Questions tagged [computers]

For questions regarding a device that can be programmed to carry out a set of certain set of tasks without external intervention.

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14
votes
14answers
4k views

How much tech advancement could be made out of modern processor appearing in 1980s?

I rewatched terminator 2 and got intrigued by a particular quote: [microchip] scary stuff, radically advanced. I mean it was smashed, it didn't work, but it gave us ideas, took us in new ...
4
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3answers
194 views

The cure for all bacteria-caused diseases

Which minimal order of magnitude is required to simulate single cells and microorganisms in cyberspace? In an utopian future, people will be possibly able to rapidly design new cures, be their ...
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3answers
111 views

What could an algorithm for fast prime factorization look like? [closed]

For hundreds of years mathematicians have been looking for a method to quickly factorize a natural number. For example: 3894757 = 877*4441 Today there's no way ...
-4
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4answers
120 views

what are some ways to store information mechanically?

what are some ways to store largish amounts of information mechanically? What would a mechanical computer use for memory storage if it was entirely mechanical? edit: guys why is this downvoted? I don'...
45
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26answers
12k views

What is a recently obsolete computer storage device that would be significantly difficult to extract data from?

For my story I need a data storage device that will be reasonably familiar to adult readers. My character will have obtained this device and know that vital information is stored on it, but not ...
5
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4answers
131 views

What's the deciding factor in what my Foresight can predict?

When you have foresight, it's guaranteed that confusion will be your epitaph (thumbs up to the one person who gets the joke). Basically, it only grants you advantage on actions, so you still can't ...
0
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2answers
121 views

How could this three-second foresight work?

"However, King Crimson has already seen through it. Your movements in the future. The trajectory of your movements in the future." "No matter who you may be, everyone goes through their ups and ...
2
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2answers
162 views

A mathmatician just discovered a way to solve any NP-Complete problen in N*log(n) time. How does the world change? [closed]

The title sort of says it all. We discovered through some ingenious use of obscure mathematics a way to solve any NP-Complete problem with an algorithm that completes in a Big-O of n*log(n) time. ...
10
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6answers
390 views

How would a civilization without reading and writing develop general-purpose computers?

Related: Technological development without writing (related to general technological development without writing) How would a society without linear alphabetic writing have devised human-readable ...
4
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3answers
280 views

Your computer made you rich by perfectly predicting 50/50 and 1:3 decisions, but only 50µs in the future. What did you control? [closed]

You have a Time Displacement Teleportation Device (or two). Your computer is making split-second decisions, & it knows an outcome or event 50µs from now and can correct decisions. You now control ...
7
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5answers
663 views

What Technology is Needed to Virtually Simulate…Everything?

This is not my question. In my story, I have a machine that you can connect to using electrodes. It allows one to enter a small virtual reality room where everything from gravity and electromagnetism,...
35
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12answers
8k views

Is It Possible to Make a Computer Virus That Acts as an Anti-virus?

After receiving answers to this question, I now know that viruses cannot be written in machine code in such a way that they can universally infect all kinds of systems. Every machine has a unique set ...
4
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8answers
2k views

Is It Possible for a Universally-Executable Virus to be Written in Binary?

In my world, there was a man that wrote a virus in binary code - which in turn infects every computer-based system in the world, as long as it is connected to the internet. Is this even possible? ...
1
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2answers
145 views

How to connect Brain to computer? [closed]

I'm not talking about mind-uploading, but rather about connecting your consciousness to the computer to be able to live inside it.I'm talking rather about advanced bci, so you have all the experiences,...
2
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1answer
189 views

How to create Matrix-like simulation?

Movies like The Matrix and video games like The Evil Within have popularized the idea of a simulated reality. I'm talking about a human connected to a computer and able to experience similar things ...
-1
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1answer
106 views

Could AI create a more complex language and (if so) how? [closed]

Animals use less intelligent language, so one may assume that human language is unintelligent to extraterrestrial life. We use technology to perceive senses that we do not naturally have (e.g., seeing ...
18
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9answers
5k views

Non-visual Computers - thoughts?

