Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Supercomputing United States Science

Military Running a Parallel Earth Simulator 470

Posted by Zonk
from the in-that-reality-i'm-an-ardent-fan-of-this dept.
Fantastic Lad writes "The US Department of Defense (DOD) may already be creating a copy of you in an alternate reality. Putting supercomputers to an innovative use, the military is simulating our planet in an effort to predict the outcome of different scenarios. They might run tests to see how long 'you' can go without food or water, or how 'you' will respond to televised propaganda. Billions of nodes are created in the system, intended to reflect every man, woman, and child. 'Called the Sentient World Simulation (SWS), it will be a "synthetic mirror of the real world with automated continuous calibration with respect to current real-world information", according to a concept paper for the project. Simulex is the company developing these systems, and they list pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and defense contractor Lockheed Martin among their private sector clients. The U.S. military is their biggest customer, apparently now running the most complex version of the system. JFCOM-9 is now capable of running real-time simulations for up to 62 nations, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and China. The simulations gobble up breaking news, census data, economic indicators, and climactic events in the real world, along with proprietary information such as military intelligence."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Military Running a Parallel Earth Simulator

Comments Filter:
  • by Harmonious Botch (921977) * on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:24PM (#19696467) Homepage Journal
    Does it have a 'no George Bush' option to see how the world would be doing without him?

    Seriously, I wonder how much the current fiasco in Iraq has to do with the desire for this program. There are probably a lot of people who would like to have been able to say: "Mr. President, our supercomputers say that this is a bad idea."

    It could be used for politics. Imagine someone from Ron Paul's campaign saying: "Our ideas are better, and now we can finally prove it!"

    PS: Hey, Zonk! It is spelled 'parallel'.

    • by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:27PM (#19696485) Homepage

      I can see it now:

      • Chance of desired outcome: 21.7%
      • Chance of desired outcome if media claims this system said chance of desired outcome was > 90%: 97.3%
      • heheheheh. S'truth!
      • Chance of desired outcome: 21.7%

        Correct infrmation does not matter when the boss has an agenda. The CIA gave Bush a report that predicted failure in Iraq and it's consequences [commondreams.org]. The computer can do the same, but it won't do any good. The neo-cons had a plan [wordpress.com] and activated it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by flyingsquid (813711)
          Correct infrmation does not matter when the boss has an agenda. The CIA gave Bush a report that predicted failure in Iraq and it's consequences.

          Exactly. When General Shinseki said that 400,000 troops would be needed to stabilize Iraq, Rumsfeld announced Shinseki's replacement. If a computer had told him the same thing, he probably would have had it melted down and sold for scrap metal. There were intelligence failures that contributed to the disaster in Iraq, but the primary failure was one of leadership.

      • by jdray (645332) on Friday June 29, 2007 @11:41PM (#19697213) Homepage Journal
        Chance of someone imagining a Beowulf cluster of these: 100.0%
      • by EmotionToilet (1083453) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @12:33AM (#19697395)
        I hope the simulated me has an iPhone.
    • by PDXNerd (654900) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:34PM (#19696549)
      For the US military, it will more than likely be used to simulate the economic and political fallout of potential US movement, be it military, political, or financial. What does the world do if the US invades Iran? Engages militants in Africa? "Acquires" even more of the world's precious resources? Which nations will be the loudest enemies? Which will be our friends?
       
      Do you want to play thermonuclear war, etc?

      It's not so much the "prove we are better" aspect, but "how can we stay on top when we decide to throw a little chaos in the mix?". The big dog needs to stay the big dog. Real time intelligence is one thing, but now they have "response forecasting".
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PingPongBoy (303994)
        Be nice to have an accurate prediction. It would bolster mankind's confidence in mind over matter.

        Chaos theory suggests that increasing precision by a decimal point would lead to totally different results, yet the computer isn't considering anything close to accurate.

        So throwing chaos into chaos - well, the prediction is chaos.

