Monday, 27 February 2017

EPICAC: Summary

EPICAC
     The story opens with the narrator, most probably a mathematician by profession disclosing himself as the friend of the supercomputer EPICAC . He then uncovers his purpose; a noble purpose ie. to vindicate the supercomputer EPICAC that cost the taxpayers Seventy seven crores sixty four lakhs and thirty four thousand nine hundred and twenty seven dollars.
      The supercomputer was recieved with a startle when he was given a big send off by the papers when Dr. Ormand Von Kleigstadt designed him for the government people.
EPICAC covered about an acre of space on the fourth floor of the physics building at Wyandotte College . He weighed around seven tons with all his electronic tubes, wires and switches. Von Kleigstadt and Brass wanted it to be a super computing machine.

      From the beginning EPICAC did not quite live up to their expectations. The computer worked by printing answers to problems that were fed into it , by printing answers to problems that were fed into it ,on ribbons of paper.The answers came out typed on a paper ribbon fed from a big spool . It took EPICAC a split second to solve problems fifty Einsteins could handle in a life time and he never forgot any piece of information that was fed into its memory.
     It was the duty of the narrator and Pat Kilgallen to monitor the computer during the night shift. our narrator who was madly in love with Pat proposed marriage regularly which was regularly rejected by her. she was of the opinion that his proposals were unemotional and lacked romance. It was true that the narrator lacked the gift for embellished language or poetry. so it was a Herculean task for him to prepare a romantic proposal for Pat.

     Onenight Pat left early leaving the narrator alone with EPICAC. In a trance, he fiddled with its dials and punched out a message on the keys using a childish prank of numbers for lettercodes: 1 for A, 2 for B etc. The narrator typed the nonsense problem which the supercomputer decoded as : " what can i do?". The computer responded to it in the same technique : " what is the trouble?". The narrators anxiety was triggered by EPICAC's reply. Playfully he gave the answer. " My girl doesnt love me". EPICAC who always demanded precision in all matters needed a precise definition of concepts like " girl", "love" etc inorder to give the narrator the answer to his problem.
      That was indeed the beginning of an active, intelligent and amicable interaction. A new friendship flourished .As if to a best comrade, narrator started conversing with EPICAC. The supercomputer learnt terms and concepts of love, poetry etc. When he learnt that Pat was interested in fine, romantic poetry, it suddenly spewed out several paper ribbons full of fine poetry. The narrator stayed all night decoding and translating all night and finally left the poem on Pat's desk as his own work.
     The next morning was a blessed one for our narrator, for he was surprised to find Pat almost crying out of happiness after reading the narrator's poem without knowing the truth behind it. she even allowed him to kiss her for the first time. The very night narrator disclosed the happenings of the day to EPICAC.He was pleased to define the term" kiss" to the computer. Enthralled by the romantic moments and having grasped the concept of "kiss "the supercomputer once again composed a fine poem on "kiss" which the narrator once again forged and left on Pat's desk.
The next day Pat was expecting a clean romantic proposal,but our narrator could not furnish one without the fancy of EPICAC.He had to wait until he was alone with EPICAC and asked him to render his help in this matter by devising a romantic proposal for Pat.This time the computer asked about proposal and marriage and told the narrator that the computer was ready for marriage with Pat at her convenience. Our narrator was shocked to realise that EPICACwas  eager to know Pats responses over his poems. It had fallen in love with Pat and expected to marry him.
Our narrator out of stupefaction explained EPICAC that machines are built only to serve men and a machine cannot win the heart of a woman. Women love men who are made up of protoplasm. suddenly ,EPICAC demanded the definition of protoplasm. It asked narrator if protoplasm was everlasting to which the narrator gave a wrong answer that proptoplasm  is immortal.since .EPICAC was a machine he cant win pats love in return.the narrators reply stumped EPICAC.In the meantime the narrator proposed to Pat in a simple manner to which she agreed on one condition ie. the narrator write her a poem on each anniversary.
The next morning Dr. Von Kleigstadt reported that EPICAC has destroyed himself. The narrator rushed in to discover several yards of paper ribbon that EPICAC had printed out during the night after Pat and narrator left together. The computer bemoaned his fate: " being a machine is the only problem that i cannot solve". He also bid goodbye to the narrator leaving him a wedding present of fivehundred poems for Pat, to be gifted to her on each anniversary.
 
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