COMPUTERS, ELECTRONICS & GRAVITICS

Computers in the Quental Main Universe are large, power hungry and slow, ie typical Traveller computers. Almost all computers are big mainframe or minicomputers in centralized locations. Personal computers are expensive and not very common. Laptops are very expensive and rare enough to turn heads and draw attention. Consumer devices do not usually contain embedded computers. The overall level of computational power is similar to what we have available today, but exists in fewer, larger, more expensive machines.

As an aside, I know that if technology progresses along Earth's current path this doesn't make sense, but this isn't Earth. In the Quental Main universe it turns out that societies have a choice between gravity control or advanced microelectronics, and the benefits of gravitics are too great to pass up.

Gravitics power much of their "modern" technology. Most vehicles use grav drives or at least AG/IC assist. Elevators in every multi-story building do likewise. Many tall buildings incorporate these devices in their construction, as well. All spaceships have AG/IC embedded in every bulkhead, and gravity based drive modules at the bow and stern. Even Jump Drive depends on Gravitic technology. Fusion power plants with gravitic assist are small and safe...and everywhere, but without gravitics you have to revert to fission piles or fossil fuels. No known society has ever been able to get hot fusion past break even without grav assist. So, it is clearly a technology these planets can't do without.

Here's the handwave: It turns out that Gravitics plays merry hell with advanced microelectronic devices. Whenever integrated circuits or transistors get around a CG/AG/IC device they begin to malfunction, they overheat, and quickly burn out. Such devices *can* be built, at a high cost, but even when heavily shielded they burn out quickly.

Electronic and computing device are normally equipped with a sensor to determine the current interference level from gravitics. If the grav interference level exceeds the safe limit for the device, using it will lead to malfunctions and breakdowns.

The MTBF for tube technology is short, but not as short as transistors and much longer than IC's in the presence of any working gravitic device. So, electronics, including computers, depends on tube technology, and heavily shielded and easy to pull and replace transistor/IC modules. Compared to current day electronic devices these are larger, more expensive, power hungry and slower.

Processing tends to be centralized at locations shielded from AG interference by distance and massive shielding. These Centralized computers can be very powerful, the largest exceeding current mainframes and super computers in our universe, or as powerful as our minicomputers in large closet sized boxes. These powerful computer systems are networked with data terminals all over a ship, building, city or even planet. Personal and room Data Terminals (dataterms) are the normal method of computing for most people.

Dataterms have a few heavily shielded (XT level) processors for limited local processing, graphical display and some non-MOS memory devices for local storage, but most data and most processing takes place at the central site. Displays on most dataterms are CRT's, although expensive plasma or liquid crystal displays are common on smaller portable dataterms. For advanced graphics use holographic projectors into display tanks. Display technology is comparable, or better, than current levels.

Storage is based on non-volatile, non-electronic technologies. Central systems have huge banks of "core." While there is still some true magnetic core in use, most systems use a phase change technology where intersecting electron beams cause a specific "bit" to change phase in a gel matrix. Storage densities exceed those available today for RAM/ROM, access time is about the same, but read/write time is a little slower.

Portable storage are commonly called disks or carts and come in several standard sizes. The two most common are the data card (100x90x5mm) holding 4gB, and the data cartridge (160x100x30mm) holding 48gB. The data card is often called a "disk", but it actually contains no disk. The data cartridge is commonly called a "cart" or "tape", but again contains no tape. Both store information in a gel matrix.

Programming tends to be more complex in operation, but less complex to create. Application programs are composed of a number of "widgets" put together to complete tasks, and executed by an interpretative operating system.. The "widgets" themselves are generally written as cross-platform p-codes and are therefore usable across most computer systems. Programming widgets are available to assist in creating programs for non-compatible computer systems.

Connectively is still mainly by wire or optical fiber, but infrared wireless connectively is widely available on end-user dataterms, pcs and laptops. Communications use software widgets to configure ports to any of several serial and parallel standards.

The last 50 years of contact and trade throughout the CSA have convinced computer designers there of the need for self-configuring connectively. This has lead to the development of mature techniques allowing computers of completely different designs to interconnect successfully. These technologies are spreading into surrounding states where CSA computer technology is still highly sought after.

Common Personal Computer Devices include...

Personal DataTerm (18x24x3cm) 500Cr
    Infrared & wire standard connector to datanets.  Standard
    calculator functions. One card slot

Personal Handheld DataTerm (7x14x2cm) 800Cr
    MDAS, roots and powers, trig functions.  One card's worth of
    storage. Infrared & wire standard connector to datanets.