        What may be nice is the investment in computing technology will spin off lots of nice gadgets for us. Just to let the simulate people know, the fact that people are aware they are bei
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:44PM (#19696607)
      Running from a fight isn't always the right thing to do. And if you think Iraq is a fiasco, look at how many people died from not standing up to Hitler early enough. Hint: it's not measured in thousands, but TENS of MILLIONS.

      Face facts: right now, in Iraq the US is fighting a war against the agents of Iran.

      And the rhetoric coming out of Iran is straight out of Mein Kampf. Except this time around the ubermensch are Islamic, and the subhumans who deserve to die are infidels, "crusaders", and - once again - the Jews. Imagine that.

      Only this time, the megalomaniac will have nukes, and since he's not just a power-hungry despot but a religious fanatic, he won't be afraid to use them. How many UN resolutions do you think it will take to stop Iran's nuclear program?

      So yeah, let's run a simulation where Iran's rulers get their way in the Middle East. How many nukes do you think it'll take them to "wipe Israel off the map"? Hey, that's what they OPENLY SAY they're going to do.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        How many UN resolutions do you think it will take to stop Iran's nuclear program?

        Well we now know the US needs more than 18 UN resolutions and 3 Congressional authorizations in order to go to war. That's what Bush had for Iraq and he sure won't touch Darfur or Iran with one jot less than that.
        • by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Friday June 29, 2007 @11:17PM (#19697117)

          How many UN resolutions do you think it will take to stop Iran's nuclear program?

          Well we now know the US needs more than 18 UN resolutions and 3 Congressional authorizations in order to go to war. That's what Bush had for Iraq and he sure won't touch Darfur or Iran with one jot less than that.

          Good. Not because I think it's a bad idea to go into Darfur (or Iran for that matter), but because the Iraq war featured the most inept political leadership in US history. If a war is waged in my name, do it right. Overwhelming force from day one. Shoot the looters to maintain order. Write their constitution for them, and make sure it includes provisions to change it to what they want after we leave.

          In general, I have no problems with US military action. Demand tribute for freedom of the seas? Fuck you Tripoli. Blow up our ship, or cut off our Captain's ear? Fuck you Spain. Have land that would make it convinent to have a redundant intercontinental rail-line? Fuck you Mexico.

          That said, please don't make me look stupid for agreeing with you on Iraq. Neither the UN nor any Congressional acts supported us going in, certainly not with the facts the way they were. Hell, Congress even said "If the President tells us the CIA/NSA/FBI/Tweety Bird told him that X is true, he has our permission to invade." And Bush wrote back "The US Congress said in a bill '... X is true'. Therefore I have permission to invade."

          The brinksmanship had worked. The inspectors were happy with their cooperation, and Saddam sent us a 1000+ page document detailing forbidden weapons he had. I don't remember Bush Sr. bombing Moscow once they folded.

        • None of those UN resolutions, interestingly enough, actually authorized anyone to go to war.
      • Only this time, the megalomaniac will have nukes, and since he's not just a power-hungry despot but a religious fanatic, he won't be afraid to use them. How many UN resolutions do you think it will take to stop Iran's nuclear program?

        Ignoring your misunderstanding of Iran (it's a democracy that's elected itself a theocracy: "them" is more appropriate), there's a simple answer to your question:

        Zero.

        If Iran gets nukes, and uses said nuclear weapons as you suggest, there will be no more Iran. The President won't even need to go to Congress -- there are extant laws regarding USA's nuclear doctrine, and a surprise attack with a nuclear weapon will result in the world's first, and only, nuclear counterattack. (Why, exactly, do you think Israel doesn't declare its nuclear weapons? Because their real nuclear arsenal is the United States' arsenal. Same deal we have with Japan and Germany.)

