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Earlier this year I read a short story or novella in which some corporation produced a minuscule supercomputer-on-a-chip, which was subsequently used to create a simulation. The simulated beings were given a nanofabrication facility with which to experiment, and wound up everting themselves into the real world in some fashion, causing massive destruction.

It felt like it was written in the '90's, but obviously I'm so fuzzy on the details that I can't even turn it up in a Google search. Could have been more recent.

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This sounds like it could be "Crystal Nights" by Greg Egan.

Daniel Cliff is a rich businessman who's purchased rights to someone's private invention - a tiny optical computer that works better than buildings full of conventional ones.

He's going to run a simulation in it of a microcosmic universe - a world called Sapphire & its moon, local evolution of life, & a handle to our physical universe via a "monolith" placed on their moon (remember Clarke's "2001 A Space Odyssey"?) once they evolve enough to reach their moon. This monolith is actually a control panel for actual equipment in a physics lab in our world.

(from http://variety-sf.blogspot.com/2009/01/greg-egan-crystal-nights-novelette-ai.html)

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  • That's the one, thanks!
    – warrenm
    Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 0:05

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