There is much speculation by some, as to how the flight computer aboard the Apollo missions managed to get men to the moon when it had just a tiny fraction of the computing power of something like a modern smartphone.
image/text credit : Curious Droid
But this is quite misleading as there was not one solitary computer controlling the Apollo craft, there were 4 computers and no fancy touch screens, GUI’s or other things in a typical computer of today to waste resources on.
The problem we have here is the context in which we see the Apollo computer today. We are now surrounded by computers, hugely more powerful and we don’t give them a second thought.
It’s very difficult for most people who are not computer engineers or assembler language programmers to imagine how you could do anything with such limited resources.It’s very difficult for most people who are not computer engineers or assembler language programmers to imagine how you could do anything with such limited resources.
What we forget is that at the time of the design in 1962, this was to be the first embedded computer. It was huge leap forward in miniaturised computing. From something the size of a large room to the size of a briefcase.
It would also be giant leap forward for software programming and the first time that software would be used for real-time problem solving that would be key to the entire mission if it failed then people could die.