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VR Library of Babel MUD

Browse and stroll around the Library of Babel.
  [vote for,

Follow the link if you don't know the Library of Babel.

It would be very easy to generate a 3-D virtual environment resembling the Library of Babel. The architecture of the Library is merely a series of modules - hexagonal rooms separated by air shafts with spiral staircases between the floors and a mirror. Two small closets, one for sleeping, one for the bathroom. These modules tessellate indefinitely in all directions and some claim form a space mappable onto a hypertoroidal surface. Within each of the rooms is a standard number of volumes on a standard number of shelves with a standard number of pages, lines, characters and so forth, each of which is apparently random.

The layout of the library is relatively simple to simulate, as it only requires one room lined with bookshelves plus a hallway, a mirror, a couple of closets and a section of spiral staircase to be represented. Regarding the rooms, for example, really only a sixth of the room needs to be stored as images because of the symmetry. See the graphic on the link to illustrate the simplicity of the situation.

Beyond that, the books and their textual content need only be procedurally generated. The location of the user along with that of the book they're reading can be used as the seed for a pseudorandom number to generate the text of the book. The user can select any book from the shelves and read the appropriate text, which might just have the occasional comprehensible string in it. Any other user in the same place in the library on another occasion would be able to select the same book and read the same text because of the algorithm.

The Library is not infinite. I estimate the number of possible books to be of the order of the cube of one hundred vigintillion on the long scale, which is a big number but not so big as cannot be expressed in natural language. The trick would be to choose an algorithm which doesn't lead to repetition for generating the text.

Users access the library via VR headsets and gloves, if they so wish, plus a treadmill, or they can access it in the same way as they would any 3-D first person game. They can either be allocated an arbitrary location within the library or choose a specific room. The probability of any two users allocated to random rooms within the library is probably rather small even if the entire population of the world is using the MUD simultaneously, but if they so choose, they can be located near each other, or even in the same room. In fact they could even try to find each other while located in locations less than, say, 10 000 rooms apart.

To me this seems eminently bakeable, but of course I'm not a computer programmer.

nineteenthly, Feb 06 2017

Story Text https://hyperdiscor...brary_of_babel.html
The Library of Babel by Borges [nineteenthly, Feb 06 2017]

https://libraryofbabel.info/ [pocmloc, Feb 08 2017]

https://play.google...ibraryOfBabel&hl=en [pocmloc, Feb 08 2017]


       Use DNA databases to procedurally generate text. The data is being added to from both forward and back in time.   

       Admittedly there be a lot of recurring stuff but I like the idea of a real world anchor to this infinite text shadow immersion.
wjt, Feb 06 2017

       I've seen a few shelves with the human genome on it. That could be a case of engine licencing, as it were. No reason why you can't have a database of known genomes of various organisms, but even with a trillion species it would still be tiny in comparison to the size of the Library. It could be a small section of the main library.
nineteenthly, Feb 06 2017

       Note that the code for creating this Library program already lies within the LIbrary. As does the code for creating a simulation of the Library within the Library program. As does the code for creating a simulation of the simulation of the library program...
RayfordSteele, Feb 06 2017

       That's very true. Also, that code exists with different degrees of optimisation, in different assembly languages and high level languages, and possibly with more efficient algorithms than anyone will ever consider.
nineteenthly, Feb 07 2017

       Jonathan Basile has made an algorithmically generated stable version of a universal library, and Keiwan Donyagard has made an Android VR app which uses Basile's site to visualise the Library pretty much as described here. <linkeez>
pocmloc, Feb 08 2017

       If you had a quantum supercomputer acting with a linguistic filter to can out the complete nonsense, how long would it take to find any useful information in the library I wonder?   

       Take the output of that, which will still largely be useless gibberish, and broadcast it to space. Maybe somewhere in there there will be a deadly insult or compliment to the nearest alien species that they will respond to and wonder how we 'learned' their language.
RayfordSteele, Feb 09 2017


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