Editor's note: The text below comes from Dennis Jones' patent submission for the Quantum Matrix system.
The Quantum Matrix system is a multidimensional, multi-threaded exchange environment for data organization, management, and manipulation. Data are organized into a multidimensional structure of nodes. Nodes may represent data, the absence of data, or another set of nodes.
The multidimensional structure or portions of it can be automatically created from a file system. One or more associations are also defined for the multidimensional structure.
An association indicates a relationship between a node and another node, data, or a set of nodes. The multidimensional structure is then displayed in three dimensions and navigated. Relational logic, Boolean algebra, or a scripting language can be applied to the nodes, data, and associations to produce a resultant set of nodes. Furthermore, portions of the multidimensional structure can be isolated with the use of planes to ease navigation. Furthermore, Avatars may be displayed and used for collaborative purposes and to automate the navigation of the multidimensional structure.
Current methods of accessing and navigating data on a computer system are generally limited to querying mechanisms or two-dimensional visualizations. For example, data stored on a relational database are accessed through the use of a query language, such as SQL, or by listing the contents of the database in the form of two-dimensional tables. Files in a file system are accessed through the use of two-dimensional, hierarchical browsers or through command line queries. Furthermore, data on the Internet is accessed through the use of two-dimensional web browsers and hyperlinks. All of these methods for accessing and visualizing data make it difficult for users to develop an intuitive feel for how the data are interconnected when the inter-relationships between the data are complex.
For example, data relating to each component of the space shuttle can be stored and accessed through two-dimensional hierarchies. However, navigating through such two-dimensional representations can hide from the user an intuitive feel for how the data of each component is interrelated with each other. If the data relating to the components were organized and visualized to correspond to a three-dimensional image of the space shuttle assembly, the user could easily determine how the data relating to the components are interrelated in the space shuttle.
Furthermore, in database system design, data must be able to represent two types of objects, namely, "entitles and relationships." It is in fact the case that fundamentally there is no real difference between the two; a relationship is merely a special type of entity. The Quantum Matrix embraces the three database architectures of contemporary data management system design; hierarchical, network, and relational concepts. The three approaches differ in the manner in which, they permit the user to view the data. In the hierarchical approach, data relationships are explicit and rely heavily on the items position in the data organization. In the network approach, relationships are represented explicitly by means of pointers, but entities and relationships are considered as two separate things. In the relational approach, relationships are again represented explicitly, however they are represented exactly the same way as the entities, i.e. by means of tuples.
A tuple is in relational calculus terms simply a notation for expressing the definition of a relationship that is to be derived from the data model. In other words, relationships and entities are the same kind of object. The advantage of the relational approach is that it is data-independent and requires no representational form. However, relational databases do not allow one to have a visual mapping of the implicit nature of real world objects, nor to intuitively comprehend their data's relationships. In a relational database, there still exists a schema or some overriding formal organization.
What is needed is a system to organize, visualize, and access data n-dimensionally to make it more intuitive for users to identify how data with complex interrelationships are interconnected.
What is needed is an application that bridges visual-hierarchical, relational-calculus, and the network approach through object-oriented design.