TL;DR Let's say that computers were invented at a school for the blind in mid-1800s. How would today's technology, based on these non-screen-based computers, be different? ETA: To clarify and ...
5
votes
3answers
433 views

What is realistic quality of computer blueprints quickly backed up before apocalypse and their impact on future design?

Incoming generic apocalypse, a bunch of people with low budget tries to quickly download publicly accessible blueprints, so in a few decades or centuries someone would be able produce again computer ...
10
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9answers
3k views

How to trick a fairly simplistic kill-counter? [closed]

In my setting, soldiers carry with them kill-counters; devices that measure the lifesigns of everything in the vicinity and then count one kill if the lifesigns of a given humanoid suddenly ceases to ...
3
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1answer
243 views

What would happen if we sent a modern computer into the past? [closed]

According to Moore's law, the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles about every two years. Therefore, a modern household computer has the computational capabilities of a supercomputer ...
3
votes
2answers
141 views

Humans meet a distant alien species. How do they coordinate? - Computers [closed]

Part of a series addressing the challenges of a mutual first contact. Previous question here Humans meet some distant alien species. They are mutual first contacts. After learning the languages of ...
1
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0answers
234 views

What is the limit of Graphene CPUs? [closed]

In the world I'm building, set roughly 350 years in the future, the humans have colonized the Solar System and other systems beyond using a hyperlane network discovered at the edges of the Solar ...
2
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1answer
119 views

Imaginary computer processor, made of flip-flop atoms

It would be cool if scientists can invent an electrical material which is made of an XY square grid of atoms... straight like salt atoms except made of a weird polymer. the stuff functions as XY ...
6
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2answers
303 views

I can break AES. Now what? [closed]

The story The protagonist (whom will be referred with a first person narrative in this question) had a friend, Eve, who was a math genius. Eve was dying of cancer. She kept her mind occupied in her ...
1
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2answers
109 views

When were computer components 0,2 micrometer in size? [closed]

When setting a story in the future I always try to limit the technology available. It's less enjoyable and harder to identify yourself with droney the drone than with John and Jane Doe. Currently I ...
9
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1answer
166 views

Minimum tech level to invent core memory

Magnetic core memory was a critical innovation in the development of computers. Per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic-core_memory it was the most advanced form of memory from about the mid-...
41
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12answers
16k views

What steps are necessary to read a Modern SSD in Medieval Europe?

So the main team of characters is traveling back in time from "modern day" to medieval Europe, arriving around the 1300s. Assumptions: They Know they are going, they have space and time to prepare, ...
5
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3answers
170 views

How would a resistance group stop or disrupt software development

I have an idea of a story that takes place in a near future dystopia, where the government is planning to deploy a new dangerous surveillance software. This surveillance tech is of course contracted ...
7
votes
2answers
171 views

How small can a perpetual energy source be to run a far-future civilization indefinitely?

You are the leader of a far-future civilization - human or otherwise - that has endured for trillions of years doing whatever far-future civilizations do. You've surrounded stars with Matrioshka ...
-4
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5answers
272 views

In a world without software how would Hacking work?

A definition of computer hacking. Computer hacking refers to the practice of modifying or altering computer software and hardware to accomplish a goal that is considered to be outside of the ...
1
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3answers
137 views

Why would jupiter brain be completely devoid of ocean? [closed]

Jupiter brain is known as a colossal computer the size of a planet, if heat dissipation is a concern when constructing it how come most models lack an ocean of distilled reverse osmosis UV treated ...
1
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0answers
93 views

How would a world where electronics are organically based differ from ours? [closed]

I'm building a Retrofuture space fantasy setting. Some relevant information on that can be found here... One of the core aspects to me of the retro sci-fi aesthetic is its hardware focused nature. I ...
4
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3answers
291 views

Could a technologically advanced civilization be possible without digital computers?

I've noted an interesting trend in Netflix, specially on Sci-Fi and hero series. The worlds often have these aesthetic characteristics: Computers are rare, very big or non existing Phones, but ...
0
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1answer
84 views

Would system virtualization technology play a role in future space colonization and can we observe its roots today? [closed]

If I asked the same question for operating systems, I'd say I am quite confident that some descendants of Linux could be there for a very long time. Today, while Linux is used in embedded IoT devices,...
7
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1answer
253 views

What is a realistic computational limit for a handtool-made mechanic computer?

