Computronium
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Basic Information

Computronium is a hypothetical material described loosely in a number of scientific papers and thought experiments.

Depending on which paper or author you site, it is some or all of the following:

  • "programmable matter",
  • a "substrate for computer modeling of any real object"
  • a "theoretical arrangement of matter that is the best possible form of computing device for that amount of matter"
  • a "substance that can store information and process data"

News: Physicists Are Saying Consciousness Is A State Of Matter

Sources

Bibliography
2. gizmodo - article points out a lot of flaws in the concept, spoiling the fun

Game and Story Use

  • A great new stand-in for applied phlebotinum, unobtainium, green rocks, etc.
  • This allows you to have computers in liquid form, or distributed in tiny nodes or crystals across a space and continuously automatically networked together, or some other unique novel form, like integrated into your cerebrospinal fluid, or as a gas that permeates the atmosphere and wastes zero space. It is, after all, the arrangement of matter that produces the most efficient computing form. So we may be talking about subatomic computers.
    • Maybe you have to "tank up" or get a "Computronium change" (like an oil change) every so many calculations (or light years traveled). You can mix metaphors and riff off old school technologies as a handle on how to describe the future tech.
    • A computronium injection may be the wetwear installed in a genetic uplift or cyborg upgrade.
      • "It is by computronium alone I set my mind in motion…"
  • If computronium is only created (harvested, refined, etc) in a few key places, it could be a component in triangular trade or economic dominance of one solar system or galactic empire.
    • Those who control the source of computronium will be able to out-calculate and out-think the opposition. An entire race or empire made up of so many The Chessmaster and The Strategist types, capable of nested Xanatos Gambit operations.
  • It can also be a good way of threatening the end of the world as we know it. A computer trying to solve a difficult problem might convert all matter it can reach into either computronium or computronium converters, or one trying to maximize happiness might go for its close relative hedonium.
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