From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Computronium is a material hypothesized by Norman Margolus and Tommaso Toffoli of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to be used as "programmable matter", a substrate for computer modeling of virtually any real object.[1]

It also refers to a theoretical arrangement of matter that is the best possible form of computing device for that amount of matter.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

In the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books, by Douglas Adams, the entire Earth is portrayed as programmable matter; a computer designed to find the question to the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.

Charles Stross uses the term in Accelerando.

Greg Egan uses the term in Zendegi.[3]

In the Revelation Space books, by Alastair Reynolds, a neutron star called Hades is converted into a massive super computer. The neutronium substance of Hades would therefore be computronium.

In Orion's Arm Universe Project computronium is any form of matter which supports computation, including the human brain.

In Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow's book, The Rapture of the Nerds, the Sun is surrounded by Dyson spheres of computronium, which host the Singularity.

The Ultimate Marvel version of Tony Stark is specifically said to have his cell structure composed of "biological computronium".

In The Turing Exception Singularity Series Book 4 by William Hertling Artificial Intelligence utilizes Nano Technology to create vast fields of solar powered computronium out of existing materials, on Earth during an attack on humanity. [4]

In Destiny (video game) the most common currency, Glimmer, is described as programmable matter that can be transmuted into nearly anything, similar to computronium.

In Ashes of the Singularity planets are converted into a substance called Turinium used to compute uploaded human consciousness and artificial intelligences.

In Hannu Rajaniemi's books "The Quantum Thief", "The Fractal Prince" and "The Causal Angel", planet-sized supercomputers are made of computronium.

In The Long Earth (series), a transdimensional travel device is constructed of computronium.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Amato, I. (21 Aug. 1991). Speculating in Precious Computronium. Science 253:856–857.
  2. ^ CFAI glossary: computronium Archived 2010-04-20 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Zendegi, p. 72, at Google Books
  4. ^ | Loc 4430 of 4585 | text=...turning into a vast plain of glittering solar-powered computronium as it grew from dozens to hundreds of miles in diameter.