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"We [science fiction writers] always wanted to believe in "private sector" space -- hucksters make better characters than a government does."
- Larry Niven

Deep Thought  
  The second-largest computer ever made.  

According to The Hitchhiker's Guide, millions of years ago there was a race of hyperintelligent pandimensional beings who wanted to know about the meaning of life. To settle the issue they built a "stupendous super computer which was so amazingly intelligent that even before the data banks had been connected up it had started from 'I think therefore I am' and got as far as the existence of rice pudding and income tax before anyone managed to turn it off..."

It was the size of a small city.

Its main console was installed in a specially designed executive office, mounted on an enormous executive desk of finest ultramahagony topped with rich ultrared leather. The dark carpeting was discreetly sumptuous, exotic potted plants and tastefully engraved prints of the principal computer programmers and their families were deployed liberally about the room, and stately windows looked out upon a tree-lined public square.

From The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams.
Published by Harmony Books in 1979
Additional resources -

Here's the first appearance of the phrase:

"What is this great task for which I, Deep Thought, the second greatest computer in the Universe of Time and Space, have been called into existence?"

Don't even mention the following computers in the same sentence with Deep Thought:

  • The Milliard Gargantubrain
  • The Googleplex Star Thinker
  • The Great Hyperlobic Omni-Cognate Neutron Wrangler
  • The Multicorticoid Perspecutron Titan Muller
  • The Pondermatic
Fans of the great Stanislaw Lem know that he anticipated this idea in his 1965 novel The Cyberiad: Tales of a Cybernetic Age; see the entry for Gnostotron.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  More Ideas and Technology by Douglas Adams
  Tech news articles related to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  Tech news articles related to works by Douglas Adams

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