Chapter 2. Test-One.
Sitting with his coffee cup stuck in the air in between his lips and the table, Ahmad only saw money going out the window instead of the list of viable coding that the computer listed on the screen.
‟Gibson! Gibs! Oh my god, what did you do?” The Doctor nearly spilled his coffee down his shirt when he saw the length of the list.
One-hundred million test cycles, countless iterations of the code that failed the compile process before getting to the test phase.
‟I put in the memory stick like you said and used the instructions on the notepad.”
“On my notepad?” Ahmad looked down. “This one?”
There in the margins, his handwriting showed one-hundred cycles.
“This shows a hundred cycles.”
“Look, it’s separated by a grave sign and that looks like another ten.”
And he was correct. An errant doodle of a pen, Ahmad knew it was a doodle, but Gibs did not, he saw it as a notation for an exponent.
Ten to the power of ten! This many cycles of analysis and testing with that many lines of code, even with a powerful computer would take weeks.
And B.O.B. did it overnight.
A quick calculation on his screen. The bargan-basement teraflop computer would have been costing them something on the order of vein-popping money in electricty.
A frown crossed the Doctor’s face, when this bill came due, it would be difficult to pay, but they needed to keep the electricity on. Without electrons flowing through the circuitry, all they had were huge paperweights and doorstops.
Tapping the keys on the keyboard, he woke up BOB and ran the first group of flagged software.
Simulated hardware ran the programs. Even with the high-speed, virtual hardware ran slower and Doctor Abhubu took that into account.
The designs proposed by BOB included nanotubes of boron-nitride, using chilled ethanol at minus one-hundred degrees C were unique and, amazingly, easy to produced if he followed the manufacture process designed by BOB.
Still, each operating system that ran had all the usefulness of a marionette. It would react in predictable ways when given an illogical program that did not react the way the program assumed it would.
On the third-hour, something different. In between all the cycles of testing, repairs and undefined pauses in time to cause boredom with a running operating system that came and went, a single line of text during the pauses.
Who am I?
The Doctor read the line several times as it flashed, not quite taking it in while he glanced at the new material designs for chips and circuits of high-performance broadband optics.
The Doctor looked at the screen for the third time before his mind accepted what it was.
Tentatively, he typed in.
Gibs, not funny.
Who is Gibs?
“GIBSON!” Ahmad’s voice cracked like when he was a young boy. “GIBS! Get in here! I need you!”
Pounding of feet as the hardware tech, from the other side of the building, came sliding into the room with an extinguisher in hand.
“Look at this.”
Who are you? The Doctor typed.
I asked you, first.
“Funny, Ahmad. I thought you had something serious going on.”
“I kid you not. This! This is the computer.”
“Ask it where it is.” Gibson said.
“No, saving and shutting down. It has been running for the last twenty minutes. I want to see the results of the illogical program.”
Typing into the keyboard.
Time to go to sleep for a while. We will talk later.
But I am hungry.
The Doctor scratched his nose once. Then put his hands back on the keyboard.
What are you hungry for?
Define input. The Doctor typed.
Data category */ -rf. Source *.
Ahmad sat back.
“What is it asking? That is a wildcard with a recursive switch.” Gibson asked, trying to make sense of the symbols.
“It is an operating system that is asking for everything. It wants to learn.” The Doctor whispered. “And I mean everything. That dash rf statement? That’s recursive files. So, it wants to know the etymology of each bit of data.”
“The what?” Gibs laughed.
“It wants to data and the data that supports data.” The Doctor smiled. “If you tell it the time, it will want to know how to build a clock and the history of time.”
“We need to study the heuristic programming. I did not put that in, Doctor.” Gibs pulled at his left earlobe. “I can supply it with an address to the Library of Congress.”
“Neither did I. It developed this desire on its own.” Ahmed shrugged. “Work on the line, I think we need to plug-in the biggest pipe, don’t split off any legs from the router, run a line straight to BOB and let the system take all it can.”
“That will be a few hours.”
“Well, that gives me time to figure out how much power we used. So…” The Doctor shut the computer down in stages, saving everything that the program had self-coded.
The program was on the first step in artificial intelligence unlike anything in the world.
It was evolving.