Visit additional Tabor Communication Publications
HPC Matters is a joint blog consisting of contributors from the Tabor Communications team on their observations and insights into HPC matters.
August 28, 2008
What happens when the physical world meets the virtual world and they fall so helplessly in love with each other that they sweep into each others' arms, get married, and meld into something entirely new and different? Aside from having angry Republicans knocking down the door about the whole definition of marriage thing, what happens is the Metaverse.
As you might guess, my metaphor needs some fine tuning (probably my sense of humor too), but bad humor and analogies aside, the concept of the Metaverse is worth your attention. Originally, the Metaverse concept came from the science fiction book "Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson. In the book, the Metaverse was essentially the virtual realitization of the Internet – a place where people would gather in a virtual reality environment and interact socially and indeed, on a whole new cultural level.
A non-profit group called the Acceleration Studies Foundation (otherwise known as the ASF) has taken the Stephenson concept of the Metaverse and built on it based on key trends that they see emerging in technology today. As such, they see the Metaverse as "the convergence of 1) virtually-enhanced physical reality, and 2) physically persistent virtual space." In other words, the Metaverse isn't just an online phenomenon – it goes both ways. It's the bleeding of each environment (physical and virtual) into each other to create a whole new thing – what the ASF calls "the junction or nexus of our physical and virtual worlds."
To give tactility to the concept of the Metaverse, the ASF highlights two major paradigms in which people currently (and for the foreseeable future) participate in, which serve to make up base components of it. These two major paradigms include 1) External vs. Intimate, and 2) Augmentation vs. Simulation.
Within a matrix of these paradigms (as noted above), the ASF highlights the four key components that make up the early Metaverse. They include 1) Virtual Worlds (Second Life, Millions of Us, World of War Craft), Mirror Worlds (Google Earth, GPS, and other "location-aware" technologies), Augmented Reality (iPhones, wearable computers, RFID, etc.), and what is called Lifelogging (which starts with blogging, Facebook and MySpace, but progresses into some incredibly invasive forms of documenting one's life, including Twitter and moving towards automatic GPS tracking, wearable surveillance cameras, and more.
The so-called Metaverse exists in the space where these four paradigms overlap to create a mutually-reinforcing user experience -- if not a completely new cultural paradigm and way of existing. This should get your attention. As the ASF puts it:
"If these technologies become as commonplace and important as we believe they will, people who choose not to participate may end up as left out of commercial and civic discourse as Web-ignorant people are today."
If that doesn't make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, I don't know what will. Not that I'm insisting that everyone should be afraid of this apparent baptism into technology that we appear poised to dive headlong into (emerging as something wholly different), but fear would be a natural reaction.
So what does this have to do with HPC? Well, aside from the obvious, which should require no explanation on this Web site (this stuff is going to require a whole lot of computing power, storage, etc.), I noticed something that I found rather troubling when I was reading the overview of the Metaverse Roadmap: there is virtually no representation in this emerging space from the HPC community at large, despite the fact that HPC will have to be a major component of the vertebral column that enables the entire thing.
After reading the Metaverse Roadmap overview, and reflecting that much of this information is stuff that I've intuitively guessed at since first marveling at the Internet, it dawns on me that we may be much closer to this hybrid reality than I had ever imagined. Perhaps the time to pay closer attention to developments in this emerging Metaverse context has finally come.
What say you?
Posted by Isaac Lopez - August 27, 2008 @ 9:00 PM, Pacific Daylight Time
Isaac Lopez is the Marketing Director for Tabor Communications.
No Recent Blog Comments
During a conversation this week with Cray CEO, Peter Ungaro, we learned that the company has managed to extend its reach into the enterprise HPC market quite dramatically--at least in supercomputing business terms. With steady growth into these markets, however, the focus on hardware versus the software side of certain problems for such users is....
Contributing commentator, Andrew Jones, offers a break in the news cycle with an assessment of what the national "size matters" contest means for the U.S. and other nations...
Today at the International Supercomputing Conference in Leipzing, Germany, Jack Dongarra presented on a proposed benchmark that could carry a bit more weight than its older Linpack companion. The high performance conjugate gradient (HPCG) concept takes into account new architectures for new applications, while shedding the floating point....
Jun 19, 2013 |
Supercomputer architectures have evolved considerably over the last 20 years, particularly in the number of processors that are linked together. One aspect of HPC architecture that hasn't changed is the MPI programming model.
Jun 18, 2013 |
The world's largest supercomputers, like Tianhe-2, are great at traditional, compute-intensive HPC workloads, such as simulating atomic decay or modeling tornados. But data-intensive applications--such as mining big data sets for connections--is a different sort of workload, and runs best on a different sort of computer.
Jun 18, 2013 |
Researchers are finding innovative uses for Gordon, the 285 teraflop supercomputer housed at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) that has a unique Flash-based storage system. Since going online, researchers have put the incredibly fast I/O to use on a wide variety of workloads, ranging from chemistry to political science.
Jun 17, 2013 |
The advent of low-power mobile processors and cloud delivery models is changing the economics of computing. But just as an economy car is good at different things than a full size truck, an HPC workload still has certain computing demands that neither the fastest smartphone nor the most elastic cloud cluster can fulfill.
Jun 14, 2013 |
For all the progress we've made in IT over the last 50 years, there's one area of life that has steadfastly eluded the grasp of computers: understanding human language. Now, researchers at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) are utilizing a Hadoop cluster on its Longhorn supercomputer to move the state of the art of language processing a little bit further.
05/10/2013 | Cleversafe, Cray, DDN, NetApp, & Panasas | From Wall Street to Hollywood, drug discovery to homeland security, companies and organizations of all sizes and stripes are coming face to face with the challenges – and opportunities – afforded by Big Data. Before anyone can utilize these extraordinary data repositories, however, they must first harness and manage their data stores, and do so utilizing technologies that underscore affordability, security, and scalability.
04/15/2013 | Bull | “50% of HPC users say their largest jobs scale to 120 cores or less.” How about yours? Are your codes ready to take advantage of today’s and tomorrow’s ultra-parallel HPC systems? Download this White Paper by Analysts Intersect360 Research to see what Bull and Intel’s Center for Excellence in Parallel Programming can do for your codes.
Join HPCwire Editor Nicole Hemsoth and Dr. David Bader from Georgia Tech as they take center stage on opening night at Atlanta's first Big Data Kick Off Week, filmed in front of a live audience. Nicole and David look at the evolution of HPC, today's big data challenges, discuss real world solutions, and reveal their predictions. Exactly what does the future holds for HPC?
Join our webinar to learn how IT managers can migrate to a more resilient, flexible and scalable solution that grows with the data center. Mellanox VMS is future-proof, efficient and brings significant CAPEX and OPEX savings. The VMS is available today.