        Yes, a bunch of people would die. And the face of world politics would be forever changed. But Iran knows this, the Iranian people and the Iranian government are smart, and they know that the only way they can guarantee the end of their country is to actually nuke Israel. Heck, an Iranian nuclear attack might wind up getting their entire religion declared a criminal conspiracy in the west, which would make the current post-9/11 prejudice look like a walk in the park.
        • Twelfth Imam (Score:5, Insightful)

          by CustomDesigned (250089) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:46PM (#19696979) Homepage Journal
          But Iran knows this, the Iranian people and the Iranian government are smart, and they know that the only way they can guarantee the end of their country is to actually nuke Israel.

          Shi'as believe that Muhammad al-Mahdi will reappear when the world has fallen into chaos and civil war emerges between the human race for no reason. (Twelfth Imam [wikipedia.org]) Ahmadinejad is part of an unorthodox group that believes muslims can hasten his coming by deliberately sinking the world into chaos (as opposed to "no reason"). (A nuanced discussion is here [ashbrook.org].) The publicly announced intention of Iran is to sink the world into chaos so as to usher in a new age.

          Mutually Assured Destruction does not deter such a leader, because mutual destruction is in fact his goal. The job of our government *should* be to confine the destruction to Iran as much as possible. It seems tempting to try and replace Ahmadinejad, but we always seem to screw up and make things worse with such attempts. (See Iraq.)

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by adarn (582480)
            Self fulfilling prophecies are powerful things. In case you haven't noticed, the current US leadership is predominately fundamentalist Christian and have similar nutty ideas about how the world falling into chaos (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_eschatolo g y) and a new leader coming about to usher in the dawn of a new age.

            Now, even if we discount ideas that we see in a lot of mysticism and in some interpretations of quantum theory about the observer's role in creating reality(this is slashdot, af
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            The Great Journey is near!
          • Re:Twelfth Imam (Score:5, Insightful)

            by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross AT yahoo DOT ca> on Saturday June 30, 2007 @05:57AM (#19698439)
            Here is where I disagree with you. Did you ever notice that those doing the suicide bomb trips are lower level foot soldiers? When was the last time Osama said, "hey I have an idea I will kill myself and make myself a hero that all will remember?" Answer is never! These leaders are no fools, and they speak the rhetoric for the benefit of the masses. Do you really think that the leaders of Iran want to loose power? Do you really think that the leaders are so convinced of their religion?

            Think hard about this. If you commit a suicide bombing you go to heaven and good things happen. So why would these religious leaders hesitate going to heaven? Ooops I know why because maybe they would have to give up POWER! I knew the rhetoric of Iraq was wrong because these dictators want to keep their power! They have no interest in loosing power.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by couchslug (175151)
            The religious nutcase factor is often discounted by modern people sophisticated enough to hold superstition in proper contempt.

            Wake up people! Religion is for violent, brutal simpletons who are not interested in conventional logic.
            When a persons only way to describe spiritual experience is the language of a violent, militant religion, their worldview will reflect that.
            Reformation into a spiritual talking shop took hundreds of years for Christianity, and there are still plenty of Christian "Taliban" about.
            Is
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Skreems (598317)

          Ignoring your misunderstanding of Iran (it's a democracy that's elected itself a theocracy)
          The armed takeover in 1980, and the subsequent fascist-style secret police raids against anyone who spoke out against the new leadership, would tend to disagree with you there...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jbonik (905579)
        While you are knocking Neville Chamberlain, you should consider what Churchill had to say in 1939. It's an interesting passage we could never say about our current situation in the Middle East:

        In this solemn hour it is a consolation to recall and to dwell upon our repeated efforts for peace. All have been ill-starred, but all have been faithful and sincere. This is of the highest moral value--and not only moral value, but practical value--at the present time, because the wholehearted concurrence of scores

      • by gilroy (155262) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @12:01AM (#19697277) Homepage Journal
        Blockquoth the poster:

        Running from a fight isn't always the right thing to do. And if you think Iraq is a fiasco, look at how many people died from not standing up to Hitler early enough. Hint: it's not measured in thousands, but TENS of MILLIONS.

