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Era Computers (and what Rapture might mutate them into)


Real Computer technology from the late 40s and 50s  :


Computers for Rapture :




Tubes

Tubes from Minervas Den. Unfortunately Tube technology computers aren't anywhere near as fast (or compact enough) to perform anything like the processing any kind of simple AI requires. Even your simple smartphone exceeds what the old Tube computers did by several magnitudes.




McClendonHydraulicMechanicalLogic

Miniaturized Mechanical Logic ?

Early robots used various mechanical (and later simple electric) mechanisms to perform their function. Think of your thermostat as a simple robot - it has a feed back mechanism which maintains a temperature between a proscribed adjustable (programmable) range. For more complex operations such mechanisms can get terribly complicated and have to grow faster in detail than the complexity they perform. Mechanical devices (largely analog) have to be manually tuned and adjusted and constantly maintained, which forces them eventually into being ineffective solutions.

Robots STILL require some mechanical devices, but having a digital computer, with its precision much more controllable, doing complex decisions and guiding operations sidesteps much inefficiency. More complex control decisions can be carried out without as steep an increase in required mechanism to implement that programmed 'intelligence'.




Plugboard

Plugboard programming Office Computer

Plugboard used to program first generation computers. These Systems (including second generation computers about the size of a large desk) usually processed punchcards for simple office accounting operations. That whole Board is swappable allowing changing of programs (patterns of the data wires connecting the different functional sections of the processors).




AnalogFireComputer

Warships Fire Control Computer

An Analog (mechanical) gun fire control computer for a warship (contemporary with Rapture's era). SO, were the early 'automatic' Bathyspheres supposed to have this inside them ??? Not likely possible assuming they could navigate in real time (something hard even TODAY to do).




Transistermodule

Transistor based Mainframe module

One of the big (real world) Mainframe Company's transistor circuitry. Replaceable modules many times smaller than the earlier 'tube' systems. There appears to be only 4 Transistors, but that's the equivalent of 4 typical Vacuum Tubes. Quite a bit less space and less power required.




Selectron4096

Selectron Tube with 4096 bits of memory - this model was to difficult to produce as a product.



Selectron256

256 bit Selectron Tube (computer memory late 40s/early 50s) - These were the ones that were successfully produced and deployed on a few computers.




LGP-21

Computer not much more than an adding machine, except it is programmable, and able to handle punchtape data input. Main Memory was a solid magnetic disk (4K of memory). Unit had only 300 tubes. This cost as much as a suburb house - $16000.




Behindrowsoftubes

Removable Plug Modules (sometimes called 'fingers') with one or two tubes and a number of components plugged into the other side of this array of sockets. Then the next tier of wiring (seen here) interconnected those Modules.




1955circuitboardfortube

Circuit board still with a Miniature Tube (semiconductor) used on a military computer developed in the mid 50s.



Much Older Stuff :

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