Post #1, definitely, given enough time and a convenient way to store numbers (in effect a paper and pencil RAM). Back before modern electronic computers complex maths, physics and enginerring calculations, such as those for the manhattan project, the early part of the space race, they were used to calculate things like planetary positions so astronomical tabels could be drawn up, they were also vital for producing alamanacs to help navigation at sea. The word computer originally meant people hired to perform long lists of calculations, often women for example those at NASA recognised in the film Hidden Figures. All an electronic computer does is rapidly perform calculations on numbers and shift them in and out of various storage locations in various types of memory, a human need only follow a well defined series of rules to replicate this behaviour. Human computers, back in the day, never needed to understand everything about the calculation they worked on, rather they were given simple steps to perform, these steps being defined my a mathematician or scientist who knew the context of the problem they were to solve. Machines can compute faster than humans ever could, and with far lower error rates, but the principle is still the same, define a problem in terms of simple mathematical operations and then have the computer follow rules to solve the problem. The people who worked as computers were exceptionally skilled to work fast enough and free enough of errors to produce useful results, but I dread to think how large a room of them you would need to handle what even the simplest of modern microcontrollers (the tiny computer chips in embedded hardware) can do. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_computer
If anyone can find any website trying to approximate the speeds of human computers in a unit like GHz (I can't imagine a single human could even reach 10Hz though, even with an abacus which tends to allow for much faster hand calculation) or megaflops I'd be fascinated to see it.
Edited by rp88, 18 May 2018 - 06:48 PM.
Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.
My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB