NC State University

Department of Computer Science Colloquia 2003-2004

Date:   Thursday, January 15, 2004
Time:   Room 402A, Withers, NCSU Historical Campus
Place:   4:00 PM (Talk) (click for courtesy parking request)

Speaker:   David A. Smith ,

Croquet: A Collaboration System Architecture

Abstract:   Croquet was built to answer a simple question. If we were to create a new operating system and user interface knowing what we know today, how far could we go. What kinds of decisions would we make that we might have been unable to even consider 20 or 30 years ago, when the current operating systems were first created.

Croquet is a computer software architecture built from the ground up with a focus on deep collaboration between teams of users. It is a totally open, free, highly portable extension to the Squeak programming system. Croquet is a complete development and delivery platform for doing real collaborative work. There is no distinction between the user environment and the development environment. Although the system is built in Squeak Smalltalk, it also currently supports Python and JavaScript.

Croquet is a joint project being developed by David A. Smith, Alan Kay (father of the personal computer), David P. Reed (co-inventor of the Internet end-to-end argument and co-developer of TCP/IP), and Andreas Raab. The seminar will focus on a discussion of the architecture and a realtime demonstration of the system.

Short Bio:   David has been focused on interactive 3D and using 3D as a basis for new user environments and entertainment for almost twenty years. He created "The Colony", the very first 3D interactive game and precursor to today's "first person shooters" like Quake... except Colony ran on a Macintosh in 1987. "The Colony" won the "Best Adventure Game of the Year" award from MacWorld Magazine.

In 1989, David used the technologies developed for the game to create a virtual set and virtual camera system that was used by Jim Cameron for the movie "The Abyss". Based upon this experience, David founded Virtus Corporation in 1990 and developed Virtus Walkthrough, the first real-time 3D design application for personal computers. Walkthrough won the very first "Breakthrough Product of the Year" from MacUser Magazine.

The Croquet project is the culmination of David's work on 3D component-based architectures for the development and deployment of complex peer-to-peer environments including interactive entertainment. His first experiments in multi-user systems and interactive environments laid the groundwork for much of the architecture and user interface of Croquet.

David co-founded Red Storm Entertainment with Tom Clancy, and Timeline Computer Entertainment with Michael Crichton. He also co-founded Neomar, a wireless enterprise infrastructure company.

Host:   Edward Gehringer, Computer Science, NCSU

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