Sunday, February 3, 2008

Avatar Entropy, Chaos, Information and Encryption in SL

Today I began some very simple experiments into the relationship between information, entropy, encryption and chaos in SL. Basically, I took three spheres (.5 m diameters) and made them so that they were kissing each other in 3D space. Then, I made a copy of these three spheres, placed them 5 meters apart from the first three spheres. I converted the 2x 3spheres into physical objects and dropped them from a distance of about 2meters from a floor plank. I repeated this experiment a few times. This is preliminary, but here is what I observed: The two sets of three spheres dropped side-by-side (simultaneously) followed similar (but perhaps not exactly identical?) paths. However, when the spheres were dropped at different times, the paths that the spheres followed upon collision with the floor plank appeared different. Caveat: this was a quick 5 minute experiment, and I simply eyeballed the results. But this is what I saw. This result brings up some interesting questions. I think the three touching spheres represents a chaotic system (someone please correct me if I am wrong). By putting 2 sets of three touching spheres side by side and dropping them simultanously, the Linden computer processors should be solving the same equations simultaneously, so the objects follow paths that are very similar to each other, upon collision with the floor plank. However, when the touching spheres are dropped at different times, the behavior of the processors may be different because the equations are not being solved simultaneously, so the paths that the spheres follow is different. Unlike a classical computer chaos experiment, it is not that the initial conditions as specified by the spatial positon of the spheres is different. Rather, the functioning of the Linden computers may be slightly different at different times. Related to this observation, one intersting question is whether 3spheres dropped SIMULTANEOUSLY at different sims from the same relative heights and relative positions would behave more similarly to each other upon collision with the floor plank, than if they werre dropped at different times. In such a case, it may be possible to encrypt information in the way in which that 3 (or more) touching spheres move upon collision with the ground, such that the information is both encoded and decoded at the point that the three three (or more) spheres are dropped from the same relative heights and positions. This encryption method would work if the physics of different sims are being processed by at the same time by the same computer. By analyzing the effect of time and distance upon differences in the paths followed by two sets of three touching spheres that are dropped from the same relative positions, it should be possible to analyze how the information content of the three touching spheres is lost as a function time and space. I will refer to this loss of information as Avatar Entropy. Nevertheless, these are preliminary observations that should be better controlled, measured and reproduced. I need to re-check that the position of the spheres are correct, that the floor planks are horizontal, etc...again these are preliminary observations. But, I want to get these results out there in case someone out there is interested in researching these questions in SL. Note: I am a pharmaceutical scientist, not an expert in information, entropy, chaos or encryption...I just think this question is sufficiently interesting that may be worth exploring. Here are a few more questions worth thinking about --- going back to a die that I was making the other day, I wonder: would two die dropped from the same position, height, and time in different sims behave the same way or differently? Would the same die dropped from the same height and position from the same sim --but at different times-- behave differently? How about the behavior of two touching spheres? How about the behavior of one sphere? How about the behavior of 1,2,3, n, n+1 kissing rods, hollow cyllinders, cubes, helices and other odd shaped objects (of the same or different geometric shapes)?

In the picture above, I am standing in front of my experimental set up, in the teaching space of Hiro Sheridan, my next door neighbor in SL. I will leave th2 2x3spheres prim behind for Hiro to take a look at. I IMed Hiro Sheridan about this. Hiro is a mathematical physicist, who works on encryption, SL, neural prosthetics, science fiction and other relevant subjects, for collaboration. Hiro will be scripting something to measure the position of the spheres where they land....measuring where the spheres land will certainly allow for a more objective assessment of my preliminary observations.

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About Me

I am Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences