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Net Journal 3

A characteristic of IB is the function to visualize data accumulated in a database in an interactive manner. For example, it can synthesize the World Heritage map on the UNESCO Website and each nation's per capita GDP from another site, and render it as a three-dimensional image (Fig. 2). It is also possible to collect necessary information from multiple databases and related information sites on the web and visualize it by establishing a system on the spot. Physical phenomena that are not visible or tangible can be simulated interactively in a virtual environment. The use of such technology is expected in the field of bioinformatics. A "piazza" (Ex. 2), which pools synthetic pads and boxes on the web for free exchange and trade through the Internet, is also being established.

Fig. 2: Three-dimensional representation by the Intelligent Box
Information on World Heritage presented on the UNESCO Website and the per capita GDP available on the local database are combined and synthesized/visualized in one table.

Development of a federation architecture that can freely connect knowledge and functions

---- While IP and IB have already been established as technologies, what do you think about their possible future development?

Dr. Tanaka: The initial purpose of IP and IB was for use as meme media. However, with an era of ubiquity close at hand, there are now demands for a federation of knowledge at a higher dimension rather than just revision and redistribution. The term "federation" here refers to the possibility of combining things at hand on the spot and making them ready to use. This means dynamic changes not only in the information itself but also in the network configuration of omnipresent information devices, and the IP and IB architectures can fully meet such needs. One system we developed, for example, recognizes a user with a PC equipped with a wireless LAN card when he/she enters the room. When the user accesses the piazza from the PC, he/she can automatically jump to the Web page where available services are registered. By copying and opening the proxy of a slide show from the Web page, the slide presentation service can be received as a pad. The user can just drag and drop PC data to the pad to prepare a slide show presentation.

---- Even if we bring our own PC to a venue, we may not be able to use it if its connection does not match the system installed at the venue. But if we use IP, it is possible to create a connection-free environment on the spot, isn't it?

Dr. Tanaka: Besides PCs, we use a variety of information devices, including PDAs, mobile phones, embedded computers and servers. Ultra-micro computers with integrated sensors, processing and communication features (such as smart chips and smart dust) will also become popular in the future. If computers can be miniaturized, it will be possible to establish a network by embedding them into walls, floors, desks, documents and various other things. I currently serve as the leader of the 21st Century COE Program called the Meme-Media Technology Approach to the R&D of Next-Generation Information. In the program, research and development of software technology to achieve a ubiquitous knowledge environment (including ultra-micro computers and the immediate formation of a federation) are being promoted through cooperation among the three fields of knowledge media, quantum integration electronics and intelligent communication.

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