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In Asimov's short story A Feeling of Power knowledge of even simple arithmetic has been lost because everything is run by computers. Earth is at war with Deneb but because both sides use identical computers a stalemate has resulted, and the stalemate is broken when a scientist rediscovers arithmetic and humans can start controlling the war.

The story I am trying to find is very similar, but it is a humble janitor who rediscovers arithmetic, and in the story it is specifically long division that they rediscover.

  • Please go to scifi.stackexchange.com/tags/story-identification/info and answer as many questions as you can there, editing them into your question. It will help us help you. – FuzzyBoots Dec 30 '17 at 16:35
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    This would also be greatly helped by explaining the premise rather than comparing it. Even though I have almost certainly read Asimov's Feeling of Power, I have no recollection of it. – Brythan Dec 30 '17 at 16:45
  • Hi Keith. I've expanded your question in an attempt to get it reopened. If my edit isn't appropriate please feel free to roll it back. – John Rennie Dec 31 '17 at 6:10

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