2844 Discovery of a Digital Paradise

Students E. Harris and S. Nunez discover the Centaurus Software Complex. This software, which had been operating anonymously within Solnet for a long time, has recently emerged as a popular virtual holiday destination.

The Centaurus Simulation package was discovered by chance in Solnet, the Solar system information network. It boasts a data volume of 85 Petabytes: 15 Petabytes of which are interfaces, around 50 Petabytes in the core and another 20 Petabytes of utilities, which include at least four distinct non-conscious AIs. The software complex remains stable in size and content. Its average data exchange rate is a mere 10 parts per billion annually, mainly attributed to statistical data and auto-optimizations. Like many software complexes, Centaurus is delocalized, with an average of 60% of its mass located in Earth's geosync-backbone. Historically, its overall IO was minimal but has seen a significant uptick recently due to visitor traffic.

The complex's main function is to simulate a continent on the planet Eon in the Vocon Cluster, a place which appears quite idyllic to humans. This simulation is intricately detailed, ensuring that a user with modern 3D-rig would not spot any inconsistencies. Ancient logs suggest its original intent was a scientific biosphere simulation. These logs describe multiple simulation runs and restarts with marginally different starting conditions, forming research sequences. Scientists from Vocon used these to study environmental impacts on the biosphere. Unfortunately, the identities of these researchers have been lost, and an in-depth investigation is impossible due to the large distance to the Vocon Cluster and the time since passed.

The Centaurus complex's relatively compact size, given its functionality and detail, hints at advanced algorithmic technology. The simulator core's leakage is estimated at below 30%, with transfer losses below 5%. The implementation is highly flexible running on modern quantum hardware in public Solnet and even on the old nucleon array processor, still operated as a simulation at the Tara Computing History Museum on Mars. Being highly efficient, one of Centaurus’s object cores was even incorporated into Earth's weather system after the 20-year exclusivity period granted to its discoverers had expired.

Operating autonomously, the software complex does not possess any elevated execution privileges and requires minimal power for maintenance. It discreetly coexisted with countless other low-priority processes in Solnet, funded by public budgets. When in use, the entrance is semi-statically generated by the user's own visualization equipment. Interfaces to Nano-Caves are available and there is a wide range of standard scenes that most visualizations can interpret.

Running the simulator core is usually not necessary. The standard scenes are adaptable enough to allow individual scenes without a full simulation, making access very cost-effective. This affordability, combined with the impeccable representation of a mesmerizing landscape, is why the Centaurus Complex's popularity is surging. Nano-visualization, though not as cost-effective as 3D due to cave time, is also gaining traction, particularly the holo-display with its detailed yet resource-efficient implementation, which degrades the cave fog by only one percent per hour for a standard 2-person scene in a 500-cubic-meter nano-cave.

How such an advanced simulation package from the Vocon civilization ended up in Solnet remains unclear. Investigations revealed its first appearance in backups around 2764. Any traces that might have shed light on its origins were likely erased during the 2824 Solnet compactification. No ownership has been established, and the only reference with contact properties is defunct in Solnet. For this reason, Centaurus was classified as a TSNH case (This Should Never Happen), prompting a comprehensive system-wide remapping of referential group identifiers.

The complex has existed, and continues to exist, under multiple public identities, a common practice. Speculations that it served as a cover for info-infiltration of Solnet have been conclusively debunked. The complex has operated without irregularities for 150 years.

The Centaurus Complex came to light when the students E. T. Harris (hartE) and S. Nunez (ce9kit) were researching second-order transformation fluctuations in backbone flows. The students randomly picked up transactions from Centaurus. They then analyzed the source and eventually gained access to the complex. The maintenance access was only weakly secured with a simple pass gesture, which could be reconstructed using standard tools. The gesture is reminiscent of the Centaurus constellation, hence the name of the software package.

Following the Unclaimed Information Structure Act of 2800, the software was granted to the discoverers after a 3-year unchallenged disclosure period. By 2869, it finally transitioned to public property under Solnet management. To prevent misuse, the maintenance accesses have been, but the visitor gate remains open.