Snippet: Where Science and Art Meet – The Internet “Universe” Frozen in Time

San Diego Supercomputer Center image of the Internet Universe frozen in time. Image credit: UCSD. Souce:

This striking image has been created by tracking the round-trip times of data packets sent from a web site in Virginia to thousands of nodes around the World Wide Web. Using a new technique, this visualization method (3D “hyperbolic geometry”) allows the viewer to analyse large amounts of data mapped around a sphere. Not only does it give an insight to where data travels around the Internet – like an electronic dye highlighting the route packets of data take – it has also become a work of art…

The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York is currently exhibiting the dramatic changes our society has undergone due to advances in design, technology and science. Among the largest contributors to revolutionary change in society and individuals is the dissemination of information, namely the sharing of electronic data. The fastest growing and most influential medium by which data can be shared is via the Internet, and many believe that the current design of the Internet will develop and continue to revolutionize how we communicate and develop as a species.

Taking experimental data from the University of California, San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), a new technique of visualizing the “Internet Universe” has been made possible. Mapping the data onto a sphere, following the transit times for data packets going to and from a single web site demonstrates just how complex the World Wide Web truly is.

Personally, I find many patterns of physical complexity to be scientifically “artistic”, and it would seem the MOMA exhibit agrees… Art with a scientific meaning.

Original source: Design and the Elastic Mind at the MoMA, New York.

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