Does Santa Claus use a computer?

December 22, 2008

by Mark Ollig

One of my readers, named Jessica, sent this question to me and I promised to investigate and write about what I found before Christmas.

Alright Jessica, just for you, I e-mailed my entire list of elf contacts and was able to find one elf at the North Pole who agreed to check on this.

Who is this cooperative elf reporting back to us? Don’t tell anyone Jessica . . . but his name is Finarfin Elendil.

I can merrily inform you, the jolly man with the white beard (ho-ho-ho) is in fact, extremely computer- savvy.

Finarfin Elendil reported that Santa Claus manages the undisclosed-to-the-public, “Santa Sleigh Control Center” (SSCC) which is secretly hidden inside one of the North Pole’s main toy making factories.

The SSCC is undetectable using our current satellite tracking devices in earth orbit.

If you ask Santa about the SSCC, he will likely not want to talk about it. Santa doesn’t even think about the SSCC when he’s out in public – he concentrates on getting all those toys delivered to the good girls and boys.

Getting back to what Finarfin Elendil, the elf reported – Santa uses the SSCC operations as his primary sleigh-command and toy-making maintenance control center.

This sounds a lot like NASA’s Mission Control Space Center, doesn’t it, Jessica?

Instead of the space shuttle, the Santa Sleigh Control Center contains one of Santa’s most important modes of travel at Christmas time – “Sleigh-One.”

The SSCC is also the home to Santa’s personal computing system.

This ultra-modern computer system is so technically sophisticated, your humble columnist thinks Santa magically performed reverse-engineering with some highly advanced extraterrestrial technology he may have obtained.

For starters, Santa’s computer incorporates a massively integrated “micro nano-nano parallel optical-fiber bus architecture.”

The computer’s processors handle around 1,000 “quindecillion” FLOPS (floating operations per second).

Santa uses this processing speed to instantly map and compute the coordinates of every rooftop fireplace in the world he needs to climb down in order to deliver the toys.

Finarfin Elendil said if the home has no chimney, Santa’s computer will automatically run the “back door” program.

Finarfin said Santa is working on replacing the computer processors with the highly classified and top-secret “vigintillion” algorithmic processor for next year’s trip.

Our elf informant reports for this year’s Christmas, Sleigh-One will once again be powered by Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Blitzen, Dunder, and Blixem.

And because of his famous shiny red nose, Rudolph, the “Red-Nosed Reindeer” has once again been designated by Santa Claus himself as “Reindeer One,” and will guide his mighty sleigh around the world on Christmas.

“Full Power Rudolph!”

Sleigh-One itself is more than just a simple wooden toboggan – there is an on-board mini-computer Santa uses which instantly transmits statistical sleigh-positioning data. It also receives telemetry information from the elves in the Santa Sleigh Control Center.

Elf rumor has it Santa is still using Wi-Fi, but will be upgrading to Wi-Max transceivers soon.

There is a futuristic holographic display monitor on Sleigh-One which incorporates a Global Positioning System (GPS) and constantly monitors the MPR (Miles per Reindeer).

Santa’s reindeer, of course, fly the sleigh on “Reindeer Power.” However, in the event of an emergency, Sleigh-One’s on-board computer has a built-in “appropriate auto reindeer pilot” (AARP) senior navigational controller, which is capable of temporarily flying the sleigh.

Sleigh-One even has a few drink- holders he and Mrs. Claus (when traveling with Santa) use for the eggnog – Santa thinks of everything!

Here are some interesting numbers Finarfin Elendil mentioned.

The Earth’s radius is around 3,986 miles – which is a surface area of 200 million square miles.

If we assume a standard average of 2.68 good girls and boys per home, this amounts to around 75 million homes Santa will need to visit.

Further calculations break this down to an average distance of 1.65 miles between those homes.

If we assume Sleigh-One delivers all the Christmas presents over a 24 hour period, Santa will need to travel at a cruising speed of 5,080,000 miles per hour, or about Mach 480.

For a comparison, the speed of light is about 669,600,000 miles per hour – about 130 times faster then Sleigh-One’s average cruising speed.

Finarfin Elendil told me Rudolph wanted to go faster then the speed of light to show off in front of the does.

Santa said he did not want Sleigh-One to go faster then the speed of light because the red shiny light- beam from Rudolph’s nose would bend around and thus, would be shining behind the sleigh instead of in front of it.

Santa also worried about time reversing itself, which would cause him to deliver presents months before Christmas.

Well Jessica . . . I hope you found this story from Finarfin Elendil, the elf as interesting and fun as I did writing about it.

I also wanted to tell you the word “Christmas” comes from the Old English phrase, “Cristes maesse” which means “Christ’s mass.”

This is the day on which Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas everyone.