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The Fleet Ship designs, strategies, and tactics.

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Old March 18th, 2005, 10:25 AM
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Question

I have an idea for the revamp of Traveller computer design. I would like your input as to what parameters need to be included. Did I miss anything in the proposal below? If you like this idea, give me some input as to the set points of these parameters.


Proposal for reworking computer design

In light of modern day computer development, I hereby propose the following changes to Traveller shipboard computers. In view of how robot brains are constructed, make ships’ computers from components in the same fashion.

Basic discussion

Each model computer has a minimum TL at which it becomes available. At this TL it is a certain size (either volume in kl or size in dtons) depending on the system you are using for your design. As TL increases, this size is decreased due to more functional designing until a minimum size is reached. The minimum size is a function of connections, as it still requires a certain amount of space to connect input devices and output devices (controls, sensors, etc.)
With respect to ships, there is a maximum size ship that a given computer can control. To put another way, a minimum model (or size) computer is required to operate larger ships. The number of inputs a computer can process and the number of outputs it can generate in a given amount of time dictate these sizes. These numbers have nothing to do with the number of programs that can be installed in a given computer.
Which brings us to memory. Memory comes in two forms. Book 2 and High Guard assigned each computer program a number of spaces within the CPU or in storage. Modern computers also have these features. We use Megs of RAM as Traveller uses CPU spaces. Then Traveller used spaces of storage as we use Gigs of hard drive space. When MT came along, focus switched to control points that a computer could operate (either as input or output) instead of spaces in the computer.
High Guard added the fiber optic backup computers as a method of resisting radiation damage and MT added Electronic Circuit Protection, but as far as I can tell they were supposed to do the same thing.

Proposal

Give each model a minimum starting TL, a maximum size ship it can control, a starting size, and minimum size. Keep these sizes smaller like MT did so that having multiple computers is a feasible plan that does not require massive amounts of space and money. Also assign the maximum number of programs each model can operate at once. Make it possible to add to CPU capabilities by adding memory to increase the total number of programs that can be operating at once (up to the listed maximum), and allow increasing the storage capacity (up to a specified limit). I would suggest that each model start with a given capacity that can be increased as money allows, but that doing so would not affect overall size of the computer as this would basically adding to expansion connections that are already allotted component space.

Questions left unanswered

If you choose to keep both fiber optic backup and ECP, give clear directions as to what the purpose of each is, and how it effects damage to the computer. Some form of protection is clearly desirable especially in combat vessels.
I am not sure if the robot method of having different sets of operational instructions is really required for ships’ computers unless it will be used to provide brain functions for built in robotic devices (like a gunner position that takes voice instruction.) Also would it be feasible to have synaptic storage in a computer?
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