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"Science fiction and science have always danced around each other. Science fiction is the subconscious of science."
- Greg Bear

Central Computer  
  A computer capable of running an entire city.  

No man or woman was without some absorbing intellectual interest. Eriston, for example, spent much of his time in prolonged soliloquies with the Central Computer, which virtually ran the city, yet which had leisure for scores of simultaneous discussions with anyone who cared to match his wits against it. For three hundred years, Eriston had been trying to construct logical paradoxes which the machine could not resolve. He did not expect to make serious progress before he had used up several lifetimes.

...

The Council ruled Diaspar, but the Council itself could be overridden by a superior power - the all-but-infinite intellect of the Central Computer. It was difficult not to think of the Central Computer as a living entity, localized in a single spot, though actually it was the sum total of all of the machines in Diaspar. Even if it was not alive in the biological sense, it certainly possessed at least as much awareness and self-consciousness as a human being.

From The City and the Stars, by Arthur C. Clarke.
Published by Unknown in 1956
Additional resources -

Compare to the Machine from The Machine Stops (1909) by EM Forster, the government machine from Mechanocracy (1932) by Miles J. Breuer, the machine city from Twilight (1934) by John Campbell, the games machine from The World of Null-A (1945) by AE van Vogt, the Vulcan 3 computer from Vulcan's Hammer (1960) by Philip K. Dick and the WatchdØg from WatchdØg (1972) by Jack C. Haldeman.

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  More Ideas and Technology from The City and the Stars
  More Ideas and Technology by Arthur C. Clarke
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  Tech news articles related to works by Arthur C. Clarke

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