Can the ship perform more calculations per second since it is much larger and is not confined to the size of an average human? Or is the ship actually a distributed network of many computers specialized for specific tasks, thus making the two difficult to objectively compare?

  • 2
    Enterprise has more storage, but Data is better at Computation. – Captain Cold Dec 5 '14 at 16:32
  • 4
    I didn't think we allowed Mac vs. Windows questions. ;) – Major Stackings Dec 5 '14 at 19:38
  • 2
    There is no direct comparison of Data's computational capacity and the Enterprise's. Trust me, I looked. The closest comparison we could find was to Voyager's computation capacity and data wasn't even in the same league. Data is powerful but Voyager' neural network left him in the dust. Take a look at The Moriarty Problem for the comparison. – Thaddeus Howze Dec 5 '14 at 21:40
  • 8
    Voyager's computer was capable of 575 trillion calculations per NANOSECOND (or the equivalent of 575,000,000,000 petaflops per seccond), compared with Commander Data's rated processor speed of 60 petaflops per second and the estimated Human brain comparison of 2.2 billion megaflops per second. (REF: Fischetti, Mark. "Computers vs Brains" Scientificamerican.com. N.p. Web. 25 Nov. 2014.) – Thaddeus Howze Dec 5 '14 at 21:41
  • 1
    @Solo "Enterprise has more storage, but Data is better at Computation." So the computer has more data, but Data is better at computing? – Acccumulation Jun 14 '18 at 0:16

Interestingly, there is an episode where the ship and Data directly interact with one another on a digital scale - A Fistful of Datas.

In this episode, Georgi and Data attempt to connect Data to the Enterprise's main computer, so that in the event of an emergency Data could take full control of the Enterprise.

Their experiment goes remarkably well, until Data tries to access the ship's secondary systems. Data detects an overload in his positronic matrix and shuts the experiment down, but the damage is done in the form of a Texas-Taklin' Data, as well as Data being represented in several parts of the ship (most notably, as several characters on the Holodeck).

Up until that point though, Data was able to access individual parts of the system and operate them. The sudden surge, however, suggests that some systems may be too complex for him to handle. And the fact that he was accessing systems one at a time also lends credit to suggest the Enterprise's computer is larger and more complex than Data's brain can handle all at once.

This may also indicate a limit on Data's ability to multi-task as well as the ship computer, or that there is simply an incompatability between the two. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell, because the series does not do a particularly deep analysis into the ship's data processing power.

  • 3
    or that the ships systems where to crude for data's brain to handle. – Himarm Dec 5 '14 at 17:06
  • 5
    I think, if anything, the incident seems to indicate that the ship's computer has a greater ability to multi-task than Data's positronic brain does. That doesn't necessarily indicate computing ability as much as... well, I guess we'd call it "thread capacity" or "bandwidth". – Omegacron Dec 5 '14 at 17:46
  • 4
    The thing is, they wouldn't have attempted to do the experiment, especially using their second officer as a Guinea pig, if they hadn't done the math first. They must have had a reasonable expectation that it would work. – John Sensebe Mar 19 '16 at 16:40
  • 1
    @JohnSensebe You'd think that, but you'd also think they would review basic societal protocols before visiting alien planets, and they never do. (realistically, they probably didn't have any means to measure the impact, because Data's own brain is so unique in this universe). – Zibbobz Mar 21 '16 at 13:06

In TNG S03E06, "Booby Trap," Geordi suggests that not even Commander Data could perform as many adjustments per second as the ship's computer (in the form of a holographic projection of one of the original Enterprise's warp core designers).


I am sure that I remember reading in the ST tech manual that all federation ships central computer processor core are held inside of a static warp bubble (hence making them FTL processors), secondary interface sub systems run at less than FTL, (pads control panels etc)


It was mentioned on Voyager by its own computer that it has transluminal processing. This implies from the wording alone that the main computer processor is FTL based...

And since most (or practically all) technology on a Federation ship is subspace based, even computers would effectively be using subspace principles.

It never made any sense that the Federation was unable to create its own Androids. Heck, given the rate of exponential progression, androids with more processing power than Data will be possible shortly in reality... Star Trek missed the mark on 'exponential development' aspect especially when it had various aliens for example being better at translation than it... that's just impossible. No organic entity would be able to process things faster than a computer... a computer simply needs a proper set of algorithms to work with... and while those used in Trek seemed advanced, they also seemed outdated in comparison to the hardware's capabilities.

  • This barely seems to answer the question – Valorum Mar 29 '18 at 21:48
  • 1
    Directly from Voyager: TAU: Computer, tell us your technical specifications. COMPUTER: Simultaneous access to forty seven million data channels. Transluminal processing at five hundred seventy five trillion calculations per nanosecond. It's not a big stretch to think 'transluminal processing' means FTL and subspace based... or essentially, faster than light. Similar wording is exacted in Trek FTL terminology for Transwarp (indicating 'faster than warp'). Don't understand which part of my answer merits -1 – Deks Mar 29 '18 at 22:05
  • Because you've not answered the question asked. – Valorum Mar 30 '18 at 8:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.