The title of Isaac Asimov's short story is ironic. The machine of the title is a large computer (in Asimov's day a computer might fill an entire building) named Multivac. Multivac is expected to provide strategy for the war effort against the Denebians, who do not have such a computer. The Chief Programmer Henderson says that everyone expected Multivac to "circumvent" any enemy attacks. He admits, however, that important data was missing and therefore Multivac compromised. He suggests that the data fed to Multivac was "meaningless." He also tells Swift and Jablonsky that he altered the data to come up with an outcome which he believed was correct based on educated guesses. Swift and Jablonsky also use their personal judgement in the analysis of the information given to them by Multivac. Swift, the director, even admits that in many instances he simply flipped a coin, which he refers to as the earliest of computers. His coin flips actually win the war. Thus, what is thought to be a fabulous victory predicated by wondrous advancements in technology is actually a product of sheer luck.