Re: [-empyre-] PATINAGE and TURNBABY by Babel
When I studied Computer Science, I recall references to "virtual machines".
Seemed pretty slippery a notion at the time. Still does, actually. But I'll
take a go at it.
We see at http://www.csm.ornl.gov/pvm/pvm_home.html the following
description of some software: "PVM (Parallel Virtual Machine) is a software
package that permits a heterogeneous collection of Unix and/or Windows
computers hooked together by a network to be used as a single large parallel
computer. Thus large computational problems can be solved more cost
effectively by using the aggregate power and memory of many computers."
The software architecture is a design to create one (conceptual) machine out
of many. The single resulting (conceptual) machine is termed a "virtual
machine." It is a 'virtual' machine because its single machineness is not
actual (there is in fact more than one computer/machine involved) but
conceptual and functional. Yet it is not a 'simulation' of such a machine.
Because any such machine would indeed involve more than one computer.
So it seems that Computer Scientists use the term 'virtual machine' not to
distinguish between the potential and the actual, but to distinguish between
physical machine architectures and software machine architectures.
Perhaps art critics of digital art/culture use the term differently?
It's quite a slippery term, of course.
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