The motivation from people dying and patrotic goals, combined with budget (but a constrained one) and every person in the country attempting to contribute to the effort seems like a good recipe for new technology development. Especially for finding the stuff that will actually do something useful today and not in 10yrs, since it was already needed yesterday.
Obviously the costs of the war outplay the value from this but it's interesting to think about.
+ Turing machines
+ Lambda calculus
+ General recursive functions
+ Mu-recursive functions
+ SKI calculus
+ Pi calculus
+ Register machines
+ The semantics of essentially every mainstream general programming language
This remarkable profusion of equivalences is the main reason why the Church-Turing Thesis (an informal statement that our intuitive notion of computation coincides with Turing machines and/or the lambda calculus) is commonly accepted.
I think that’s true. Makes me wonder how things would look if you redesigned things with today’s knowledge if you didn’t have to worry about existing infrastructure.
Imagine if they decided to use 3 voltages to represent numbers. Instead of 3.5 volts for 1 and 0 volts for 0 what if we had a trinary representation 5 volts for 2, 3.5 for 1 and 0 volts for 0.
Or what if analog computing took off instead. Instead of trying to make everything digital we built machines that are functions of analog voltage waveforms and poured all of our abilities into reducing noise instead of upping clock speed.
Is the technology we use now the result of arbitrary choices made out of pure luck or given enough time all civilizations will develop digital computing due to inherit limitations of the physical world.
"Based on the Gutenmacher binary ferritodiode cell, which is an electromagnetic proximity switch based on transformer-type magnetic amplifiers , N. P. Brusentsov developed a ternary ferritodiode cell   , which operated in a two-bit ternary code, i.e. one trit was recorded in two binary digits, the fourth state of two binary digits was not used. ... Two-bit binary encoded ternary digits (2-Bit BinaryCodedTernary, 2B BCT representation, “two-wire”) using all 4 out of 4 possible codes (two out of 4 codes encode the same ternary digit out of 3)."
Maybe the memory used actual trits, while the control logic used bits underneed?
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ternary_computer it's not clear to me if there ever were computers that used real ternary logic, instead of just ternary memory and/or ternary logic implemented on top of binary logic.
There are alternative designs using +/0/- saturated signaling but those have higher voltages and larger transistor counts.
I’ve played around with linear designs which can indeed use fewer parts but you need high quality transistors and they’d still be slow. https://hackaday.io/project/3628-trinity/log/11995-2-transis...
Also, that has to be the classiest enclosure ever made. Check out some of the designer's other work: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Bel_Geddes
It's amazing how old rediscovering old ideas can create scientific/technology revolutions.
Always entertaining to walk by and see the "bugs" (moths) in the (then already defunct) relays...