Inside a Google Data Center
[Click on images to view at higher resolution on source sites.]
They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It’s not a truck. It’s a series of tubes.
—Ted Stevens, Former United States Senator from Alaska
Google has been photographing more than your house lately — everything from penguins to barrier reefs. But the company really took snapshots to the next level last week when it released a video, Street View maps, and a series of still images from photographer Connie Zhou.
Generally, Google is mum about its immense warehouses lodging servers and fiber optic cables that enable search queries, Gmailing, video streaming, and virtual storage.
And what was my first thought upon seeing these data center images? The cloud looks very fractal.
The Real Information Hallway
Google invited Stephen Levy from Wired to take a tour of its facility in Lenoir, North Carolina. And here’s what Levy saw:
This is what makes Google Google: its physical network, its thousands of fiber miles, and those many thousands of servers that, in aggregate, add up to the mother of all clouds.
And that mother — whose root origin is matrix — definitely displays fractalesque properties of self-similarity and recursion.
Even theoretical infinity, that most abstract and (physically) unproveable of fractal properties, could be suggested by the physical trappings of the cloud. Levy notes:
Blue lights twinkle, indicating … what? A web search? Someone’s Gmail message? A Glass calendar event floating in front of Sergey’s eyeball? It could be anything.
The glimpse is temporary. In many of these data center shots, recursive forms promptly recede from the viewer’s POV and disappear to a vanishing point.
Mandelbulb Made Physical?
Others of these shots correspond with the 3D fractal work at FractalForums. Compare the photo above, formally anyway, with an image Tim featured last year:
GPS Required by RCPage
Or maybe you’d prefer sauntering through the cloud’s front door and taking a Street View tour. Think of it as a deep zoom walk.
Meanwhile, not to be outdone by stuff sort of tangentially in digital/virtual space, physical space had this ace up its black hole sleeve:
You. Are. Here.
And I thought the Large Hadron Collider was a big fractal-honking thing. But. Whoa. This. This is a deeeeep zoom walk.
Listen to the tour guide. From eso.org:
Using a whopping nine-gigapixel image from the VISTA infrared survey telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory, an international team of astronomers has created a catalogue of more than 84 million stars in the central parts of the Milky Way. This gigantic dataset contains more than ten times more stars than previous studies and is a major step forward for the understanding of our home galaxy. The image gives viewers an incredible, zoomable view of the central part of our galaxy. It is so large that, if printed with the resolution of a typical book, it would be 9 metres long and 7 metres tall.
Nine-gigapixel. That’s, carry the 7, around 9 billion pixels. Stars make up 84 million of the image’s 173 million different celestial (and fractal) objects. That’s agogging.
Meanwhile, closer to home:
Mars Needs Embossing
Where’s my meds? I’m seeing fractal ferns again. NASA says this image of Mars fuses orbital imagery with 3D modeling. Whatever possessed some wonderful artistic freak at NASA to post-process water flow patterns on a Martian crater? All I know is I reeeeeeally dig it. Except for a persistent creeeeeepy feeling. About an angry red planet. And an ongoing unsettling feeling I get each year around Halloweeeeeen. I’m sure I’m just being paranoid. I’m sure nothing could squaaaaaack heeeeeek aaaaaack aaaaaaaaaaaack. Buffering
While. Blogger. Rambles. On. Insipidly. Voltron. Will. Once. Again. Borrow. This. Object. From. Blogger’s. Home.