Monday, October 25, 2010

Aztec Computing

So, some guy keep searching my blog for an "Aztec Computer." Let me discuss briefly the computing technology of the Aztecs.
For computations beyond those doable on ones fingers, the Aztecs used a device similar to the Chinese abacus, that they called the "Nepohualtzitzin." These were recorded in a base-20 number system. (Unusual, but Welsh also works on this basis.) They had no other computing technology, and didn't require it. Archeologists argue about what technologies they would have invented had they not been destroyed in 1519, but in their 300-year empire, they never once invented the wheel, which was the first invention in practically every other culture.
Modern Mexico does a lot more computing technology, having 14 world-famous physicists, especially Dr. Miguel Alcubierre, most famous for describing a hypothetically possible warp drive. An Alcubierre drive is unlikely to be constructed any time in the near future, especially as it revolves around things that we're not sure even are technically possible. Part of an Alcubierre drive would need materials that have negative mass. Nothing we have found in the universe to date has that property.
There is a modern company called "Aztec Computers." I'm not sure what their connection to the Aztecs is, if they have any. Possibly the founder has some connection to Mesoamerica or Mexican or Guatamalan heritage. Their website doesn't specify.

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