This is very interesting news in itself, and perhaps an early sign of a broader trend to come: last week, scientists and futurists with Intel's Research@Intel division announced the beta launch of ScienceSim, which "enables customizable physics, optimizations to achieve better scalability, and can serve as a testbed for data visualization and control for science experiments like fusion reactions, biomedical applications, geophysical, intelligence analysis." Researchers with the major chip manufacturer created this to develop material for the Supercomputing 2009 conference, where they hope to demonstrate the potential of the 3D Internet.
Intel has been a longtime supporter of Second Life, and in 2007 created an Intel® Dev Zone there; so why not do this project in SL?
While admiring the experience it provided, Intel senior business strategist John Hengeveld explains, "I kept running into artificial barriers limiting how immersive this experience could be. Only a certain number of people in an area at a time, or lagatosis, physics that wasn’t, etc." Which eventually led to OpenSim and ScienceSim, first example of "a turnkey kit" Intel developers created for companies and researchers to use for developing "specific applications in virtual worlds, data visualization and analysis." This Intel solution will likely lead to direct competition with the configurable, "behind the firewall" sims that Linden developers are currently working on. (Which last I heard, is still in Alpha.)
Anyway, here's all the instructions for checking out ScienceSim for yourself. If you visit, do report back here. Hat tip on this project goes to my colleague RightAsRain Rimbaud of Rezzable, who has some thoughts on it here, including this salient point that Intel's OpenSim work fits in with the company's "immersive connected experience" initiative. "The more you need strong chips," notes Rimbaud, "the more we all need Intel's stuff." Image credit:blogs.intel.com.