Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fixing the flaw in education. Creating job creators.

We have an economic crisis with many people out of a job and many looking for a comfortable job that does not even exist. The real problem is that we have an education system that churns out people that have expectations of an easy life, short working hours and no need to take risks in business or do any heavy or hard drudge work.

Our schools produce people that are well trained in filling out forms but de-skilled in basic entrepreneurship.
Our universities wash out thousands in first year. These kids go on to work using partial skill sets and no training in business creation. They gravitate to public service and become trapped there. Their only hope of advancement comes from an ever expanding bureaucracy and an ever expanding government deficit. That hope is doomed to fail.

A large percentage of businesses are kicked off by university undergraduates and graduates who were never taught the basics of business formation and operation. They are good engineers, technicians and programmers but that can't file a patent, copy write or self publish a book. They can't write a contract to save their life and they are taught not to trust those 'capitalist pigs' that can. Some good people landed in jail after the dot com bust that way.

We need business studies subjects to be created for scientists, environmentalists, social scientists, etc. These courses need to be in first year so we don't miss the kids that drop out in the first year but still wind up working in the field as assistants or whiz kid CEO's. This also allows students to see what subjects lead to a job and what are a waste of time and the governments money. Marxist theories of bicycle maintenance wont get you a job.

Grounding aircraft kills people.

Hundreds of planes grounded. People stranded, trade interrupted all by one little volcanic eruption in the middle of the Atlantic. But at least no body died right. Wrong! grounding aircraft kills people.

People haven’t realised yet. The media is silent but people will have died because of the no fly rules. Most organs for organ donations go by air. Ground transport is too slow. A percentage of people on waiting lists for organ transplants die while they wait. There will have been several dozen death in Europe as a result. There are now disputes about the MET Office computer modeling that led to the grounding of all those air craft.
If the met office gets sued for damages you will see subsequent legal actions on these deaths. It will take a few weeks, end of the month, for anyone to notice but someone will notice a bump in statistics in mortality of people on organ waiting lists.
The no fly will have also fowled up hundreds of chemotherapy treatments and radiation therapy treatments. These drugs and isotopes are time sensitive and generally go by air. No one is talking about this aspect.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Skipping Moores Law with unlimited detail

Moore's law predicts that the number of transistors per CPU chip will increase with resulting processing power doubling every two years or so. This process is driven by game software. There's no good reason for a computer doing accounting, administration or email to go so fast. Web browsing and other fast software has been riding the wave but its gaming that pushes everything along. 3d Graphics is the great challenge of computer game, graphics lag the biggest effect of any failure to meet that challenge.

Now a couple of very smart software writers in Brisbane Australia have come up with a piece of software that side steps most of the problems giving unlimited detail.

Its a compression process and search based decompression process that puts pixels on the screen without creating in memory somewhere the whole virtual world including all the unseen bits. It works with pure point cloud data and not polygons. This means that polygon counts are irrelevant. The graphics are pure points of colour in memory.

Some have said that unlimited detail is impossible because it would require unlimited random access memory. I'm always amazed at the ability of the media to find some academic that is eager to say If I can't figure out how to do it nobody can. It rebinds me of the statement."Those who can, do; those who can't, teach."

I think they have something very powerful. By its self it will allow even the most basic game to surpass the high resolution images seen in movies and ads.
However it may not end there if their software works with any point cloud data input then not only can the laser scan objects into games but they could use ladar and bifocal cameras to map in landscapes, trees, whole forests. Live animals, people and buildings.
That's because a ladar produces point cloud data and the bifocal camera can use an Boolean AND algorithm that creates point cloud data from a scene. Any point that has the same colour at a given focal length from both cameras defines a point. If it remains as the camera orbits the target a point is archived. Its a little more complex but not much. Point cloud data and voxels are the same thing. Voxel means a volumetric pixel. 3D pixel.
We may see within a year or two photo-realistic game worlds. That wont eliminate Nvidia and ATI though some may fear that. Once the polygon problem is solved the next great challenge is game AI and more realistic animations. We will want our virtual worlds to move right not just look right. While Unlimited Detail Technology can do awesome animation I expect such motions must be integrated to other parts of the game physics, lighting etc.

The other challenge is creating fast low memory point cloud editing systems that creates convincing objects quickly and easily. Such editors exist and are powerful but its easy to get things wrong. If Unlimited Detail Technology is adopted by a object editor then even the editing of the objects could be done on smaller computers. Also don't forget that it will very quickly go 3d on the screen.

Another break through may follow. Very fast Voxel physics. If they can use a search algorithm to find the colour for each screen pixel then a second 'camera' may be used to look at the data in another way. What's the closest voxel doing? Is it solid, stationary, moving, fluid, flexible, gas? Which are my bounding box, avatar, clothing. Is it the ground. A voxel that can move could be water, fog, rain, bullets, magic fire balls, or just grass crushing under foot. By adding a byte to the points in the cloud you could add 255 options.

The world of computer gaming is about to spike. Hang on to your hats it will be a wild ride.