        Actually... there is an emerging consensus among historians that Neville Chamberlain quite possibly has gotten a raw deal. Despite the video-friendly meme of returning from Munich waving the paper and saying "Peace in our time", Chamberlain had a pretty good grasp of the diplomatic and military situation. In 1938, the British rearmament had barely begun, the British people were not ready to endure a war, and -- most importantly -- the Chain Home system of radar stations had not yet been deployed. The balance of power was stacked heavily in favor of Germany but it was also clear that, with the Allies finally starting to wake up (and their economies starting to stir), that balance would increasingly tilt toward them. Chamberlain knew that. Hell, even Hitler knew that -- it's why he was pushing so hard for (limited) war in 1938 and why he flew into a rage when Chamberlain "tricked" him into a peace conference.

        So maybe the lesson from history actually is, sometimes, it's a good idea to wait out the situation. Sometimes, time really is on your side... no matter how it looks at the moment.

        Of course, the other lesson of history is, you're gonna get roasted for "appeasement".
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mythar (1085839)

        to recap: iraq was hitler. iran is hitler. anyone who speaks provocatively against the US and its allies is hitler.

        so, we better kill them before they do something totally evil, like hitler did. most importantly, do it in the name of democracy, social equality, and freedom!

        hitler.

        i like beating up 7-year-old hitlers. SHOCK AND AWE, BABY!

        hitler hitler.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Fred_A (10934)

        And if you think Iraq is a fiasco, look at how many people died from not standing up to Hitler early enough.

        Or how to compare two things that have absolutely nothing in common...

        May I submit variants that are more in touch with current political speech ?

        And if you think Iraq is a fiasco, just think of the children!
        And if you think Iraq is a fiasco, you can take a horse to the water but you can't make pigs fly!
        And if you think Iraq is a fiasco, you should see those in Rome! (uh, no that's fresco, sorry)
        And

    • by FleaPlus (6935) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:04PM (#19696759) Journal
      I'd argue that that using prediction markets like the ill-fated Policy Analysis Market [gmu.edu] work much better for predicting future events. It's really too bad that there was an kneejerk media firestorm in response to the Policy Analysis Market, which killed it off before it could even get started.
    • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:04PM (#19696761)
      ... I think this will lead to the opposite.

      "Mr. President, we found a scenario in which Iraq will become th 52nd US State, oil will flow freely, WMDs were found in Saddam's closet, and bin-Laden was found in his bedroom."
      "Excellent! Invade!"
      • Re:Personally... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by non (130182) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @12:58AM (#19697491) Homepage Journal
        this was precisely the case in Douglas Adam's Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, where WayForward's first successful software product was software that would allow you posit an outcome and then describe how you would get there. Richard MacDuff can actually tell which version of the software is in use by various agencies by which bugs are exposed via their logic. Mr Adams' particularly surreal type of science fiction is the last thing i would have expected to come true.
        • Re:Personally... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by LouisZepher (643097) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @01:28AM (#19697597)
          Then you must've missed the "psychic elevators" story about a year ago, a poorly-worded article title mentioned "Quantum computer runs faster when off" (being thought of as a Deep Thought reference, thought TFA explains that it meant "quantum off" referring to the atoms. Hell, I've often described Wikipedia to people that haven't used it as: "Wikipedia has supplanted the ordinary encyclopedia as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, thought it contains many omissions and much that is apocryphal (or at least wildly inaccurate)." There's a bunch of stuff out there *now* that fits Hitchhiker"
    • by ozmanjusri (601766) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (bob_eissua)> on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:34PM (#19696913) Journal
      There are probably a lot of people who would like to have been able to say: "Mr. President, our supercomputers say that this is a bad idea."

      Half the world was telling him that.

      He didn't pay any attention to millions of people. Why the fuck would he care what one computer predicts?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I hereby declare Ortega's Law of /., a Corollary to Godwin's law.

      As an online discussion begins on slashdot, the probability of blaming Bush for something approaches one.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by loganrapp (975327)
      Chances of subject acquiring a female companion: .01%


      I hate this fucking simulation.

