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:zz,lustr: BIG IRON FOR THE SCREEN! A New Year's Plan (bigiron.d5

Hi friends--

I'm lately dusting off some my original, strong ideas
 from 1960-1, instead of the compromises of recent decades.

Today (during a very enjoyable phone conversation
 with Eric Raymond, which started on another topic),
 I realized what should be a near-term goal of all this work.

I happened to remark to Eric that I was very interested
 in Beowulf clusters, and want to crank up ZigZag
 as a multiprocessor controller for them.

"Why in the world do you need a supercomputer?"
 he asked, or words to that effect.

I replied huffily that I could use all the bandwidth in
 Christendom on a single interface, if I had the programmers.
 And I mean it.  I have always wanted plumes and fountains
 of text, perspective swooshing ribbons of flying text, NOT TO
 MENTION 3d and other animations of more usual kinds. 
 From time to time in videos I've seen text stuff that remotely
 begins to look like what I had in mind long ago-- and more
 recently in Web animations, at
 These are by John Maeda.  He has other nifty animations
 at his site
, but these two are my favorites.)

So after the conversation with Eric Raymond this afternoon,
 I spent a couple of hours with Chris Penrose, an
 electronic-musician-in-residence here, and he did me a
 demo-- had me draw a figure in Photoshop on a Mac,
 ported it over to a PC, which chewed on it a while and
 finally played it as music (interpreting it as a sonogram).
 Great software, but took much too long.

And I realized: Jeepers!  We REALLY need supercomputers
 for our interfaces!  Why the hell not?  If we can put
 a golf club on the moon...

So, thinking further about the matter, I've come to realize
 that parallel programming of Beowulf graphics (with enough
 generality so folks like Chris could also port audio apps--
 at least, as sectional object code) -- this would be an excellent
 proof-of-concept for ZigZag parallelism.

So howbout we crank up ZigZag so it *can* do Beowulf
 parallel control, and then try to build a high-performance
 perspective/LUSTR interface *on top* of ZigZag?

Note that this shouldn't get in the way of any equipment
 I may be able to scrounge from Silicon Graphics, since
 that ought to go into the cluster too, right?  Or would SGI Unix
 not fit with it?

There may be snags, but this begins  to be what I originally
 envisioned Lo them decades ago.  So I'm jazzed.



Theodor Holm Nelson, Visiting Professor of Environmental Information
 Keio University, Shonan Fujisawa Campus, Fujisawa, Japan
 Home Fax from USA: 011-81-466-46-7368  (If in Japan, 0466-46-7368)
http://www.sfc.keio.ac.jp/~ted/  (Professorial page)
Permanent: Project Xanadu, 3020 Bridgeway #295, Sausalito CA 94965
 Tel. 415/ 331-4422, fax 415/332-0136  
http://www.xanadu.net (see also Professorial page, above)
PERMANENT E-MAIL: ted@xxxxxxxxxx
Quotation of the day, 98.12.02:
Mike McNally, president of the Air Traffic Controllers Union, yesterday
assured the press that air traffic controllers can take over from computers
in case Y2K bugs hit the system.  
     "I'm not trying to indicate that when our computers shut down that
everything is hunky-dory.  There is a major transition period where the
heart is beating and things are happening fast, and people are yelling and
screaming to try to get a handle on it," he said.  (cnn.com, dateline