Programming went back to the beginning of time…There were programs here that had been written five thousand years ago, before Humankind ever left Earth. The wonder of it—the horror of it…these programs still worked…down at the very bottom of it was a little program that ran a counter. Second by second, the Qeng Ho counted from the instant that a human had first set foot on Old Earth’s moon. But if you looked at it still more closely… the starting instant was actually about fifteen million seconds later, the 0-second of one of Humankind’s first computer operating systems… -- "A Deepness in the Sky", Vernor Vinge