A Computer is a tangible device using information technology to manipulate data and make calculations.
- Computers are commonly known as Processors throughout much of Charted Space.
- It is an important item of Ship Equipment.
Computers are rated according to a vast variety of characteristics and capabilities, but general quality paradigms have been established.
- Astrogation Computer
- Computer Implant
- Computer Personality
- Control Console
- Control Panel
- Fiber Optic Computer
- Fire Control Computer
- Flight Computer
- Hand Computer
- House Brain
- Map Box
- Master Fire Director (MFD)
- Neural Net
- Ship Brain
- Ship Mind
- Ship's Computer
- Traffic Net
Macroelectronics or Microelectronics?
The stewardess brought the kid in as part of the tour and right away he pissed me off.
“Why’s the computer so big? Why’s it so slow? Why does it have a tap on the front?”
I didn’t want to look at the runt so I turned to the computer. I ran a hand along the edge of room-filling cylinder.
“She’s not slow, she’s tough. Her core isn’t weak silicon or habridide, she’s hardwired with microscopic gold wiring. That means she runs slower as you can only shrink it so much. But the radiation in Jump would fry anything lesser. Even so, that sweet core is surrounded by a foot thick lead-carbide shield to protect it against solar radiation. A foot of simple gel insulation for temperature control. Then the proton tanks, between six feet of dense water that captures the results of proton decay caused by the Jump gravitational changes. That’s what the tap is for, to drain the tanks. Then the wall sensors that detect the radiation we can’t shield against and tell this baby to reset when it detects something that might cause a miscalculation.
“This panel over here…” I turned round to demonstrate the controls, they’d gone. 
Computer Control Standards
Computer Controls: In almost all cases where the ship's computer can control a given ship function (gravity, doors, etc.), orders fed in at the central bridge computer take precedence over those fed in at local controls. Only if the computer is inoperative will a computer override be ineffective. Some ships have been known to be built with a different system set-up, but this arrangement is commonplace on most vessels within Charted Space. 
Brains, Minds & Personalities
Very advanced computers begin to develop various types of autonomous programming and are referred to with other specialized terms:
|Brains, Minds & Personalities|
|Brain||A Brain is a sophisticated Bright Age Information Technology computer without a significant personality. 
|Mind||A Mind is a sophisticated Bright Age Information Technology computer with a significant personality. 
|Personality||A Personality is a Bright to Brilliant Age feature of sophisticated computers capable of high levels of autonomous thought and independent decision-making. 
NOTES: the differences between a brain and a mind are very negligible. There is significant overlap between the definitions, both formally and informally. As a generality, brains are lower performance and minds are higher performance. Brains were first operated with personalities. Later models began to include lower quality personalities. All minds are designed from the onset to include high quality personalities.
Mind Control Technology
No information yet available.
- NBIC & COMPUTERS
- N - Nano Science / Nanotechnology (Nano-)
- B - Biology / Biotechnology (Bio-)
- I - Information Technology (Info-)
- C - Cognitive Science / Cybertechnology / (Cogno-)
History & Background (Dossier)
Computers are a foundational technology underlying many later developments including robots, starships, artificial intelligence, and much, much more.
The development of Information Technology (IT) and particularly the key device of IT, the computer is a key advancement of any technological civilization.
- Computer technology greatly assists in the advancement of knowledge. Scientists used it to better store, collate, and push out the boundaries of scientific knowledge. Linguists use it to catalogue known languages and improve universal translators. Bureaucrats use it to aid in process of governance, massively increasing efficiency.
- Nearly every tech level of advancement leads to an exponential increase in pure research capability and a greatly sped up doubling of existing knowledge.
- Computers and other forms of data processing and storage expand the extilligence of a civilization, which is to say its ability to pass on learning from one generation to the next.
Almost all are designed to use lower technology repair components in most functionalities. For this reason, ship’s computers tend to be much larger and more voluminous than strictly function-based microelectronics.
Expected Artificial Intelligence Development Sequence
- Automaton (Mechanistic Machine) → Brain (Calculating Machine) → Mind (Thinking Machine) → True Artificial Intelligence (Feeling Machine) → Jupiter Brain (Hyper-calculational Machine) → Omni-Heuristic Mind (Machine Life)
Expected Computer Development Sequence
- Compass → Astrolabe → Sextant → Analog Computer → Electromechanical Computer → Electronic Computer → Positronic Computer → Pseudo-Reality Computer → Psychotronic Computer
Technological Overview of Computers
Epochal Technological Development: Information Technology is at its earliest conceptual state and slowly grows into mechanical calculative devices to early electronics to the first true computers and beyond.
