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"...the space defense initiative drove the USSR bankrupt, and it originated at my house in Tarzana."
- Larry Niven

Computronium  
  Intelligent matter; nanocomputing processors masquerading as ordinary material.  

"NASA are idiots. They want to send canned meat to Mars!" Manfred swallows a mouthful of beer, aggressively plonks his glass on the table. "Mars is just dumb mass at the bottom of a gravity well; there isn't even a biosphere there. 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. The solar system is a dead loss right now - dumb all over! Just measure the MIPS per milligram. If it isn't thinking, it isn't working.
From Accelerando, by Charles Stross.
Published by Ace in 2005
Additional resources -

See also the opposite - dumb matter.

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