Yu Yuan about building a continuous virtual world

Although tech giants including metaAnd MicrosoftAnd nvidia Investing billions of dollars in metaverse development, however, is still little more than a fantasy. Achieving this will likely require breakthroughs in a range of sectors such as storage, modeling, and connectivity.

To stimulate progress in the development of those technologies, a IEEE Standards Association Release Continuous Computing for the Metaverse Initiative. as part of IEEE Industry Communications Programwill bring together experts from both industry and academia to help map out the innovations needed to make the metaverse a reality.

While there are disparate virtual reality experiences today, the metaverse represents a vision of an interconnected, ever-running virtual world that can host thousands, if not millions, of people simultaneously. The ultimate goal is for the virtual world to become so real that it is almost indistinguishable from the real world.

He says today’s technology is still a long way from achieving this Yu YuanPresident of the IEEE Standards Association. Institute I spoke with Yuan to learn more about the initiative and the main challenges that must be overcome. His answers have been edited for clarity.

Institute: What is persistent computing?

Yu Yuan: I’ve been working in virtual reality and multimedia for over 20 years, and I’ve never called my job Metaverse. after Metaverse It became such a buzzword, I asked myself, “What’s the difference between the metaverse and VR?” My answer is: persistence, or the ability to leave traces in a virtual world.

continuous computing Refers to the combination of all technologies needed to support the development and operation of a permanent virtual world. In other words, metaverse. There are different types of VR experiences, but many of them are one-time events. Similar to how video games work, every time a user logs in, the entire virtual world is reset. But users in the metaverse can leave traces. For example, they can permanently change the virtual world by destroying a wall or building a new house. These changes must be long lasting in order for there to be a meaningful virtual society or a meaningful economy in this virtual world.

What are the essential components required to make persistent computing possible?

yuan: The first is storage. In most video games today, users can destroy a building, only to restore it the next time the user logs into the game. But in the persistent virtual world, the current state of the virtual world must be stored continuously. Users can create or destroy something in this world and the next time they log in those changes will still be there. These types of things need to be stored properly – which means that a very large amount of data needs to be stored.

It is also important to support persistence from a modeling perspective because, as we can imagine, people will demand higher and higher quality experiences. To do that, we need greater scale in the future as well as resolution of detail, or more detail, to make these virtual objects and environments more realistic.

“The metaverse is really a long-term vision. We may need another 15 to 20 years, or even more, to make that happen.”

It also requires technology to support the upgrade of the virtual world on the go. For example, let’s say the building block of your virtual world will be at the brick level, but later, along with the advancement of technologies, we may be able to move that level of detail down to the grains of sand.

Along with this upgrade, buildings created by users before must be maintained. This raises some challenges, such as: How can we support uninterrupted modeling and operation of virtual worlds, and provide continuous experiences for users?

You say you need more storage space to keep all the information. But does this just mean stronger memory techniques, or is it more complex than that?

yuan: A larger storage capacity and lower power consumption would be necessary. This could also be a significant factor, since some people worry that the metaverse will consume too much energy, making the whole thing unsustainable. But we also need to address some other issues.

Let’s say the ultimate goal of the metaverse is to be able to create virtual universes that are indistinguishable from the real physical universe. In order to simulate and store, say, a million virtual atoms, how many physical atoms do we need? This is ultimately one of the questions we need to answer in terms of linking the universe of atoms to the universe of bits. We’ll hit a wall in terms of how many physical atoms we need to create an equal or greater number of virtual atoms. This requires not only innovations in storage, computation, and communication technologies in general, but also some specific innovations in modeling and engines specifically for metaverses. It may be some data compression technology, but this is just one of the directions we need to explore.

I think connections are just as important. Most people think the metaverse means a lot of users — which means we’ll definitely need innovations in communications to support massive user experiences in real time. If we’re talking about supporting a million users in a virtual city, we definitely need some disruptive innovation from a communications perspective. This is also an integral part of continuous computing.

How will the problems you identified be resolved?

yuan: This is part of the Metaverse Initiative’s ongoing computing mission. It serves as a platform for sharing information and discussions about the gaps in current current technologies.

We probably already have most of the technologies, but we just need to find a way to combine them together. Or maybe there are gaps where we need to do research and development in some sub-field of the technology. Through this gap analysis, we will know what other innovations are needed – which can provide some direction for academia and industry.

The initiative plans to host events, publish white papers with their findings, and propose new standards.

Much of the development in the space happens internally in companies. Is there a desire for collaboration, or is there a danger that everyone is racing to create walled gardens?

yuan: I wouldn’t say it’s dangerous, but I don’t think it’s effective. This is why I believe standards will play a leading role to help pave the way for metaverses. We need to develop standards to identify gaps and create roadmaps for the industry. The industry will then have some basis for discussion and how we can work together to achieve this. Working together is also important so that companies do not reinvent wheels at different silos.

I believe the metaverse will have a profound impact on all industries.

Are there too many of that kind of pie in the sky right now? Are we still far from continuous virtual worlds?

yuan: The metaverse is really a long term vision. We may need another 15 to 20 years, or even longer, to make this happen. I believe the metaverse should be indistinguishable from our current universe, and in order to do that we need to tackle several grand challenges. Some of these methods include how to create a permanent virtual world and how to make our perception realistic enough. Currently we are using XR [extended reality] hardware, but ultimately we may need brain-machine interface innovations or neural interface technologies to be able to comprehensively control the interface between our consciousness and the virtual world. But along with this long-term development, there are also initial incarnations of metaverses that can be beneficial and generate value for industry and consumers.

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