Rattner’s Virtual World’s Keynote: Research Reflections on IDF Day 3

Thursday, our CTO Justin Rattner gave a keynote on virtual worlds and the emergence of what he called the 3D Internet. The 3D Internet Rattner described is the mushrooming social world of multiplayer online games, of complex animations for medicine and science, of applications such Google Earth, and of virtual worlds such as Second Life. With some 60 million people now participating in virtual worlds such as Second Life, Justin said that “clearly this is not a niche.”

Here’s Justin in both real and virtual form.


One example he discussed is virtual medicine. Justin showed a video from Dr. Court Cutting, a surgeon at the New York University Medical School. He uses technology to model the facial structures, so that he can plan repairs of cleft palates in young children. However, the computational demands are very high to do this.

Moreover, to realize a true 3D Internet the demands on technology are very high. Justin characterized the requirements as:

Servers: 10-100x more computational power than more traditional online games

Clients: 3X+ the CPU power and at least 20X the graphics processing power

Networks: at least 100x the bandwidth compared to more traditional applications

This is where we expect to drive to in the next 5-10 years with tera-scale, silicon photonics, etc. Virtual worlds are perhaps the most interesting example of the model-based applications that will be enabled by tera-scale computers. As an example, Justin brought researcher Daniel Pohl on stage to show progress we’ve made towards enabling real time ray tracing, which renders lighting much more realistically than today’s rasterization techiques.

For more info see this vid — I had a chance to discuss some of what we’re doing in these areas with a colleague last week:

One Response to Rattner’s Virtual World’s Keynote: Research Reflections on IDF Day 3

  1. ONwebCHECK says:

    Hmmm, Justin looks better in the real than virtual form. And the thing with a performance…. I think at the moment the CPU is not the problem any more. The other periferial components like harddisk or maybe only the link between is the problem.