Can I ask purely theoretical and hypothetical questions here?

For example:

What is the largest (the biggest area of) e-ink display that we could hypothetically power and make usable (working, displaying something) that we could potentially build with current tools?

I need to evaluate (only at high level) the area of such hypothetical e-ink display (assuming its area / dimensions could be counted in hundreds or even thousands of kilometres), it would be powered by the most powerful computer / processors cluster ever build by humankind so far (2020).

I am not even sure how to approach to this problem (knowing this would let me assume if it is or isn't off-topic here). The only thing that comes to my mind is to:

  • take average computing power of a processor powering an average e-reader (Kindle?),
  • divide computing power of the most powerful computing cluster ever build so far,
  • take the resulting number and multiply it by average dimensions of an average e-reader.

Is such kind of question is on-topic here?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I doubt it. Theoretical questions aren't exactly answerable. It is mostly guesswork as there is no definitive answer. I would personally close it as off topic. \$\endgroup\$
    – MCG
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 13:05
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Speculation is just that... speculation. Sure, someone could drive this mega-display from a billion clusters of Raspberry Pi's... but why? If asking for literary help, I suggest being careful as readers might scoff at unbelievability. Readers are smart. \$\endgroup\$
    – rdtsc
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 13:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Computing power is the least of your worries when considering a display measured in hundreds of kilometers. Physical support, power distribution. Heck, finding a place to put it is a major consideration. No point in designing multi-million (billion?) dollar equipment if you'll never find a place to put it. \$\endgroup\$
    – JRE
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 13:34
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It might fit in with "world building" stack : worldbuilding.stackexchange.com \$\endgroup\$
    – Marla
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 14:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Given the size, you won't need extreme high resolution, either. You could use "pixels" in the tens or hundreds of meter size if your display is in the hundreds of kilometers. \$\endgroup\$
    – JRE
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 14:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ It seems that I wasn't clear enough. I didn't mention that I don't want to (or even consider) building such thing and I don't need to evaluate possibility of building such thing (so issues like "pixel" size, power, location are out of question). I only need to evaluate how huge display I could be able to manage to "process" (change its content). But, thank you, I forgot about WorldBuilding which seems to be the best destination for such questions. \$\endgroup\$
    – trejder
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 15:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ How much you have to "process" depends on the pixel size. A 100 kilometer by 100 kilometer display doesn't take much processing power if it only has one pixel. \$\endgroup\$
    – JRE
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 15:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ The key idea here is that the pixel size doesn't really change toward current e-ink displays. It is as in todays Kindle. It's like you would like to cover Earth surface with something similar to perfectly aligned Kindles and you want to theoretically estimate how big would that display be, if you could use the most powerful processor stack or cluster ever built so far. \$\endgroup\$
    – trejder
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 10:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Engineering shouldn't involve hand-waving, engineering deals with a design process with requirements that should have specific numbers attached to them \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike Mod
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 18:44

1 Answer 1


I had originally suggested in a comment that "It might fit in with "world building" stack : worldbuilding.stackexchange.com ". Since the OP responded that " I forgot about WorldBuilding which seems to be the best destination for such questions", I decided to make the comment into an answer so that the question could be concluded.


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