Sixth - system for data storage, computation, exploration and interaction

1 General

1.1 Source code

2 Vision - A tool to amplify human ability

Goal is, so called bicycle for the mind.

A tool, that provides powerful, easy to use computing environment for solving wide range of problems.

See extensible, programmable computing environment examples. In each case you can install or develop plugins/extensions for every purpose imaginable.

I would like to create better general purpose environment with the following properties:

  • Makes data and insights easy to discover, understand and manipulate/transform.
  • Things are visual, realtime with immediate feedback.
  • Extensively utilizes realtime 3D graphics and capabilities of human visual perception.

    “Virtual reality holds the key to the evolution of the human mind” Dr. Lawrence Angelo, The Lawnmower Man (1992)

2.1 Extensible, programmable computing environment examples

  • GNU Emacs - At the heart, Emacs is text editor on top of Lisp runtime. Data storage and computation can be done in Lisp. Domain specific languages to fit particular problem could be developed as needed and Emacs extended to support those languages. Emacs provides text buffers that can be used to build user interfaces.
  • Eclipse IDE - In essence OSGi platform with a text editor. Computation done in java. Eclipse provides integration, runtime and GUI platform.
  • IBM Notes/Domino - Custom database engine, software development platform, GUI editor, computation can be done in Java and LotusScript.
  • SAP ABAP - Custom database engine, runtime, GUI platform, development environment and programming language.

3 Current status

  • Formulated high-level vision / goal.
  • In the process of implementing some of building blocks.
  • System is nowhere near complete (given magnitude of effort required and my free time available). Contributions welcome ! :)

4 Architecture / components

5 Computation ideas

  • Program - stored instructions for execution by computer.
  • Process - Currently running program.
    • Process is self contained. Has a full copy of program code and every dependent library.
      • Memory used by processes is content addressed/deduplicated at low level in the system.
      • This allows:
        • Upgrading software installed in the system without breaking already running processes.
        • Easier migration of running processes between physical computers.
        • Possibility to suspend/resume arbitrary processes to permament storage.
        • Possibility checkpoint/revert running process.
        • Possibility to clone/branch running process.

6 Frequently Given Answers

  • Why such name ?
    • In short: it's just a number.
    • Many years ago inspired by the ideas of Forth (programming language) I decided to create my own implementation Fifth (computing/programming environment).
    • Then I realized I miss type safe object oriented capabilities. So I updated the name to Sixth and switched to Java.