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