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Iconic secret government data centers in the movies

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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1 of 8 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

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.

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2 of 8 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

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.

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3 of 8 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

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@...

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4 of 8 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

Long before he was the Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger was The Terminator. In this installment of the now over-done series, an all-growed-up John Connor is once more on the run. He partners up with Claire Danes and they go on the run to find Skynet's core. They think they've found it at Crystal Peak in the Sierra's. Unfortunately, this Cold War vintage control center isn't Skynet's core and, well, merry-making ensues.

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5 of 8 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

Long before we were all swiping our fingers across iPads and iPhones like little children use finger paints, Tom Cruise was spying on people's bad intentions. Although the datacenter itself in Minority Report isn't necessarily iconic, the Minority Report GUI is, much to the excitement of CNN's John King and his magic touch-me board.

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6 of 8 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

Although there was a recent remake by George Clooney, when we talk iconic, we mean the 1964 movie. The premise is that most of the United States defense system is automated and the movie is mostly about how the humans try to hold back the end of the world. While no individual computer is, itself, iconic in this film, the SAC (Strategic Air Command) showcases the computer's steps leading to destruction. Great fun is had by all.

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7 of 8 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

While technically not a massive, government datacenter, perhaps no insane, over-the-top, sentient computer is more well-known than the HAL-9000 (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer). HAL is nuts. HAL is nuts, and yet -- we will always love him.

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8 of 8 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

THERE IS NO SANCTUARY!!!!!!!!

In 1976, your esteemed gallery author was 15 years old, Micheal York was astonishingly young, and the idea of everyone over 30 going to "Sanctuary" with the help of the Sandman central computer seemed both fine and reasonable.

Your gallery author is now almost 50 and sometimes thinks we need a reverse-Logan's Run to keep the young whippersnappers out of our hair.

So there. Get off my lawn!

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