More tea please.

Programmable matter, fractal compression, etc.

Some of the things that I did today:

Programmable Matter

I read a 1998 paper called “Programmable Matter Methods” — Programmable matter is a multi-dimensional grid of computing devices with local connections. The term is usually applied to grids that have a large number of nodes (like hundreds, millions or more…) and some of the “Connection Machines” are instances of it.


Look! Those sci-fi films were right!

Image licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic, sourced from Wikipedia.

Also read “Richard Feynman and The Connection Machine“, which is good. I particularly enjoyed the part about how Richard Feynman used differential equations with terms in that represented “the average number of 1 bits in a message address”!

Fractal Compression

“Once an image has been converted into fractal code its relationship to a specific resolution has been lost, it becomes resolution independent since the image can be recreated to fill any screen size.” – Fractal Compression, Wikipedia.

Was interested to find that Fractal compression is (or maybe was…) employed in RealVideo, and that fractal image compression failed to become widely used because wavelet approaches also popped up. FIASCO is/was an image format that, according to Linux Journal, is better than JPEG at low bitrates. FIASCO looks cool, but as far as I can tell it’s doesn’t really exist any more. There’s also a surprisingly old Wired article on it.

Whilst searching for bits of software to manage a database of papers, I came across Optar, a tool for encoding data onto paper. Maybe I’ll find some applications for this one day… perhaps the schematic of a PCB could be encoded in it and placed on the PCB surface… The authors mention something about photographing the images and then decoding them — they doesn’t say whether that’s actually possible.

Spent more hours on a tutorial on how to fix some Student Robotics hardware. Ended up editing the video using mplayer edit lists.

Posted at 4:03 am on Saturday 22nd March 2008

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