Does anyone recall a book or short story in which the main character had a small tapwater-cooled supercomputer connected to her kitchen sink?

One scene I'm remembering includes her turning the faucet on so she could do some number-crunching without cooking the bio-based circuitry. Another includes her logging into it while not at home, but only running it at speed for a short time because she wasn't there to turn the water on.

Her apartment may have been on a space station. The character reminds me of one from Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Moon, or Melissa Scott, but I've not been able to find this in any of their books so far.

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    I seem to remember this story, but I thought it was from one of the cyberpunk authors, like William Gibson or Bruce Sterling. Commented Feb 7, 2016 at 14:25
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    The water cooled computer, and it being used briefly without cooling, are featured in one of the Venus Prime books by Paul Preuss ( sorry, can't remember which one ), which expanded on several Arthur C Clarke short stories Commented Oct 18, 2018 at 16:35
  • Venus Prime! That was likely it. @MartinGoldsack if you post this as an answer I'll accept it.
    – stevegt
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 16:42
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    You already have your answer, but a tapwater-cooled supercomputer (used by a female protagonist) also showed up in one of the later scenes of Friday, by Heinlein.
    – Ben Barden
    Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 14:09

1 Answer 1


Breaking Strain - the first of the Venus Prime series by Paul Preuss, which expanded on the short story by Arthur C Clarke. The protagonist extracts data from a water cooled computer, but as turning on the water would advertise that she'd broken in, has to do it very fast before the computer overheats.

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