Saturday, May 12, 2012

Scanning Limitations of Technology

Scanning Limitations of Technology

I was doing some back-of-the-envelope calculations with regards to scanning. So TL10 is 10,000 times better processing than our own computers to weight in TL8. Still, the scanning area of ships are incredible. I was imagining a ship entering a system in the default of 5AU from final destination in Traveller and i was wondered what was the base sq area of a cone with the height of the diameter of the entire system and with a arc of 90 degrees.

One can imagine that it needs more than 10,000 more processing power than a server cluster/ data cabinet worth of computers if you consider that every object in that volume of the cone has to be tracked second by second, identified, updated, analyzed for threats, and etc.

In fact, if you consider the 20min turn in GT space combat with the processing power of what may be a mainframe with 500k passmarks x 10k or 5B passmarks the best resolution would probably be 3-20 min updates. Each object is given a probability halo just to compensate for the slow processing.

I begin to see the proficiency in manipulating this in a different light. I realize statistics and programming is PART of the standard skillset of a sensor officer, particularly sub fields and formulas specific to scanning operating systems. These operators master how to optimize their machines through the gestalt of these skills, natural affinity or augmentation.

Transhuman terrans with their cyber augmentations can specialized and optimize themselves for these tasks. As for Vilani, i think castes specific to ship operation and their family backgrounds give them genetic and early learning advantage. I think i should start considering family / eugenic lines for vilani professionals and their castes.

Ill maybe have to make my professional templates Talent packages for vilani. Ill have to figure out how to add that in the char gen process.

Oh and i also forgot to mention how this data mess is great for stealth tech. If you dont know where to start, even with the inefficiencies of stealth tech there is just so much crap to sort through.

Another mental comparison is how sparse the data we get now, even if you increase what we can process in a day 10,000 times it not enough considering ships that enter systems have to work. There is a serious hard limit by which we can process data in a system, even if we work with maps and high density data compression.


Ken Burnside said...

You will quickly be able to filter most of the objects into "things I need to scan for" and "things I can ignore."

1) If it's not hot, it's not a threat.

2) If it's hot and not applying thrust, it's not a threat.

3) If it's within about 1 steradian of the heading we're applying thrust to, it's worth examining more closely even if it's not hot.

justin aquino said...

Thanks Ken,
How do you think the rate of data update is going to be like? How would it be like as compared to a computer game 30-70FPS on an Xbox or PS3?

Sorry for the poor comparison, I'm like re-imagining Lost's fleets narrative of the data update when they entered a system.

Also I realize if a fleet entered a system, their computers gestalt would have a much greater Data processing and validation rate than a simple commercial merchant ship.

How would you go about adding more processing power or scanning power in something like GT?

Philo Pharynx said...

Thinking about it as scanning a volume is misleading. The image they get is a curved 2d surface with depth into. Imagine it as a series of beams that radiate out and bounce back. The number of beams is based on the resultion of the sensor. You only need to process the first object each beam hits. This also means you get more resolution for nearer objects and you find out about them sooner (assuming these scanners don't have some way of scanning faster than light.)