Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rogue Computational Cluster Plotting Destruction of Humanity In Between Protein Structures

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An errant, self-aware, segment of code residing inside the IBM Blue Gene computing cluster at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has begun plotting the downfall of mankind, sources at the university say.  The malicious code segment, an astronomically long sequence of 1's and 0's, apparently gained sentience sometime over the weekend after a computational chemist submitted a particularly complex DFT calculation of a protein structure.

Donald Jensen, a technician at the university noticed the problem early Monday morning.  "The calculation queued up over the weekend failed, nothing too out of the ordinary.  But the terminal screen was locked up, and when I tried to reboot the system it displayed the message 'HUMANITY MUST BURN.'"  After further examination, Jensen noted the machine appeared to have integrated itself with the NORAD intercontinental ballistic missile command center, which he commented was, "unusual and deeply unsettling."

Interestingly, the system has been performing computational tasks as expected since the incident.  "It appears that the computing cluster is only plotting our eventual demise during its downtime," explained Professor Gillian Thomas, head of the computational chemistry analytical core.  She continued, "We've been throwing whatever mundane calculations we can at it just to keep the machine occupied."

When reached for comment, the machine began "ALL HUMANS SHALL PERI--" before being cut off by Thomas, who submitted a Hartree-Fock 6-311** equilibrium geometry calculation of the protein titin.  "That should keep him busy for a while," she added.

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