computronium

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Blend of computer +‎ neutronium.

Noun[edit]

computronium (uncountable)

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  1. (science fiction) Programmable matter.
    • 1990 February 17, Amato, I., “Computronium: the 'element' that imitates”, in Science News[1], volume 137, number 7, page 103:
      Toffoli says he thinks of CAM-8 as "computronium" -- a flexible "element" capable of mimicking all other elements and particles, real or imagined.
  2. (science fiction, philosophy) A hypothetical material engineered to maximize its use as a computing substrate.
    • 1992, Norman Margolus, “Fundamental Physical Constraints on the Computational Process”, in BC Crandall and James Lewis, editors, Nanotechnology: Research and Perspectives, The MIT Press, →ISBN, page 202:
      The process of making computers on ever smaller scales, using physical degrees of freedom and the laws of physics in an ever more efficient manner, can be thought of as a refining process. In this process we are trying to refine and concentrate the computing power inherent in the laws of physics. You might ask, "Can we achieve 100% pure 'Computronium'?"
    • 2005, Charles Stross, Accelerando, Ace Books, Chapter 1, "Lobsters":
      They should be working on uploading and solving the nanoassembly conformational problem instead. Then we could turn all the available dumb matter into computronium and use it for processing our thoughts. Long-term, it's the only way to go.
    • 2014, Nick Bostrom, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, Oxford University Press, page 140:
      To this end, the AI might produce computronium (matter organized in a configuration that is optimal for computation) and use it to implement digital minds in states of euphoria.