There are some numbers that can only be known by experiencing them. Mentioned here a few weeks ago, visualcomplexity points out the the conceptual scale of the AlloSphere, a visual simulator the size of a large building designed for projects that overwhelm traditional computing environments. And therein lies the key difference: You don't just watch processes on screen, you engage them from the inside. Visualcomplexity:
Scientifically, it is an instrument for gaining insight and developing bodily intuition about environments into which the body cannot venture: abstract, higher-dimensional information spaces, the worlds of the very small or very large, and the realms of the very fast or very slow, in fields ranging from nanotechnology to theoretical physics, from proteomics to cosmology, from neurophysiology to the spaces of consciousness, and from new materials to new media.
A TED video on the ambitious project is here. What, one of its creators asks, might be discovered if a team of physicists could stand inside the atom?