Personal Computer (20x60x40cm) 
    XT level  2000Cr
    AT level  3000Cr
    486 level 4000Cr
    P5 level  5000Cr    

Personal Portable Computer (laptop)
    XT level   5000Cr
    AT level   7500Cr
    486 level 10000Cr
    P5 level  15000Cr


                   Small Computers
 TL              Price      m3      CPU     Storage
  7 PC            10 k       1        2       1,000
  8 PC             5 k       1        6       3,000
  9 PC             7 k       1        4       2,000
 10 PC             2 k       1        8       4,000
 11 PC             2 k       1       18      10,000
 12 PC             2 k       1       26      10,000
 13 PC             2 k       1       32      12,000
 14 PC             2 k       1       50      15,000
 15 PC             2 k       1       66      16,000


                    Mini Computers
 TL              Price      m3      CPU     Storage
  7 MiniComputer  20 k       4       10       1,000
  8 MiniComputer  15 k       3       20       2,000
  9 MiniComputer  10 k       3       30       3,000
 10 MiniComputer   5 k       2       40       4,000
 11 MiniComputer   5 k       2       90      10,000
 12 MiniComputer   5 k       2      130      13,000
 13 MiniComputer   5 k       2      160      16,000
 14 MiniComputer   5 k       2      250      20,000
 15 MiniComputer   5 k       2      330      25,000


                      Ship Mainframes
 TL              Price      m3      CPU     Storage
  7 Mod-1        200 k      28      100       2,000
    Mod-2        500 k      21      300       6,000  
  8 Mod-1        150 k      21      200       4,000
    Mod-2        400 k      14      500      10,000
    Mod-3       1800 k      28      700      15,000
  9 Mod-1        100 k      14      300       6,000
    Mod-2        200 k      14      700      15,000
    Mod-3       1500 k      21      900      18,000
    Mod-4       3000 k      28     1200      24,000
 10 Mod-1         50 k      14      400       8,000
    Mod-2        100 k      14      800      16,000
    Mod-3       1000 k      14     1000      20,000
    Mod-4       1500 k      21     1300      25,000
    Mod-5       4000 k      28     2000      40,000
 11 Mod-2         50 k      14      900      20,000
    Mod-3        500 k      14     1200      24,000
    Mod-4       1000 k      14     1400      30,000
    Mod-5       2000 k      21     2200      45,000
    Mod-6       5000 k      28     2500      50,000
 12 Mod-3        200 k      14     1300      25,000
    Mod-4        600 k      14     1500      30,000
    Mod-5       1000 k      14     2300      50,000
    Mod-6       3000 k      21     2700      55,000
    Mod-7       6000 k      28     3000      60,000
 13 Mod-4        300 k      14     1600      32,000
    Mod-5        600 k      14     2400      48,000
    Mod-6       2000 k      14     3000      60,000
    Mod-7       4000 k      21     3200      64,000
 14 Mod-5        300 k      14     2500      50,000
    Mod-6       1000 k      14     3200      64,000
    Mod-7       2000 k      14     3400      70,000
 15 Mod-6        500 k      14     3300      66,000
    Mod-7       1000 k      14     3500      75,000
 16 Mod-6        200 k      14     3400      70,000
    Mod-7        600 k      14     3600      80,000
 17 Mod-7        400 k      14     4000      80,000


                Software  List
Routine Programs    Price    CPU    Storage
Maneuver            10,000   100       500 
Jump 1              10,000   100      1000 
Jump 1+             25,000   150      2000 
Jump 2              30,000   100      2000 
Jump 2+             35,000   250      3000 
Jump 3              40,000   200      3000 
Jump 3+             45,000   350      4000 
Jump 4              50,000   300      4000 
Jump 4+             55,000   450      5000 
Jump 5              60,000   400      5000 
Jump 5+             65,000   550      6000 
Jump 6              70,000   500      6000 
Astrogate           40,000   200      4000
Generate            80,000   400      4000
Anti-Hijack         10,000    50       500
Cartography         60,000   500      2000
Gravity Control     10,000    20       500
Power Systems       30,000    30      1000
Life Support        20,000    30       500
Sensor Control      30,000    40       800
Comm Profiling      60,000   300      2000
UniDatalink         50,000   200      4000
Library (Full)      20,000    10     20000
Library (module)     2,000     2      2000

Defensive Programs  Price    CPU    Storage
Evade 1            100,000   100       500
Evade 2            200,000   200       500
Evade 3            300,000   300       500
Evade 4            400,000   400       500
Evade 5            500,000   300       500
Evade 6            600,000   200       500
Auto-Evade          50,000   200       800
Return Fire         50,000   100       400
Anti-Missile       100,000   200       800
ECM                400,000   500      1000
Damage Control      40,000   300      1000

Offensive Programs  Price    CPU    Storage
Target              10,000    10       400
Gunner Interact     10,000    20       800
Selective 1         30,000    20       500
Selective 2         50,000    40      1000
Selective 3        100,000    30      1500
Central Fire Ctrl  200,000   100      1000
Multi-Target 2     100,000   200      1000
Multi-Target 3     200,000   200      1000
Multi-Target 4     300,000   400      2000
Launch             200,000   100       500
Predict 1          200,000   100      1000
Predict 2          400,000   200      2000
Predict 3          600,000   200      4000
Predict 4          800,000   300      6000
Predict 5        1,000,000   300      9000