The HyperText Computer (HTC) and IBM’s Infinity Project

This morning I found a recent report by Darryl K. Taft quoting Stefan Schoenauer of IBM titled “Future Net: Expanding the Web from Pages to Data Sources“. It appears that IBM’s Infinity middleware project may be a proto-HyperText Computer. While the details are sketchy, here is what we know…

The HTC is a model computer that processes information by making HTTP requests and references information only through URLs. In an HTC all computing power is presented as the ability to complete HTTP requests.

What is IBM’s Infinity project?

What prompted the Infinity project was a great big “what if,” Schoenauer said: What if all the information stored in devices like cell phones, PDAs, RFID (radio-frequency identification) chips and USB sticks could be accessed much the way Web sites are today, or even more easily

IBM’s [Infinity] prototype is notable because as yet there is no standard way to share data between diverse mobile devices directly in ad hoc networks. And because the variety of mobile operating systems offers so many different programming environments and interfaces, applications have to be custom-developed for each platform. The vast range of data types, database software and connection hardware involved make it difficult to achieve broad-spectrum mobile device integration. Infinity technology will improve cross-platform integration and communication for mobile applications, and will enable application developers to more easily develop applications for a variety of mobile devices, IBM said.

The goal is universal access to heterogeneous computing resources with a single programming model. This is. of course, very similar to the objective of the HTC.

The article is sketchy on the implementation details of the Infinity Project however, what is stated sounds as if the project is a step towards the creation of an HTC.

“The middleware itself looks very much like a Web server on the Internet. The applications are HTML pages with some JavaScript, and they communicate via HTTP.” In addition, the platform uses XML as a data exchange format, he said.

Each of the devices in question definitely has its own user agent (browser, interface). It also has additional computing capabilities that could be made available to others. It appears that Infinity presents the computing resources (processing and information) of all these devices on the net as the ability to fulfill HTTP requests. If so, that is a hallmark of the HTC. The article does not discuss the possibilities of code mobility offered by the HTC and still presumes the necessity of Javascript to which the HTC offers an alternative, but it appears that the Infinity project may be offering us a proto-HTC!

We live in interesting days.


  1. Sarah Benett says:

    Thanks for the info about The HyperText Computer, IBM’s Infinity Project. I found it useful 🙂

Speak Your Mind