Iconic secret government data centers in the movies

Iconic secret government data centers in the movies

Summary: Now that the U.S. government has broken ground on America's new $1.5 billion cyber-security data center, let's look at some iconic movie data centers. Why do they always seem to go so very, very bad?

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  • Shall. We. Play. A. Game?

    Starring a very young Matthew Broderick (can you believe he's 48 now?), WarGames came two years before he took his famous day off. The iconic W.O.P.R. was intended by the U.S. military to play wargames, but eventually developed a level of sentience (unlike many serving members of the United States Congress).

    Want to read about a real-life data center? Visit 5 fascinating facts you probably didn't know about America's new $1.5 billion cyber-security center.

  • The WarGames premise returned 25 years later, with WarGames: The Dead Code. A direct-to-DVD release, this central computer was far less iconic, if no less powerful. The computer here is R.I.P.L.E.Y., which eventually does battle with W.O.P.R. Highlight of the movie are the silly variables, including JDI_MINDTRICK.

  • The movie industry loves sentient computers run amok, and Colossus: The Forbin Project is no different. In this, America has a computer called Colussus, which tries to protect humanity by taking over the world in partnership with the Soviet supercomputer known as Guardian. Merry-making ensues and, as we all know, the movie ends with the birth of Google.*

    *Sarcasm. Not in the real movie. Google does not end up controlling the worl#x5@...

Topics: Data Centers, Hardware, Storage

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • Not a Movie but...

    GLADOS
    "look at me still talking when there's science to do"
    KBot
  • RE: Iconic secret government data centers in the movies

    And of course, (regarding HAL), move all characters "up" one in the alphabet and what do you have?H =>I, A => B, L => M... IBM (who did not wanrt to be associated, even in a futuristic sense, with a "killer computer".
    poppaman2
    • RE: Iconic secret government data centers in the movies

      @poppaman2 Not according to Arthur Clarke.
      fairportfan
  • RE: Iconic secret government data centers in the movies

    Let's not for get "Mother" from Alien. and on this subject you should really read this list of annoyance about computers in movies from annoyances.org: http://www.annoyances.org/exec/show/article09-127
    really funny stuff.
    Tablet_Dude
    • RE: Iconic secret government data centers in the movies

      I forgot to mention my most favorite movie computer as of lately: JARVIS from Ironman.
      Tablet_Dude
  • Colossus DID survive

    Colossus: The Forbin Project was based on the first of a book trilogy detailing how Colossus came to be, survived, was turned "OFF" and ultimately turned back ON to help mankind survive!
    philb1701
  • Computer Lottery

    I think they (US government) should sponsor a national lottery. See who guesses the correct date that the new supercomputer gets hacked. Maybe let them turn the "key" that kicks on skynet?
    trust2112@...
    • RE: Iconic secret government data centers in the movies

      @trust2112@... ok, but how to define "hacked". The old DEFCON CTF way, where the supplicant has to put a message in the root directory? Somehow 'hacked' on a computer that size would imply something along the lines of turning it into an online casino and dating site without being detected or something equally daring and grandiose.
      opcom
  • RE: Iconic secret government data centers in the movies

    Don't forget the tooth fairy.
    james347
  • RE: Iconic secret government data centers in the movies

    Well, not a government data centers and not a movie (I still wonder why not, because it is a great book) but in Matt Ruff?s "Gas, Water, Sewer" there is a really mean Supercomputer/Datacenter as well - that has all to be iconic ...
    sglietz
  • HAL is nuts.

    You have to remember that, just as in real life, HAL was driven insane by the illogical demands of his users!
    waltz@...
  • RE: Iconic secret government data centers in the movies

    The computer center in "Colossus" was, in fact, the studio's payroll computer.
    fairportfan
  • No one remembers Proteus IV?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demon_Seed

    Poor name, decent story.
    katkins@...
  • RE: Iconic secret government data centers in the movies

    +1 V M S = W N T, although VMS operators don't see it as a +1 haha.
    opcom