May The Farce Be With You

For many, online distribution of high-def video and audio is the Next Big Thing. There's just one small thing impeding the flood of content—bandwidth. An incredible solution to this problem was quietly demonstrated at CES this year by a company called R2D2 ("Twice the Research, Twice the Development"). Founded by hippie love child Leia Organic Skydancer, R2D2 has developed what it calls Hypernet, a system that bypasses the Internet completely, offering nearly unlimited bandwidth and instantaneous transmissions using the principles of quantum physics.

Hypernet uses quantum computers, which were first conceived when it became clear that electronic miniaturization could not continue forever. Several physicists have started to consider what will happen if the individual elements within an integrated circuit were single atoms or even subatomic particles, which led to the concept of the quantum computer. In such a machine, the principles of quantum physics, especially the idea of parallel universes, would affect the computational process. In particular, this could increase the speed of computation immensely, because it would occur in many parallel universes simultaneously.

These ideas inspired Skydancer to develop a prototype machine she calls a hypercomputer. The processing speed is measured in yottahertz, which is equal to a thousand million million gigahertz, thanks to the massively parallel processing made possible by quantum computing.

To bypass the bottleneck of the Internet, Skydancer needed a new form of telecommunication, and quantum physics provides an answer here, too. It has been known for some time that the law of energy conservation is violated for brief moments in the intergalactic void, where particle density is quite low. Under these conditions, photons and other subatomic particles wink into and out of existence, creating a momentary, virtual electromagnetic field. Cosmologists call this the zero-point quantum field because it occurs at temperatures near absolute zero, which R2D2 engineers refer to as "luke warm."

Skydancer discovered that these virtual photons allow instantaneous communication via the "metaverse" from which they come and to which they return, because the speed-of-light limit doesn't apply there. She then invented a quantum modem that sends data through this metaverse by modulating and demodulating the virtual photons. With this device, every hypercomputer can be directly connected to every other hypercomputer simultaneously. Servers are no longer necessary—every hypercomputer is its own server.

As mentioned earlier, Hypernet accommodates essentially infinite bandwidth, which supports an almost unlimited number of simultaneous, uncompressed audio and video streams. To hold such vast amounts of data, Skydancer developed the hyperdrive, which uses quantum principles to hold thousands of yottabytes in a physical package the size of a Star Wars action figure. (The hyperdrive pictured above also includes a projector to display the video content it holds.) She then wrote some new real-time graphics and audio software in Java called Hyper Utilization Transfer Technology (HUTT).

The CES demo included full-motion, real-time, high-def video of several musicians at different physical locations jamming together. Each one was in a separate window on the screen with none of the herky-jerky effect and low resolution that we've come to expect from current technology. (The musicians looked a bit bleary from playing all night at a seedy dive in Mos Eisley. When one of them began improvising on an unfamiliar instrument, our host explained that it was a han solo.) Then, Skydancer logged onto a prototype hypersite, selected a 100GB video clip, and downloaded it in under a second.

With capabilities like this, Hypernet is bound to replace the old, clunky Internet as quantum computers and modems become widely available. Until then, may the farce be with you!

If you have an audio/video question for me, please send it to scott.wilkinson@sorc.com.

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