Francis Hunger

The Setun Conspiracy


Nominee of the digital sparks award 2006



Content Description

Complete Online Dokumentation:

The SETUN conspiracy
(installation and office work)

The SETUN Computer was developed by N.P. Brusenzov and his team at Moscow State University in 1958. SETUN was based on balanced ternary logic (-1, 0, 1) that distinguishes it remarkably from the binary computers of that time and the present. While binary logic only allows two states: yes (1) | no (0), ternary logic has three states: yes (1) | no (-1) | both (0). N.P. Brusenzov describes ternary logic as “the more natural way of computing”.

The American scientists and military were shocked when they learned about this dramatic invention (as they were shocked of the Sputnik launch one year earlier in 1957) and immediately started an espionage campaign to find out about the details of SETUN.

Under the guise of a scientific exchange the U.S. brought researchers to the USSR, who promptly delivered their information to the Rand Corporation (working under the contract of the US Air Force No. F44620-67-C-0045). Several reports published by Rand corporation employees triggered a series of research on ternary computers in the US, Canada and other Western countries.

Francis Hunger, who was interested in the SETUN originally for the aspect of ternary computing, researched the archives of Columbia Universities libraries and has put together a detailed report on the attempt to copycat ternary computing technology from the Soviets through "Western" scientists. An vocal account of this particular part of computing history was given to anybody, who attended the office.

Further findings along some translations of origninally Russian texts into German and English are under way an will be published at