  • by jockm (233372) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:24PM (#19696469) Homepage
    When he made Harsh Realm [imdb.com]?
    • by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:57PM (#19697025)

      When he made Harsh Realm [imdb.com]?
      The premise of that show doesn't even make any sense. This guy has to enter a simulation to kill a rogue general who went all Col. Kurtz in it? Well shit, isn't that guy's body sitting in a pod a few rows down? The only possible way where that sort of plot-line could work is if the world is complex enough that massive changes cannot be "hacked" into it but have to be finessed and cajoled. That would be more along the lines of Hitchiker's Guide where the grand experiment cannot be simply rebooted but has to be run out to the end and then you need the cooperation of a sentient mind within the simulation to get the final answer.

      This also hits upon a weakness in the scenario presented in the original Matrix (the sequels are dead to me). If the machines control the world, how can the rebels even exist? Forget about the logic that Agents should have reaperbot aims, they should be able to materialize 15 ton weights and anvils to drop on runners. So, why aren't they?

      The retcon I came up with makes a lot of sense. The machines are like the Japanese of the 80's, not being very good at inventing technology but very, very good at improving it. From this perspective, they never invented the matrix technology, it was probably a military application that got spun off by some start-ups to create live-in MMORPG's. Whatever the reason, the technology existed. The loading construct, the world simulation, all of this is built on top of existing code. I've not done a lot of programming but I've seen scary projects where people have no idea what parts of the code do, they just know it breaks if you touch it. It's left alone like the forest where the bogeyman lives.

      So, how did the war go? Machines fight man, man blackens the sky, mass human die-off, machines struggle to come up with a way to survive. Machines would of course have fusion power so humans are not batteries. Human brains turn out to make great parallel processors, cheaper than trying to do it in silicon. Why do they humans have whole bodies instead of just brains in jars? Because that's what the original technology was designed for and the machines were not able to figure out a way around it. So how are humans able to hack into the system? Because there are holes that even the machines can't figure out how to patch. If Windows is the most complex software project ever, just imagine what code will be like that far in the future. Why are the Agents not able to hit the humans every time they shoot? Jammer software prevents the agents from getting a good fix on where a fast-moving runner is, there's enough imprecision in what they know of as the xyz coordinates that they can miss unless they're close. Why can't the agents make anvils fall out of the sky? Because of anti-cheating code leftover from the original design. The deja vu-causing hacks are time-intensive enough to pull off and can still bug the system, thus they are of limited use. Why is the timeline set in the late 20th century? Why not the 19th century? Why not the 17th or ancient Rome? Maybe that's what the best codebase they had was designed to simulate. The movie never answered whether the entire world was simulated from pole to pole or whether it was just the city they were in. The movie never stated how the timeline was manipulated, just how far the machines ran through the world before resetting the timeline. Did they run through a five year interval and just do a memory reset for everyone in the Matrix? Did they run multiple world instances? None of these questions were answered and they probably would have bogged down the movie if they were.

      Anyway, I'm still laughing at the idea of Harsh Realm, the guy's supposed to spend a season or two hunting down a guy who should be sitting in the VR pod next to him. Reset the damn sim!
    • by plover (150551) * on Saturday June 30, 2007 @12:46AM (#19697447) Homepage Journal
      No, Gene Roddenberry was right when he made "Mirror, Mirror". We get to see George Bush and Condi Rice with moustaches and goatees.
  • by lelitsch (31136) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:25PM (#19696471)
    Where "parallel" is spelled "paralell".
    • by buswolley (591500)
      Bah.. Like that darned simulator predicted this thread.... Hey wait a second.. the simulation turns conscious when all the news reports talk about it.
  • by ktakki (64573) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:26PM (#19696477) Homepage Journal
    The downside is that the full version of this simulator will be powered by the electro-chemical activity of six billion human beings.

