Toomre Capital Markets LLC

Real-Time Capital Markets -- Analytics, Visualization, Event Processing, and Intelligence

Web 3.1: Real Time Enterprise Internet Presence

Between Twitter messages about SXSW, video streams and online text chats about Freedom to Connect, Blogging the Libby Trial, and preparing for theNew England News Forum, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the Internet and I want to share some of these thoughts in terms of the financial services industry as well as a broader context.

Web 2.0 has already gone from the hot new thing to the Web 2.0 bubble and people are now talking about Web 3.0, the semantic web. I had been talking about my visions of Web 3.0, which are a bit different, and since the marketers have taken Web 3.0, I’ll take Web 3.1.

Yes, the tools that are predicted to make up the semantic web, which will mine and connect data sound very cool and I look forward to using them. As Lars noted the other day, Dow Jones is Introducing Elementized News Feeds for Quantitative Algorithms. The ability to take this information, mash it up with a market data feed, data about positions and trading strategies and any other information that can found is a good illustration of the sort of data mining and analysis that will make Web 3.0 very cool.

Yet there is more to this than simply mashing up data. More and more, the data is becoming real-time. The Twitter messages are coming in as instant messages or text messages, as well as updates to webpages and RSS feeds. Chats, like those that took place on the backchannel for the Freedom to Connect conference are content rich real time data, and many people wanted information coming out of the Federal Courthouse in Washington in as near real time as possible.

Beyond that, the data we are getting over the Internet is coming in richer and richer formats, the video stream from Freedom to Connect, or the complex streams from Second Life, which can include audio, video, 3D animations, and who knows what next. These feeds in Second Life are continuing to evolve. Last week I spent some time beta testing the new 3D audio connection. The audio allows any user of Second Life to speak into their microphones and people in Second Life will hear the sounds, adjusted for where the talker is relative to the listener, shifting from one speaker to another and fading in or getting stronger based on how close the talker is. There is a lot of data in these feeds that are hard to parse, elementize and feed into other systems.

From the Freedom to Connect conference I also found out about Open Croquet. It is a 3D space built using Squeak. Squeak is an open source implementation of SmallTalk. At first glance, Open Croquet might look like an open source version of Second Life. Yet reading more closely, it is interesting to note that a key underlying concept is the replication of computation.

Croquet’s treatment of distributed computation assumes a truly large scale distributed computing platform, consisting of heterogeneous computing devices distributed throughout a planet-scale communications network. Applications are expected to span machines and involve many users. In contrast with the more traditional architectures we grew up with, Croquet incorporates replication of computation (both objects and activity), and the idea of active shared subspaces in its basic interpreter model. More traditional distributed systems replicate data, but try very hard not to replicate computation.

(Emphasis added.)

It is hard to tell what sort of role Open Croquet will take in the evolution of the Internet, but the, but whether it comes from Open Croquet or other sources, the idea of replicated computation is likely to remain a factor.

As we move to a real time internet, where the media being distributed is much more than just text, including audio, video, 3D animations, computations and so on, the difficulties of mining and connecting data will compound rapidly. System which provide real time processing of events, like Streambase, Cora8, and Apama may become key components of a Web 3.1 architecture, but they may have some difficult enhancements to develop to get there and some very smart thinking to figure out how to take advantage of it.