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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Breve is Way Cool[1]

Breve[2] can turn water into wine, and sugar into cocaine[3]. It can walk on the water, and swim on the land. Or it could learn to, if you set up the appropriate Karl Sims[4] style simulation and let it run long enough.

I think it's been too long since I checked up on the artificial life crowd. It seems pretty obvious that many existing commercial systems are already being developed through a very inefficient form of simulated evolution (hack on it for a while, push it into production, see what users think, rinse, repeat). Automating the process might not be a bad idea.

One of the neat things about Karl Sims' work was that his simulated worlds had physics realistic enough to support unexpected behavior. I wonder if Breve's physics is good enough? I suspect so, but I haven't taken the time to try it out. The "Users" section of the Breve site has some interesting links along those lines, I think I'll check them out.

[1] Yes, this is a repost. So sue me.
[2] http://www.spiderland.org/breve/
[3] With apologies to King Missile. Here, go buy something.
[4] Karl Sims is way cool. http://www.genarts.com/karl/

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Friday, July 14, 2006

The C1000K Problem

I've always liked Dan Kegel's C10K page[1], but 10,000 connections is now easily doable on low-end hardware with minimal tuning. As a thought experiment (and maybe a real experiment, depending) I want to try for 1,000,000 connections.

Massive numbers of TCP/IP connections are nice for a number of reasons: Web applications that do a "wait on an XMLHttpRequest" loop need many idle connections, and I'm thinking that any solution to the RSS-polling problem[2] will involve something similiar.

It's not exactly a new idea, so it's going to be as much a web-research thing as a coding thing. Last time[3] I played around with server scalability was loads-o'-fun, I suspect this time will be even more educational. I'll probably end up documenting the results over on Distributopia, it seems more appropriate for longer-form articles.

[1] http://www.kegel.com/c10k.html
[2] Have all the readers connect, then wait. It's push all over again. Wait, it _is_ push all over again. I feel ill.

[3] http://www.distributopia.com/rotd3_archive.html

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