A cogitator is the most commonly used term in Low Gothic for any type of digital computer in the Imperium of Man. Imperial cogitators function much like their real-world equivalents (though capable of more advanced functions), but like most Imperial technology they often possess a far more arcane and Gothic exterior.
Cogitators vary in size and function, from the gigantic data-looms of the Adeptus Administratum which help process all the bureaucratic data required to run the Imperium, to the slim microprocessors used in the brains of the Adeptus Mechanicus' tech-priests and the more advanced types of servitors.
All cogitators are believed by the adepts of the Mechanicus to have an animating Machine Spirit, though true, general Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is not allowed to develop within any cogitator.
This is because A.I., or "Abominable Intelligence" as it is known to the servants of the Machine God, has been a form of technology forbidden to Mankind by the Cult Mechanicus since before the end of the Age of Strife.
This prohibition is the result of the role the legendary Men of Iron, robotic artificial general intelligences, played in rebelling against their Human masters. These thinking machines unleashed a war known as the Cybernetic Conflict upon Mankind in the days of the Age of Technology that devastated Humanity's first interstellar civilisation.
A Murder Cogitator is an abomination abhorred like few other forms of technology by the Adeptus Mechanicus. Such a device is built for the single purpose of slaying other cogitators' Machine Spirits (artificial intelligences) and extracting secrets from the steaming ruins of their digital mindscapes.
Such a process is absolute anathema to all orthodox tech-priests, and they are prepared to do anything to exterminate this foul technology.
Most existing Murder Cogitators are based on the designs of the Arch-heretek Nomen Ryne, who is venerated as a saint by some of the most degenerated users of dark technology within the Dark Mechanicum.
- Dark Adeptus (Novel) by Ben Counter, Ch. 1
- Ravenor Returned (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- Dark Heresy - The Radical's Handbook (RPG)
- Dark Heresy Core Rulebook (RPG)