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Old February 11th, 2007, 01:10 PM
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TE - that's an earth-based supercomputer. You don't need one to run a spaceship (even a jump-capable one). Keep in mind also that the computer you currently have sitting on your desktop today would have taken up at least a room about 10 or 20 years ago.

As it is, Apollo's guidance computer only required 70W of power (see ). The shuttle apparently has four computers for redundancy - while I haven't found their actual power requirements I'm fairly certainly they're going to be using a few hundred watts at most.

Even though Traveller spacecraft have fusion plants that are pumping out power in the megawatt range, I think the computers are going to be taking the least amount of that - 550,000 W is a ridiculous amount for even a four-computer system that you'd run on a spacecraft.

It all really depends on what the computers are used for, and the technology. If quantum computers get off the ground (apparently one is going to be demonstrated next month) then that will drastically change computer technology. QCs currently can only be used for specific tasks, but if you need to say calculate jump parameters b between point A and point B then that sounds like something a QC is ideal for. It sounds like you'd need much smaller computers (and less power) to do calcaulations with those - a QC desktop would have the same processing power as a massive supercomputer.
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