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Old 09-10-2011, 02:08 PM   #1
bigmanhelper
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Default World War 2.1 started by United States

I read the RPG scenario "World War 2.1" in GURPS:WEIRD WAR II. I thought, what if it was the United States started computing technology in 1933 instead of Nazi Germany? In this reality seed, it starts with Robert Goddard inventing the point-contact transistor and continues with the newly-elected president FDR bringing together all the inventors of digital computing: Howard Aiken, John Atanasoff, Clifford Berry, John Mauchly, J. Presper Eckert, etc., and to lead this group, none other than John von Neumann? I wonder what Ken Hite, Mike Schiffer, Craig Neumeier, and Bill Stoddard would say the result of the change would be?
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Old 09-10-2011, 03:48 PM   #2
johndallman
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: World War 2.1 started by United States

Doesn't quite work. Most of those people were too young and undistinguished in 1933 to get recruited into such an effort. The Weird War II scenario is a lot more plausible, since Hollerith machines were an established technology in the thirties. You can get the Hollerith-based scenario started in in the USA - it was an American technology - by having FDR's administration wanting more efficient management of the New Deal programmes, and IBM deciding to speed them up via electronics. Claude Shannon's master's thesis in 1937 provides a suitable starting point.
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:38 AM   #3
bigmanhelper
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Default Re: World War 2.1 started by United States

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Doesn't quite work. Most of those people were too young and undistinguished in 1933 to get recruited into such an effort. The Weird War II scenario is a lot more plausible, since Hollerith machines were an established technology in the thirties. You can get the Hollerith-based scenario started in the USA - it was an American technology - by having FDR's administration wanting more efficient management of the New Deal programmes, and IBM deciding to speed them up via electronics. Claude Shannon's master's thesis in 1937 provides a suitable starting point.
I like the idea, and I agree that most of the men would not be recruited. However, I think John Von Neumann would be, and, if the change point is Claude Shannon's thesis, then they could also bring in Vannevar Bush. After all, as a grad student at MIT, he worked with Bush on the differential analyzer. I would love to see Bush(and perhaps Shannon?) invent the Memex described in GURPS Weird War II.

Last edited by bigmanhelper; 09-12-2011 at 11:53 AM.
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