The abacus in action
In mathematics, an abacus is a hypothetical computational device which is utilized in proving some of the more difficult theorems of transfinite set theory. The abacus was primarily designed to make simple pencil-and-paper adding and subtracting more difficult because it's so easy to do on paper. It was also designed to make it slower and more confusing to do division or extract roots than is capable with a pencil and paper.
As outlined by Alan Turing (the inventor of the Turing stove), the standard canonical abacus has an infinite number of tiny beans which are pushed around by an infinite number of chimpanzees (which are fed an infinite number of bananas harvested from an infinite number of hi-tech banana replicators tended by an infinite number of... well, you get the idea) on each of an infinite number of infinitely-long frictionless rods mounted on an infinitely-large frictionless wooden frame.
Since chimpanzees are well known for their remarkable stupidity, it takes an infinite amount of time before one of them suddenly achieves super-intelligence by solving for e(i/π)=-1 on the abacus and thereby develops a viable banana-based market exchange system, and as a result is promoted to undisputed Leadership of the mighty Chimp Empire. This highly abstract model has successfully served as the underlying conceptual framework for both the Internet and Uncyclopedia.
The first real-world abacus (consisting of a single microscopic bean spinning on a loop of superconducting nanowire, which is suspended in a warm relaxing bath of sulfuric acid) was successfully constructed in 1999 by a vast team of researchers at IBM, after many centuries of false starts and horrific explosions. Sadly, before any actual computations could be performed, the main mechanism was accidentally eaten by Bubbles the Brain (IBM's famous chimp mascot), who mistook it for a banana.