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P2P Goes To War
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P2P and Web Services Speaker

Michael Macedonia is a featured speaker at the O'Reilly Conference on Peer to Peer and Web Services, Sept. 18th-21 in Washingtonl, D.C.


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Comment on this articleMichael Macedonia says that peer-to-peer technology can help the military build less expensive and more effective training simulators. Does that change the way you view your flight simulator?
Post your comments

Koman: So you can imagine a military simulation of a three-week-long engagement?



Macedonia: Right.

Koman: And you mentioned at early in our conversation that some theme parks were interested in some of the work you're doing. I'm wondering if military technology is driving the entertainment industry, or vice versa, or whether there's sort of a 50-50.

Macedonia: I don't know. That's a good question. Frankly, to a large extent it's the commercial world driving what we're doing. I mean Microsoft will spend 2 billion dollars on the XBox, and I think 500 million of that is on marketing. The entire Army budget for research and development this year is $1.6 billion. So Microsoft is spending more money on a game console than the Army is spending on basic and applied research. So we're in a dilemma here. We can't outspend Microsoft.


P2P and Web Services Speaker

Michael Macedonia is a featured speaker at the O'Reilly Conference on Peer to Peer and Web Services, Nov. 5-8 in Washington, D.C.


Related Articles:

The Great Rewiring

Next Step for P2P? Open Services

Convergence of Peer and Web Services

O'Reilly P2P and Web Services Conference: Program Chair's Best Bets

 

Comment on this articleMichael Macedonia says that peer-to-peer technology can help the military build less expensive and more effective training simulators. Does that change the way you view your flight simulator?
Post your comments

So in a sense the advancements in the technology is mostly coming from the commercial sector. For example, in processor capabilities, in storage, in memory, in computer graphics--that's all in the commercial domain. Now in AI it's a different story. We have certain niches that essentially are complementary. Now the game community is becoming interested in artificial intelligence. We've been funding a lot of programs and have been a leader in that area for a long time, for a variety of reasons. But they're niche technologies related to simulation and training.

Koman: I read about the Intel Pentium 4 yesterday, coming out with a 2GHz processor next week, but the architecture is designed to scale out to 10GHz.

Macedonia: I don't know when they'll hit 10GHz. I presume probably in the 2006 time frame, or 2007. Don't ask the military to go develop a custom processor anymore; we're just going to watch Intel punch out this processor.

Koman: Back to peer-to-peer--does it seem ironic at all that you're applying some of the concepts that come from some of these services that are fairly subversive, at least as far as the recording industry is concerned. You know, Napster-style ideas applied to military technology.

Macedonia: I don't think it's subversive. The only interesting thing about Napster was that they came up with a really good scheme for sharing music. I mean this subversive thing is just in terms of the way that the RIAA or the MPAA looks at this technology and sees it as a threat to IP rights.

Koman: One does have a sense that the military is a top-down command sort of enterprise, and you're talking about a decentralized way of communicating information and of creating simulations.

Macedonia: Well, in a sense, but this picture of this monolithic hierarchy in the military is about the biggest mistake most people make. Because the reality is that in terms of information technology, it's very diffused within the military. In fact, from one standpoint, you'd say the Navy Marine Corps Internet Project.

One of the problems that the military's had for the last couple of years has been trying to consolidate MIS resources because everybody out there has been able to go out and buy their own computers and networks and set up shops all around. The Army's now going to something called Army Knowledge Online, and they're centralizing the funding for computers, networking, and MIS management. They're not necessarily centralizing the operation, I think that'll be the next step. They're trying to come up with an AOL-like model for the Army, for computing. But the reality is that we're part of this global infrastructure. The same networks that civilians use to send Internet traffic, the military is buying time off of too.

So we're using the same satellites, the same technologies, and in general the same networks. We lease stuff from the major telcos. The history of communications has always been about control. But who really has control over all that fiber in the ground and more fiber eventually to go into the ground, with wireless, etc.? Every MIS shop in the commercial world as well as in the military world is trying to establish some level of control. But how much control can you have when everybody is basically operating five or six devices?

Koman: Right. Each individual has a substantial amount of computing power at their personal control.

Macedonia: Now, AOL probably has more control than anybody else. But I think the key question for me, and what we're trying to answer at STRICOM is not who controls information, but how to use the technology most appropriately to ensure that our soldiers have the best training available. And that's the bottom line for us.

Koman: Right. So, bottom line, applying peer-to-peer to military simulation is improving the quality of the simulation.

Macedonia: And improving training.

Koman: And saving lives?

Macedonia: And saving lives. Exactly.

Register now for O'Reilly's Peer-to-Peer and Web Services Conference and hear Michael Macedonia's talk about Network-Centric Warfare.


Richard Koman is a freelancer writer and editor based in Sonoma County, California. He works on SiliconValleyWatcher, ZDNet blogs, and is a regular contributor to the O'Reilly Network.





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