Thursday, October 21, 2004

WOPR Comes to Life

Those of you who are old enough will remember the movie "War Games," one of the first movies to give geeky guys who like computers the idea that they could some day get a date with a real, live woman. It also gave them the mistaken impression that the way to do this was by impressing her with how much you know about computers, but we all know better than to take dating advice from Hollywood, right?

The other part of this movie revolves around a computer (complete with flashing lights on the front) called WOPR that runs military simulations of potential conflicts. According to this article in Wired, yet another part of science fiction has become reality.

This simulator allows the military to model a city controlled by hostile forces and determine how to shut down and contain those forces, while also modelling the effect of actions on the civilian populace. (Gosh, I wonder what conflict inspired this direction of research?)

Although this beats the hell out of "The Sims", it looks like it won't be coming to Fry's any time soon -- the program runs on a Linux-based supercomputer. In that part, at least, SciFi was true to form.

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