    Whoa.

    k.
  • W.O.P.R. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:27PM (#19696489)

    Called the Sentient World Simulation (SWS)

    They should have called it W.O.P.R.

  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:28PM (#19696497) Journal
    My virtual self would be contemplating my thoughts and actions on it's virtual self causing the entire simulation to hit an infinate spawning of threads... And lets hope I don't think if I am actually a virtual node in a computer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Saint Stephen (19450)
      I wonder if my virtual self gets laid.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by megaditto (982598)
      How do you know that you aren't a simulation for some real Joe Blow out there, hmm?
      • by jollyreaper (513215) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @12:29AM (#19697373)

        How do you know that you aren't a simulation for some real Joe Blow out there, hmm?
        I can't rocket jump. Any simulation worth running would let me rocket jump. And the cheat codes only seem to work for Republicans. That can't possibly be fair.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dissy (172727)

        How do you know that you aren't a simulation for some real Joe Blow out there, hmm?

        Chances are, you are.
        http://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html [simulation-argument.com]

        ABSTRACT
        This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a "posthuman" stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. A number of other consequences of this result are also discussed.

      • by rubycodez (864176) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @01:51AM (#19697685)
        no one would pay the energy bill for a simulation of male humans who mostly sit at their computer either posting on slashdot or downloading pr0n and wanking off. QED, you're all real.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:28PM (#19696499)
    New rule: if you can't spell, you can't smoke pot.

    Hand it over, Zonk.
  • Oh really? (Score:3, Funny)

    by TodMinuit (1026042) <todminuit@nosPAM.gmail.com> on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:28PM (#19696501)
    Anyone have a torrent for it? ThePirateBay turned up nothing.
  • by g-san (93038) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:28PM (#19696503)
    I sure hope it comes complete with options to unleash a tidal wave, hurricane, rioters, and UFOs, just to you know, see what happens.
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:31PM (#19696525)
    Fine witch side do you want?
  • by jjeffries (17675) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:33PM (#19696545)
    I do hope they get the fjords right... lovely crinkly edges...
  • and now you understand the big picture like google does :)
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:35PM (#19696555)
    the only winning move is not to play

    how about a good game of chess?

    and then move the supercomputers back to the star gate at NORAD
  • Yes, but... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Kesch (943326) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:37PM (#19696575)
    Can it win at Tic-Tac-Toe?
    • We tried that back in 2003 and it just ended up geting into a big loop and then the system overloaded taking down a big part of the us power gird with it.
  • Obl. Futurama? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by n0dna (939092)
    Fry: So, there's an infinite number of parallel universes?
    Professor: No, just the two.
    Fry: Oh, well, I'm sure that's enough.
  • by oconnorcjo (242077) * on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:42PM (#19696601) Journal
    that I survive most of the scenarios. I would hate to get a visit from the police saying my virtual self has just died some horrific death and that I should get in better shape for "just in case". :)
  • This make me think of a B sci fi movie I saw many years ago and I can not remember the title of.

    I think it was black and white. It was about a scientist who created a simulation of the world that he could watch under a microscope. As he watched history, which progressed at an accelerated rate, and a war happened he was attacked by a ghost of some kind. Just as history was to the point that he could see what would happen in the future he was attacked a final time by the ghost and had to destroy the experimen
    • Small nit, but if ghosts are involved, it's no long 'sci fi' and is now 'fantasy'.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by FrnkMit (302934)
        Actually, I think it was an Outer Limits episode (the old series). Could be "Wolf 359", but it's been ages since I've seen the series, and I'm only going by the plot synopsis on Wikipedia.

        Frank
  • Which one are we? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TechHSV (864317)
    How do we know we're not the one's being simulated?
    • How do we know we're not the one's being simulated?

      Look for optimisations in the model.

    • by vidarh (309115)
      We don't [simulation-argument.com]:

      " ABSTRACT. This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a "posthuman" stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run an

    • by Joebert (946227) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:36PM (#19696921) Homepage

      How do we know we're not the one's being simulated?

