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In a NATO region-wide dynamic computer war game a few years ago, it was clear that the simulated enemy was advancing faster than the defensive chain of command could make counter moves. The tradition of sending decisions up the line was simply too slow to cope with the dynamic challenge posed by the adversary.
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"The Light Literature Collection is designed to get persons to the computer in the first place, whether the person may be a pre-schooler or a great-grandparent. With Plain Vanilla ASCII you will be easily able to search an entire library, without any program more sophisticated than a plain search program.
He was protected, at a certain level, against physical torture, and he did have a certain protection against most of the drugs. But the older medic simply asked him to sit down. He did, and his assistant twisted a few dials. Indicators gave readings, quite a few hundred readings. A metal recorder plate dropped out. The assistant dropped this into the computer which began busily to eject tape.
As radiation monitors began to pick up the actual arrival of the wave front, the picture on her console changed to display a new wave front, only fractionally in advance of the one that the computer had been displaying as a prediction. The storm of space had broken. Captain Andersen's voice came across the small area of the bridge that separated them. "Check the rosters, please.
Incidentally, what power are you going to use to move the asteroid?" "Nuclear explosions," Rip said, and saw the chief's eyes pop. He added, "With conventional chemical fuel for corrections." He felt rising excitement. The whole ship seemed to have come to life. There was excited tension in the computer room when he went in with the chief. Spacemen, all mathematicians, were waiting for him.
Computer programs evolve and become more complicated over time. This accounting package had been in place for eight years. Many new versions had been installed and much had been changed to suit this particular hospital. It would take too long to set up a parallel test system, and it probably wouldn't help, anyway.
Michael decided there was nothing he could do, in the way of "normal computing", that would repay the huge value of the computer time he had been given... so he had to create $100,000,000 worth of value in some other manner.
They didn't unstrap, but just sat and looked at the dimly distant pattern of stars. A single sun, apparently of fifth magnitude, was their only neighbor in this lost corner of the universe. They waited while the computer took enough star sights to triangulate a position in three dimensions, muttering to itself electronically while it did the countless calculations to find their position.
Leaning back in the captain's chair, watching the screen casually, General Elbertson chuckled. He didn't, he noticed, feel nearly so weary. The position actually was good, even if those idiots didn't know what they were doing with the computer. That could be straightened out. Somewhere, he was sure, there was cause for great pride in his actions.