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MONIAC Computer Programming Company

  1. Aug 27, 2014 #1
    I'm creating a alternate history/soft sci-fi novel with a company that developed and tested MONIAC Computers for the military before programming for profit in the 1960's. i'm looking to determine a fictional development timeline as well as a way to figure out the commercial use and profitability of the MONIAC.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 27, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to PF!

    Since it's for the military, it would be a secret project so most people wouldn't know about it. From there you might be able to slow the history of computers as less knowledgeable people means less new developments unless there is a clear need like say WWII is still being waged.

    You could perhaps follow the enigma decoding effort by Turing and others and sprinkle in the development of Atanasov and his novel machine who's concepts found their way into the ENIAC of Mauchley and Eckert.

    Another history to consider is the Conrad Zuse electromechanical computer that was replaced by the development of the transistor in the 1960s.

    A timeline might be:

    Computer can do arithmetic functions
    Conditional logic and go to capability added
    Subroutine capability added
    Memory storage moves from vacuum tubes to magnetic core to transistor to ic
    Similar line for other hardware

    There's some books on computer history on amazon that may help and on WWII Operations that were planned but never happened.
  4. Aug 27, 2014 #3
    could you recommend some helpful computer history books? i like to get reading lists for my research books.
  5. Aug 27, 2014 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    I've heard this book is good but it's more about hackers


    Then there's the book by Cliff Stoll tracking a hacker spy


    And this seminal work by Ted Nelson


    And lastly this somewhat dated book on computer history up to early 1980s

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  6. Aug 27, 2014 #5


    Staff: Mentor

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  7. Aug 27, 2014 #6


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    I'm a bit confused by your post. There was a real MONIAC analog computer that was designed and built after WWII, but it was meant as a physical demonstration of how macro economics worked, and had nothing to do with military intelligence. Google will find the details. There are several copies of it in museums etc around the world. Or is your MONIAC an invented name in your alternate history?

    This http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Supermen-Seymour-Technical-Supercomputer/dp/0471048852 is mainly about Seymour Cray and the development of supercomputers, but the early chapters have some nice stories about the rather chaotic start of the commercial computer industry in the USA after the end of WWII - but nothing much about the WWII military systems themselves.
  8. Aug 27, 2014 #7


    Staff: Mentor

  9. Aug 28, 2014 #8
    i know about the real MONIAC. i know it was used for economics in the real world and that it was developed in new zealand. the alternate history bit was that the soviet union in reality saw promise in its design but passed it over for analog computing instead. the POD in the alternate history was that the company adapted the basic MONIAC structure for military economics and achieved some sort of innovation that way.
  10. Aug 28, 2014 #9


    Staff: Mentor

    Another alternative history track could be that Conrad Zuse computers win the day, take over and being electromechanical in design evolve into robotics and then extend them with recently discovered integrated circuit tech creating a thinking robot...
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