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I am restoring the Ascota 170 antique mechanical programmable computer. It is already working. Now I’m looking for an algorithm to demonstrate its capabilities — like calculating trigonometric or logarithmic tables. Or something like that. Unfortunately, from mathematical operations, a computer is only capable of adding and subtracting integers (55 registers from -1E12 to 1E12). There is not even a shift-to-digit operation — so that it can be programmatically implemented to multiply only by very small numbers. But its logical operations are very well developed.

Could you advise me any suitable algorithm?

UPD. Sorry, I have not got enough reputation to answer to comments.

Original documentation in JPEGs in Russian could be found here: http://www.phantom.sannata.ru/forum/index.php?t=31764

My abstract about programming, automatically translated to English, is here: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Falple.net%2Farif-ru%2Fascota170%2Fassembler170.htm

Multiplication and division could be done programmatical, but they (especially division) would take huge part of computer memory, and would be very slow, so it'll be good to found something without them.

@Raffzahn, sorry, I do not know about matrix operations enough to answer something.

  • A quick Google search doesn't find much. Do you have any documentation of the instruction set, registers, memory, etc.? – manassehkatz Mar 28 at 17:34
  • take a look at this: Power by squaring for negative exponents on how to compute pow, n-th roots, log,... for goniometrics there are Taylor/Chebyshev series and CORDIC ... You can also look for any old x87 emulator source code for math (for old Turbo PASCAL or Turbo C++) or any bignum library source ... This sqrt uses just + and bit operation along with bitshift left which can be done also by + – Spektre Mar 28 at 17:52
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    Can the Ascota 170 do loops? If so, then you can calculate π using the Bailey–Borwein–Plouffe formula which uses only addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Multiplication can be done in software using addition, and division by doing subtraction. – snips-n-snails Mar 28 at 22:19
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    Lets be honest, mathematical jobs would be more of an abuse than a proper display. It's an accounting computer and thus made for data processing, not scientific computing. If at all, I'd look for some matrix operations, as this may show how to utilize the parallel capabilities. Maybe 3D object transformation? – Raffzahn Mar 28 at 22:41

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