Al-Jwarizmi is a new generation prototype for realtime communication-creation over free networks based on horizontal relations between agents taking part in it.
How does it work?
In production mode, al-Jwarizmi works as a multiuser platform, offering double action : transmission-reception over data sinergy. The user-operator acts thus partly as creator and partly as investigator, getting to share a global flow of autoreferenced data. al-Jwarizmi grows on top of on an infrastructure of (tele-)communications and Internet servers or other type of nodes on one hand, and by means of an interface of modular free-software/open-source based applications and simultaneous translation assistant bots on the other hand. Multiuser-platform operators, networking infrastructures, interfaces and free software are the elements that take part in al-Jwarizmi.
What is an algorithm?
Definition: Repetitive method for solving problems. Codified sequence of instructions for manipulation of symbols. An algorithm generates an "algorithmic process", intentionally designed or not (being the last a reason for which the hypothesis about the natural selection or the intellectual activity becoming algorithmic processes). In general, the process consists of obedience to a unique structure, graft (branched?), recursive or iterative, that it is developed in serial/parallel, with necessary routines and subroutines that are called to the being (upon requirement?). It's being discussed if the intellectual process of understanding the reality is an algorthmic process or it surpasses (Roger Penrose's standing). Algorithms are sometimes compared to artificial neural networks, although these last ones learning is made through algorithms.
Why this name for the project? Why an arab word?
At first the name was chosen from the arab mathematician from the IX century who presented/displayed this type of formalized calculations in his texts. In second term and yet most important, to settle a techno-cultural collaboration bridge from the beginning with the arab world, towards understanding and refusing imposed belicist logic for civilizations clash.
What is Pure Data?
Pure Data (also known as PD) is a visual (also known as "graphical") programming environment which was firstly thought and coded to work as a realtime sound modelling tool. It can be reffered to as a programming language in itself, in which the program is made by boxes with names or values (text strings, numbers, symbols) which represent different functions, and wired (as wireless) connections hooking them together. Some of this boxes are called objects, which represent numerous C/C++ functions as named rectangles which process the flow of data in its various types: strings, audio, video, integers, bangs (like triggers). From basic mathematical functions to complex image/sound processing, mixing, streaming, synthesis, recording, and a fast growing list. There are two main types of objects: internals and externals. As the friendly names suggest, internals are called the ones which make part of the core PD package, while externals are contributions by international free software coders who distribute them seperately (kind of plugins). It is easy to create PD externals for a C/C++ programmer, and there is plenty of documentation, how-to's, examples, and a fast growing global community of users and developers.
What is a visual programming environment?
It is basically a program which helps you make other programs through a graphical environment (or graphical user interface) with its own coding language. It is the contrary to non-visual programming which consist of text (typed) code.
What is a patch?
The programs and files created inside PD which usually consist of one or more objects are called patches.
What does it mean "streaming"?
Streaming comes from the word stream. Like a little river or water flow coming fast down a hill. In the cyber world it usually means an audio/video transmission across computer networks including the Internet which can be received/picked from any other interconnected nodes.
Does this have something to do with the television?
Just in terms that both are audiovisual flows. But the question brings to reflection: is the television, nowadays, a failed cultural project? Can it still be kept raised the permanence of centralized systems for creation-transmission? Will the open-source revolution reach the television world? al-Jwarizmi studies the activation of a live stream (audio-video channel over the Internet) of decentralized, multilingual distributed production focused on the Madiaq / Straights of Gibraltar geo-border: about migrations and information society.
Which levels is al-Jwarizmi composed of?
The project proposes four levels or layers of investigation and management.
In the first place there is the most abstract layer: the use of free software. What we denominated the ai-logic layer. The algorithm as an open and universal concept taken to the point in which the applications that are derived from its implementation are also shared, optimized and transformed along a global multiple-interests community. In this respect, our investigation will be centered in the completion and normalization (stabilization) for the multimedia package Pure Data to include it as a member package into yet undefined linux distribution. Thus the user will have just by click the multimedia engine on top of which al-Jwarizmi works.
In second term, our work will be focused on al-Jwarizmi's network layer management, composed by the servers which will be put into operation during the period of investigation and development and on top of which public resources required by the system will be built for data exchange, information storage, operators interconnection, and as most important: keep alive a multimedia flow. This will enable operators to send and receive data in realtime to and from these permanent nodes at whichever time and from whichever, somehow networked, location.
On the nodes, as well, operating systems based on free software will be set up, and free multimedia formats will be used to support the al-Jwarizmi's flow engine: GNU/Linux + Pure Data.
Third layer: the user-operator interface which enables to collaborate in al-Jwarizmi. There will be several types of interfaces and helpers. The most basic interface will consist of an application for realtime multimedia stream reception/transmission from/to al-Jwarizmi's global flow; an application for realtime text translation from the live flow; and an application for the network contents management: this is gollum.
These applications are called patches, and they will be developed with Pure Data environment.
PD modularity will allow the type of patches, and the functionality they will provide, to grow based on the given use for each of them plus required interaction with other modules. Their possible combinations will be at everyone's hand since they will be shared on public databases specifically designed for that purpose. It will be a matter of just one click to download a series of patches from the network to add new features not included on the original distribution. One of the technical challenges of the project is to achieve stable compatibility between the software installed on the servers, the package to be included into any Linux distribution, the file formats that will be used, and the scalability of the system.
Operator: fourth layer and creative/emitting agent; algorithms constructor. Over PD engine and through the interfaces, the operator will naturally develop his own algorithms for multimedia signals processing and redistribution. Here is the intellectual challenge of the project: the elaboration of new routines for communication based on a distributed competence platform. The operator decides the level of immersion into the information flow and his/her creative and receptive level of implication. It constructs self relation with the environment. For that matter our work will consist in the development of a series of algorithms that will be represented in patches and additional software development and which will constitute the minimum algorithmic base, necessary to start up al-Jwarizmi. As well, and by means of the several programmed virtual and non-virtual events, the tool will be promoted and serve as technical support translator agent for the project. al-Jwarizmi testers will be measuring the project beat project during all the development phase. Multiuser-platforms operators, networking infrastructures, interfaces and free software are the elements that take part in al-Jwarizmi.
Which applications does it have?
Eventually, we could speak about a weekly audio and video program produced from Seville, Malaga, Tenerife, Tanger and Barcelona giving coverage to migration and culture. Or about a system to broadcast events from international meetings as is the European Social Forum or WSIS.