Advanced Computing, Soviet Style

“One of the Setun series?” the voice on the laptop inquired.

“We think so. But it looks military and it was built in ’78.” The researcher turned the laptop to face a collection of large grey boxes, most still plastic-wrapped since being transported from the warehouse.

“Huh. Yeah I thought they never got anywhere with those. You going to try turning it on?”

“Maybe; there’s a lot of circuitry to check. We took out one of the boards and got it to talk to our equipment though.”


“Well it’s not like they sell an adapter for it. We ended up having to just map each ternary bit to a two-bit sequence. Hardly efficient but at least we could feed it some data.”

“Hah, I imagine. And it works?”

“It would have outperformed any other computer at the time by a factor of 100 at least.”

The voice on the laptop whistled in appreciation. “Not bad. Of course my cellphone is another thousand times faster still. But imagine if they continued development?”

The researcher shrugged. “Who knows. Maybe they did.”

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