It's COMPUTER SCIENCE WEEK at Schism Matrix,
because I just spent about a week in a rural retreat in
northern Virginia with 70 or so of the nation's most
distinguished computer scientists.
Our home away from home.
It's not real easy to organize computer scientists. Dr. Anita Jones got to be our
Here's Dr. Anita at the South Pole, an easy chore by comparison.
Prof. Seth Goldstein. He hankers to link up zillions of microscopic objects
"smart dust," "smart paint."
Here's the pitch on a Goldstein project involving "reconfigurable nanotechnology," i.e., a huge
unstable swarm of ubiquitous stuff that just keeps trading data no matter what you do to it.
Of course, this requires some unusual computer architecture.
Check out the weblinks in this course Seth teaches on "electronic
nanotechnology." No more o' that lame sci-fi handwaving nonsense; this
is the hard-case stuff here, folks.
Robin Murphy is from Florida's "Center for Robot-Assisted Search and
I'd never allege that the learned Dr. Murphy is "a cool chick with
a hard-as-nails attitude," but she is certainly the toughest-minded
computer scientist I've ever met. She is way on top of her brief, and
she has got disaster-stories like you wouldn't believe.
"135 rescuers died in the Mexico City effort, 65 of them when they got trapped
in a confined space and the area flooded and they couldn't get
out. There's all sorts of other dangers: secondary collapses, like when
the nurse at Oklahoma City fell and died, toxic gases, etc. So lots of
cheap, expendable robots are a solution." Somebody should pry open that
brand-new 9/11 Homeland Defense checkbook and give Dr. Murphy a truckload
Steve White from IBM Research is into massively distributed systems. "Computing will change
everything on the planet in our lifetime."
Steve has also got his own blog, called "Plurp."
Among other interesting things, Plurp featured this link to a Lovecraftian form
When it comes to weird, out-there (but reputable and publishable) computer
science, man, nobody beats Jordan Pollack. This guy is the cat's
Check out the videos here and prepare to have your mind blown.
Bruce Sterling is a science fiction writer and 105% vision thing. He also
talks. For the text of his talk at the CRA, check out Viridian.