      Find the hottest female you can & grab her ass.

      If she slaps you, you'll know you're alive real quick.
      If she fucks your brains out, you'll know you're alive a little slower, but for a longer period of time.
      If you're a simulation, then you've just got away with grabbing some hotties ass.

      You can't lose.
  • So it begins. I think we already know how this will end. [imdb.com]
  • by MrSteveSD (801820) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:51PM (#19696653)

    Putting supercomputers to an innovative use, the military is simulating our planet in an effort to predict the outcome of different scenarios.


    They've been doing that for a long time with or without computers. For example, during the first gulf war, Iraq's water treatment facilities were deliberately targeted. Later the DIA assessed the effect that sanctions restricting replacement parts and vital chemicals would have on the population.

    Iraq depends on importing specialized equipment and some chemicals to purify its water supply, most of which is heavily mineralized and frequently brackish to saline. With no domestic sources of both water treatment replacement parts and some essential chemicals, Iraq will continue attempts to circumvent United Nations Sanctions to import these vital commodities. Failing to secure supplies will result in a shortage of pure drinking water for much of the population. This could lead to increased incidences, if not epidemics, of disease.


    So they accurately predicted that Iraqis would die because of the sanctions, and indeed they did, in droves. Denis Halliday who was running the humanitarian operation resigned, calling the sanctions "genocidal". His successor, Hans von Sponeck also resigned and condemned the sanctions and the effect they were having on the people.
  • Hey Joe! - WTF module did you just add? The simulation is slowing to a crawl.

    Joe: Yeah, not sure what's going on here, I just recompiled after adding the Slashdot: (Comments Module). I didn't think it would make an appreciable difference, as adding the Slashdot: (Article Reading) made no noticeable difference in performance.
  • Only needs a TRS-80 to do his simulation -- and even with that, they have to screw up the dictionary and logic packages.
  • Parallllllllel. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:57PM (#19696687)
    Just for the record, I spelled it correctly when I submitted this nugget of weirdness. I also used the sentence, "Ever wonder what sort of company gets green lit to grab a share of the free flowing gobs of taxpayer Warbux?" but my brand of editorializing is a tad left of left.

    The article seemed too dumb to be true, but guess what? The company is actually selling systems. I guess paranoia is as effective a sales tool when used on military budgeteers as it is when selling insurance to people. Better to spend a big pile of money on something which might possibly work, (unless it doesn't), rather than let somebody else maybe possibly get one up on you. Or something like that.

    I seem to recall that Dr. Who had a parallel universe simulator in one episode. Seemed like a cool idea. But I bet it wasn't trawling information from Facebook to make its updates. How many people with brown skin are you friends with who like films with explosions as reviewed on Flicker?


    -FL

  • Oh Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by E++99 (880734) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:58PM (#19696699) Homepage
    Sounds nifty. Do you think it can tell me if it's gonna rain this weekend?
    • by E++99 (880734)
      OTOH, if these people really thought they could predict mass behavior, they wouldn't be building systems for the military, they'd be predicting the stock market, and raking in the cash.
  • by amigabill (146897) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:02PM (#19696733)
    Maybe they will share with me the simulation sequence of events that finally get me laid. There could be something useful in all this!
  • by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:03PM (#19696741) Homepage
    How about a nice game of chess?

    No. I want to play thermal nuclear war!
  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:07PM (#19696781)
    For over 50 years, nobody has been able to solve the most fundamental problem in computer science: Garbage In, Garbage Out. And recent history has shown that our intelligence services currently have severe issues with Garbage In.
  • Ancestor Simulations are supposed to take info from the past to see how we arrived at the present.

