Monday, August 1, 2011

Is DIDO a Dido?

Loose thoughts by Bjorn Landfeldt

Over the weekend, there was much noise in media about a new revolutionary technology dubbed distributed input distributed output or DIDO for short. In Australian media the technology was dubbed an NBN killer.

Of course I was intrigued since the article in the SMH I read claimed that DIDO would prove the Shannon capacity wrong --no little claim even if it came from a tech reporter who had never heard of information theory in their lives.

So, what is this all about? Well, there was a white paper released that was supposed to detail the new revolutionary thinking and of course I read it on my iPhone while waiting to get my new tyres fitted on the car. The paper is very poorly written. In fact, the writing style as well as the inaccurate reference to the Shannon capacity and other subtleties makes the piece very unconvincing (unless you have a pocket full of money and are looking to invest). There is no explanation of the system that any researcher can make use of to understand exactly what DIDO is supposed to do, but media has bought it outright.

However, it is complete unfeasible what is being proposed? I would say no. The paper alludes to some sort of network coding using superposition of radio transmissions that given a specific coding could very well yield a constructive result at given spatial points. However, I seriously doubt that a small group of people would build such a system on their own in a short time. If they have succeeded, the best thing ever in communications.

However, given the white paper that was released and complete lack of information, I would say it is a hoax or hot air at best. Perhaps the definition of DIDO in the dictionary gives a hint. Miriam Webster lists:

Definition of DIDO: A Mischievous or Capricious act. Synonyms: Prank, frolic.

For now, I will still be using Shannon when I work.