- Automatons (TL:1-6)
- Low Autonomous Robots (TL:1-9)
- Autonomous Robots (TL:10-15)
- High Autonomous Robots (TL:13-18)
- Self-Aware Robots (TL:19-27)
- Machine Life (TL:28-33)
Information Age Societies (Calculative Computers)
|Technological Period: TL:1-9 and Tech-Name: Ur-Tech|
|Common Characteristics: Digital Networks, High scarcity, Prototype Nanotech, Calculative ("Calculating Machines"), Automatons, Low Autonomous Robots, etc.|
|Tool Making Epoch||TL:1-3||COMPUTERS: The abacus and the quipu represent early calculating tech. they are simple, mechanical processors that help a sophont keep large numbers of calculations in memory. Mathematics makes great leaps forward with the development of algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.|
|Division of Labor Epoch||TL:4-6||COMPUTERS: The first analog computers and calculators greatly enhance business and academic endeavors. Mechanical and early electronic calculators become fixtures. Electric devices, polymers, and early electronics fuel continuing progress. Designers use classic Lovelacian programming and aspire to build the first Babbage machines. Many sophont societies can build processors that meet the Imperial standards for Model/1 and Model/1 bis processors.|
|Processor Epoch||TL:7-9||COMPUTERS: Programmable computers come into vogue as the analog is replaced by the digital. Transistors make way for microchips; desktop processors soon become a feature of home, business, and school. Massive parallel processors fill entire rooms and supersede earlier technologies. The first supercomputers can often beat even expert humans at games like chess due to phenomenal calculating abilities and vast memory banks. Photonic and gravitic energy transmission as well as bio-computing replace many of the earlier generations of electronics. Voice-activated processors are more user-friendly than ever before. Many societies can build processors that meet the Imperial standards for Model/2, Model/2 bis, and even Model/3 processors.|
Bright Age Societies (Bright Computers)
|Technological Period: TL:10-18 and Tech-Name: Stell-Tech|
|Common Characteristics: Intelligent Networks, Low Scarcity, Weak nanotech, Synaptic processors, Positronic Brains, Cognitive ("Thinking Machines"), High Autonomous Robots, etc.|
|Gravitics Epoch||TL:10-12||COMPUTERS: Synaptic processors and positronic brains are vastly more capable than earlier generations of processor technology. Some advanced robots can fool inexpert humans. Expert roboticists call these low autonomous robots. Still, a well-trained expert sophont can often outthink and outperform advanced thinking machines from this epoch. Fluidic and magnetic energy transmission increase processing speed. Semi-organic facility and early ship brains become common. Many societies can build processors that meet the Imperial standards for Model/4, Model/5, and Model/6 processors.|
|Biologicals Epoch||TL:13-15||COMPUTERS: High autonomous robots outperform many educated experts across many fields. They still can’t match the apex professors, but they can perform perfectly well at the professional level. Holocrystals and advanced bio-compumetrics are increasing functioning to billions of actions per nanosecond. Computer brain implants allow complete rehabilitation and restoration of function to almost all individuals who were formerly handicapped. Infomorphs and downloadable brains supplement wafertech. Pseudoreality simulators show amazing promise. Many societies can build processors that meet the Imperial standards for Model/7, Model/8, and Model/9 processors.|
|Artificials Epoch||TL:16-18||COMPUTERS: High autonomous robots outperform many educated experts across many fields. They still can’t match the apex professors, but they can perform perfectly well at the professional level. Holocrystals and advanced bio-compumetrics are increasing functioning to billions of actions per nanosecond. Computer brain implants allow complete rehabilitation and restoration of function to almost all individuals who were formerly handicapped. Infomorphs and downloadable brains supplement wafertech. Pseudoreality simulators show amazing promise. Many societies can build processors that meet the Imperial standards for Model/7, Model/8, and Model/9 processors. Hop Drives begin to use more advanced Ship's Computers.|
Brilliant Age Societies (Brilliant Computers)
|Technological Period: TL:19-27 and Tech-Name: Ultra-Tech|
|Common Characteristics: Delegative Rule (AI), Post-Scarcity, Strong nanotech, Emotive ("Dreaming or Feeling Machines"), Self-Aware Robots, etc.|
|Matter Transport Epoch, Transformations Epoch, and Psionics Epoch||TL:19-21, TL:22-24, and TL:25-27||COMPUTERS: Some Imperial scientists have quietly made the observation that psionic science may underlay future societal and technological developments. True Artificial Intelligence is another widely anticipated factor. It is anticipated that true artificial intelligence, thinking, feeling machines whose capabilities may exceed organic sophont minds may coalesce over this tech period, the Ultra Period.|
|Technological Period: TL:28-30 & TL:31-33 and Tech-Name: Dei-Tech & Omni-Tech|
|Common Characteristics: Mass Minds, Delegative Rule (AI), Zero-Scarcity, Very Strong nanotech, Omni-Heuristic ("Deific Machines"), etc.|
& Ascendant Epoch
|TL:28-30 & TL:31-33||COMPUTERS: Even futurists have a hard time guessing what form electronics will take these tech epochs or even whether they will exist at all.|
References & Contributors (Sources)
|This article has metadata.|
- Loren Wiseman. "Computer Programming." Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society 01 (1979): 7-8.
- Loren Wiseman. "Using your Model/1bis." Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society 24 (1985): 39.
- Loren Wiseman. "Using Your Model/2 bis." Challenge 25 (1986): 13.
- Jason Kemp. "Using Your Model 2 Bis, Revisited. Part 1." Stellar Reaches 08 (2008): 70-72.
- Alvin Plummer. "Using Your Model 2 Bis, Revisited. Part 2." Stellar Reaches 10 (2010): 5-7.
- Author & Contributor: Lord (Marquis) and Master of Sophontology Maksim-Smelchak of the Ministry of Science
- ↑ An unpublished factoid written by Felbrigg Herriot
- ↑ Jordan Weisman. "Book 2." Adventure Class Ships Volume 1 (1982): 6.
- ↑ An unpublished factoid written by Maksim-Smelchak
- ↑ Marc Miller. "Computers, Consoles, and Controllers." T5 Core Rules (2013): 515-519.
- ↑ An unpublished factoid written by Maksim-Smelchak
- ↑ Marc Miller. "Personalities and Brains." T5 Core Rules (2013): 522-525.