    Joking aside, this would indeed seem to be an early version of an Ancestor-Simluation. Which would appear to imply that we are living in computers ourselves [simulation-argument.com], since even now we are trying to run such simulations. And that opens up a really big can of worms:

    Are simulated universes nested recursively? To what extent? Do they regress forever? Do "higher up" simulators judge and/or interact with their simulati
  • Home is the Hangman (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Samrobb (12731) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:22PM (#19696855) Homepage Journal

    Don operates the second-largest detective agency in the world, and he sometimes finds me useful because I do not exist. I do not exist now because I existed once at the time and the place where we attempted to begin scoring the wild ditty of our times. I refer to the World Central Data bank project and the fact that I had a significant part in that effort to construct a working model of the real world, accounting for everyone and everything in it. How well we succeeded, and whether possession of the world's likeness does indeed provide its custodians with a greater measure of control over its functions, are questions my former colleagues still debate as the music grows more shrill and you can't see the maps for the pins. I made my decision back then and saw to it I did not receive citizenship in that second world, a place that may now have become more important than the first.

    -- Roger Zelazny, "Home is the Hangman" (1975)

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:40PM (#19696953)
    Over 100 posts and no one yet asking what it would be like to have a Beowulf cluster of parallel earths? In this topic, it's actually almost funny. But there's probably a goatse in here somewhere, I trust the trolls enough for that.
  • by sam_paris (919837) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:42PM (#19696965)
    I have an AI background so I have some sort of an understanding of this and as far as i'm concerned, with the current computing power available it's simply impossible to "simulate the world" to any degree of accuracy. There are too many unknown variables.

    Currently some of the most powerful super computers are devoted to predicting JUST the weather yet they still can't get it particularly accurate, especially if you try and predict the weather greater than 7 days in advance. If we can't predict the weather, what makes us think we can predict the world??? Especially years in advance. It's a ridiculous notion.

    Another good example is the chinese board game "Go" [wikipedia.org]. The best computer players are only as good as good amateur human players. This is due to the high branching factor of the game. The area of the board is very large (more than five times the size of a chess board) and the number of legal moves rarely go below 50 (compare chess, where the average number of moves is 37). Throughout most of the game the number of legal moves stay at around 150-250 per turn (from Wikipedia).

    My point is, the world is a bloody complex system and for current technology, essentially impossible. Take into account: The random vagaries of the human mind, the climate, the weather, the earths complex geology, natural disasters, evolution (new bacterium evolves - wipes out humanity), the animal kingdom (random malarial mosquito bites world leader), genetics (two people have sex, produce next Hitler).

    I could go one but I think my point is made..
  • by Tony (765) on Friday June 29, 2007 @11:13PM (#19697097) Journal
    Funny thing is, *we're* just nodes in a full geosociopolitical simulation of the earth, for the masters of the *real* earth.

    I wonder if, inside the Pentagon's simulator, they're building a simulator. If not, it's not a complete simulation, is it? So it isn't accurate, is it?

    Oh, I thought not.

    Amateurs.
  • Junk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jormundgard (260749) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @04:30AM (#19698203)
    Anyone who believes that this can produce remotely useful results has a lot to learn about computer modeling.
  • by Kap'n Koflach (753995) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @04:32AM (#19698209)
    The DoD aren't running a real time simulation of the world at the level of individual people. What they can in fact do is analyse broad political and social trends at a fairly coarse 'crowd' level to support the fine grained simulations used to model combat. The simulation might for example show changes in allegiance of Afghan villagers over time depending on how many times they are bombed / given food by NATO troops. The models could support pre-deployment training - e.g. a commnder submits his military plans before he deploys to theatre, the analysts run the sim and then say whether or not his proposed plan will make the locals more or less hostile to his forces, and perhaps suggest hotspot locations where direct conflict can be expected. No commander worth his salt would rely on any of this as an actual prediction of real events, and would be sacked were he to do so.

    The behaviours of actual individuals are subsumed into the larger crowds, although 'warlord' style individuals may be represented from a political perspective. The emphasis is on trends, not predictions of actual individual actions. A good analogy for this is Psychohistory in Asimov's early Foundation novels - and the current sims fall a long way short of the predictive power available to Hari Seldon.

"Free markets select for winning solutions." -- Eric S. Raymond

Working...