Racing as Transistor Metaphor
July 9, 2013 5:31 PM   Subscribe

I vaguely remember reading a SciFi short story about racing cars backwards around a track that was a metaphor for transistors. Does such a story actually exist, or is it all in my head?
posted by Proofs and Refutations to Grab Bag (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure on the short story front, but I've often heard the race car metaphor used to talk about signals on electrical lines to explain why it's super-important that circuit board traces are all equal-length (to preserve signal synchronicity). At modern clock speeds, split-second (even split-microsecond) differences in timing can cause massive problems if you, say, value the integrity of your data.

Is that context possible?

Or, any more clues for a rough time period, or type of source (book, magazine, internet)?
posted by bookdragoness at 5:53 PM on July 9, 2013

I'm pretty sure it was in a book, a short story collection. The story involved the protagonist setting up the rules for the race so that there was traffic going around the track in one direction, and the racers going in the other, and something about exploiting the holes (which presumably represented positive charges).
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 7:31 PM on July 9, 2013

I think that would be How I Lost the Second World War and Helped Turn Back the German Invasion by Gene Wolfe.
posted by moonmilk at 8:39 PM on July 9, 2013 [4 favorites]

That's it, thanks!
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 6:34 PM on July 10, 2013

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