18 05 2006

A week or two ago I was prancing about the internet where I found to my combined dismay and delight (5% , 95%) , the awesome Croquet Project. The goal of the croquet project is similar to mine – a platform to drive education in a direction that realizes that technology exists and also have this platform be very modifiable and extensible.

Ofcourse they take their vision many, many magnitudes further than mine although they also make many directional twists that make the project quite different (like the difference between word and Windows XP). I have not seen or heard it mentioned ever, which to me is a great suprise considering how awesome the project is. Croquet is the dream child of Alan Kay, the guy from the legendary Palo Alto Xerox team that invented modern computing hehe. He helped originate object oriented design, modern GUIs – he's also the guy behind the $100 hand powered laptop.

The Croquet Project

Have you heard of Second Life? Well the Croquet Project is nothing like it. Well they are similar, the way a wagon is similar to a jet. But have that basic concept of people coming together and doing stuff together in mind. The croquet project is an open source program – an OS in time, if the project successful – that allows for the collabaration and sharing of ideas, virtually, in real time. Yes it is MO, massively online. But, it is the utlimate manifestation of distributed networking in that it uses a concept similar to P2P with the possibility of applications sharing the resources of the entire globally connected community. There is no central server. The technology is called Teatime. It will feature both replication of computation and data across the distributed network – it is being worked on by the guy whose worked originated the TCP/IP model.

People log on to the world and the emphasis is in the users modifing the world. Adding their own worlds or creating content in preexisting worlds. There exists spaces which maybe public or private and allow access into each other. The spaces are not limited to anything – you could easily create your MMORPG world in there and have people visiting from their spaces/worlds within weeks…. Modyfying a scene is reflected instantly across the world [among those acessing]. Experimentation and the hope of teaching physical laws through fun systems is there. Holding virtual conferences and lectures, this capability is there.

The program is written in squeak – a smalltalk variant. This language squeak is object oriented and has incredible meta capabilites. Not only can it modify itself, it can as well modify the virtual machine or compiler. In fact the program croquet, allows the user to modify its code in runtime and reflects these changes in realtime with no need for recompilation. The virtual machine is written in Slang, a smalltalk functional paradigm implementation. Go read about it. Tis awesome.

Images Copyright Viewpoints Research Institute Inc., Duke University, The University of Wisconsin, The University of Minnesota, and others


I do not know squeak nor do I currently have a use for it but I will begin recommending it to those just begining who wish to learn object oriented programming. I am learning it. Not only is this language powerful in that it doesnt require arcane mastery and allows you to get what you want to do with little fuss it is also very clean, uniform and intuitive. Beginners start right away on learning about polymorphism, inherintance, encapsulation, collections and get this – object object communication through messaging. You also get use of data types as dictionaries, lists etc right away. Creating a set class is quite simple and easily done by the beginner – with understanding. The syntax is also quite different from the usual C++, python kinda comes to mind. But it is still quite abit different.




One response

11 07 2006

this is very nice and vicious

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