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-...
22
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8answers
6k views

Would Moore's Law apply to mechanical computers?

We know through the works of Babbage, Lovelace, et al. that mechanical computers (computers operating through gears, cogs, etc., and powered by steam or some other arbitrary non-electric power source) ...
6
votes
3answers
456 views

How must computers/telecommunication deviate from reality for a retrofuturistic setting?

. I love the aesthetics of retrofuturistic settingsand I aim to build my own. A mixture of a fantastical, Thundercats(2011),Outlaw Star x Star*Drive. How yesterday saw tomorrow is quite fascinating ...
4
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4answers
166 views

Can any kind of public-key encryption hold up against a logically omniscient oracle?

"Logical omniscience" can be defined for these purposes as a form of hypercomputation in which all Turing-computable functions can be computed in constant time. Practically speaking, this means that ...
12
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7answers
4k views

What size EMP device would be necessary to wipe all data in a Google-sized server farm, without major physical damage?

I'm not sure if it's even feasible, but I have a server farm in my book, of a size that puts it on par with Google's. I want to wipe out all the data stored on the hard drives, without destroying the ...
34
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24answers
12k views

What is the most reasonable way for non-binary computers to have become standard?

Let us assume planet Earth, with a history similar to ours. Except, the result of the computer revolution is not a computer system based on binary (i.e. 0 and 1), but some other system. This system ...
0
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1answer
176 views

how could a computer in the first dimension perform multiplication? [closed]

If it is possible for a computer in the first dimension to perform a second dimensional operation in the same way a computer in the second dimension can perform a third dimensional operation, then ...
34
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7answers
9k views

How many years could notebook computers and phones be stored in a closed bunker/vault and still operational when found?

The idea is for some people in a post-apocalyptic future to find these bunkers/vaults and be able to turn on the computers and charge the cellphones. How many years could the equipment last if they ...
118
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15answers
10k views

Why would characters spend time answering imaginary questions to fictional hypotheticals?

I'm developing a simulation where characters, "users", are interacting over a virtual communication network. "Users" have the option to engage in any activity they want at any time, as long as the ...
7
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8answers
3k views

Would room phones work in a hotel during a blackout? [closed]

I'm writing a story about people being stuck in a large hotel. One character wants to call a loved one, but I'm trying to think of a reason that they can't. My initial thought was that the front desk ...
0
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2answers
132 views

Any new technologies that are ready to be discovered? [closed]

As an electronics engineer, (sort of), I understand how transistor gates (AND, OR, NAND, NOR, XOR, etc.) are combined to create all of our digital devices. The first computers were created in the mid-...
18
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17answers
1k views

What is the Maximum Possible Destruction from One Keystroke? [closed]

You have unlimited access to all of the world's information. Source code, books, electronic information, monuments with text on them, tattoos with text, you name it. If it has information encoded has ...
4
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10answers
3k views

Write once perpetual storage, is such a thing possible?

Is it possible, with modern, or easily foreseeable technology, to build a compact digital data storage device that cannot be erased without removing the data store? The storage in question to be used ...
6
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6answers
683 views

How in a post nuclear apocalypse setting could a group of survivors set up a “Internet” or “Internet-like” service?

In a world set many years (At least a generation or two) after a near extinction level nuclear event, how could a recovering population set up a internet or internet like service? Key points I'm ...
-3
votes
3answers
212 views

If an Artificial Intelligence system with the same number of neurons and synapses as the human brain was built, would it be smarter than a human? [closed]

Brain waves work at most 50 operations per second, and the fastest synapse fire rate is not very different from this speed(up to 100 times per second). However, today computers operate in billions of ...
1
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6answers
273 views

How would a society ban artificial intelligence without banning computers? [closed]

One way to avoid a 'robot apocalypse' would be to just outright ban artificial intelligence. But what if they wanted to keep some computers around, just for practical reasons? What kind of limitations ...