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The Dialing computer is a system created by the Tau'ri to allow dialing Earth's Stargate in the absence of its Dial Home Device, which was deliberately left behind by Dr. Ernest Littlefield when the Alpha Gate was transported from Egypt to the United States of America. (RPG: "Fantastic Frontiers: Stargate Season One")
According to Captain Samantha Carter, it took 15 years and three supercomputers to create the system. Despite this, the computer was initially very primitive: it allowed to dial only a single planet: Abydos — and travelers experienced being covered with small ice crystals when exiting the Stargate on the other side. (Stargate, SG1: "Children of the Gods")
Throughout years, the computer has been upgraded several times. The first improvement was a database of Stargate addresses calculated from the Abydos cartouche found by Dr. Daniel Jackson, programmed by Carter to update addresses to account for stellar drift. (SG1: "Children of the Gods")
This database was later complemented with new addresses extracted by Colonel Jack O'Neill from the Ancients' Repository of knowledge, which was highly prized because most of them were unknown to the Goa'uld; O'Neill also upgraded the dialing program to allow utilizing the eighth chevron, enabling intergalactic travel provided enough power. (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
Soon, Carter sped up the dialing to secure the Stargate from an off-world activation by Sokar. However, as the dialing computer continued to rely on manually rotating the ring and locking the chevrons, the system by design never approached the speed that could be achieved by dialing with a DHD, taking about a minute to dial an address when not accelerated. (SG1: "Serpent's Song")
After the Reetou invasion of Stargate Command, the dialing computer and iris control were equipped with Palm scanners to prevent unauthorized (and non-humanoid) personnel from using them. (SG1: "Show and Tell")
Carter overrode the safety protocols on the dialing computer when Earth's Stargate was unable to lock on to the one on the planet K'tau. This caused SG-1 to tumble out of the other end. They soon realized that the Stargate's wormhole passed through the system's star, resulting in heavy metals being deposited into the sun and the light shifting towards the infrared end of the spectrum, thus preventing photosynthesis. (SG1: "Red Sky")
Before the year 2007, the Tau'ri had developed a portable version of the dialing program that could be installed on a laptop, and, when used with a Naquadah generator, could dial any off-world gate that lacked a DHD. Presumably this version of the dialing program did not manually rotate the gate, but worked in a manner similar to an auto-dialer, however, this wouldn't make much sense to continue rotating the ring if this version was available. (SG1: "Bad Guys")
The third Alpha Site appeared to use a combination of this program and a DHD. It is also the same method use at the Icarus Base but with slight modification to block incoming wormholes and to draw energy, not only from the DHD, but also from the planet core as a power source. It is also assumed that currently all, if not most, Tau'ri offworld bases can utilize this method as it can be seen in the Gamma Site. (SG1: "Gemini", "The Scourge", SGU: "Air, Part 1")
Despite its drawbacks, most of which were pointed out by Dr. Meredith Rodney McKay, the future Chief Science Officer of the Atlantis Expedition, the dialing computer continues to be employed by the SGC, due to the extra security and flexibility it provides over a DHD, such as it inability to be made useless by the Avenger computer virus and its compatibility with other SGC technology. (SG1: "Avenger 2.0", SGU: "Air, Part 1")