Monday, August 20, 2007

Jeff Han and the Future of Parallel Programming

Forget computer languages and keyboards. I have seen the future of computer programming and this is it. The computer industry is on the verge of a new revolution. The old algorithmic software model has reached the end of its usefulness and is about to be replaced; kicking and screaming, if need be. Programming is going parallel and Jeff Han’s multi-touch screen interface technology is going to help make it happen. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that Han’s technology is the perfect interface for the COSA programming model. COSA is about plug-compatible objects connected to other plug-compatible objects. Just drag 'em and drop 'em. What better way is there to compose, manipulate and move objects around than Han’s touch screen interface?

This COSA component that I drew years ago looks painfully primitive compared to Han's images but I can imagine a bunch of COSA cells and components being morphed into really cool 3-D objects that can be easily rotated, opened or moved around on a multi-touch screen. A complex COSA program could be navigated through as one would navigate in a first-person 3-D video game. The COSA programmer could jump inside the program and look at the cells firing, not entirely unlike what it would look like moving through a maze of firing neurons inside the human brain. Add a speech interface and eliminate the keyboard altogether. I never liked keyboards anyway. The computer will not come of age until keyboards (a relic from the eighteenth century) go the way of the slide rule. This is exciting.

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