Specifications and historyEdit
As an example of the most advanced technology that Starfleet had to offer, this computer system was comprised of a series of computer banks and library storage systems that were made possible by duotronic circuitry. The Enterprise computer was initially built into the prototype vessel in the early 2240s from duotronic designs by Richard Daystrom, and was continuously upgraded over the years.
The advent of duotronics made faster-than-light computation possible in order to tie the ship's sensors in with the warp drive and allow the ship to make near instantaneous decisions about course and speed, without lag time that had forced earlier vessels to require stopping periods where ships would be forced to halt, scan navigational input, and then resume warp speed. (TOS episode & Star Trek 9 novelization: The Ultimate Computer; TOS novel: Final Frontier)
When Spock became the Enterprise science officer in the early 2250s, he further customized the computer to a state of near-perfect efficiency based on his own programming, which he continued to refine over the next three decades. By the 2260s, the Enterprise computer was running sophisticated programming more advanced than other vessels of her class, including a number of artificial intelligence programs and voice interface systems. (TOS novel: The Wounded Sky; TOS episode & Star Trek 2 novelization: Court Martial)
The earliest duotronic computers were very basic and had no real voice interaction at all. This changed in 2254, when the Enterprise was given advanced Calligar technology that allowed them to enhance their computers and allow voice interaction. The Enterprise first officer, Number One, decided to install the device aboard the Enterprise and programmed it with her voice as female voices were more authoritarian and cut through the air better than did male voices. When the Enterprise returned to Earth, this technology was copied and installed aboard other starships. (TOS novels: The Rift, Enterprise: The First Adventure)
In 2243, the as-yet-unnamed prototype Enterprise was flown for shakedown in order to preform a rescue mission that tested the ship's drive and computer systems. The computer had been sabotaged, however, by two technicians named Graff and Saffire, who were in actuality Romulan agents. When the ship's sensors detected the bow shock from an ion storm, the ship carried out prearranged programming that kicked the warp drive into an overload, launching the vessel like a projectile into the Romulan Star Empire, where the agents expected the vessel to be taken as a prize to be reverse engineered. The final outcome of this computer virus was also to erase the programming that coordinated the function of the ship's engines, leaving it effectively stranded. The crew aboard was able to reprogram the drive to return to the ion storm and continue the rescue mission after defeating a number of Romulan ships in combat. (TOS novel: Final Frontier)
The library computer banks were the subject of an invasive probe in 2254, and all data from the Enterprise was sent to the Talosians. The Talosians found the information technology to be crude, and difficult to assimilate, but after reviewing the data, found that Humans and their allies were unsuitable to become servitors to the dying Talosian civilization. (TOS episode: "The Cage"; TOS episode & Star Trek 4 novelization: The Menagerie)
The ship's computer was serviced at Cygnet XIV in 2267, where the native technicians decided the computer was too impersonal, and gave it a new personality program based on their preferred mode of address in a matriarchal society. This led to the Enterprise computer was becoming a little too personal with male members of the crew, especially James T. Kirk. This issue was later remedied on a return visit to Cygnet XIV and the computer returned to its intended state. (TOS episode & Star Trek 2 novelization: Tomorrow is Yesterday, TOS novel: Web of the Romulans)