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Database Management Systems in Star Trek: The Next Generation Essays

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Most modern science fiction portrays some form of database. From simple text-based systems to complex virtual reality environments, the way information is retrieved from these databases often reflects trends in database management systems. The library computer system seen in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (ST:TNG) offers an excellent example of a database that both reflects contemporary technologies and illustrates accurate predictions in the development of those technologies.
The database contained in the library computer in ST:TNG is capable of storing a vast array of different types of data. The episode "Elementary, Dear Data" [9] demonstrates the various types of information that can be stored and manipulated by the database on the Enterprise. Through the characters adventures on the holodeck, we see the computer reconstruct a virtual copy of Victorian London as it existed in the stories of Sherlock Holmes. This required not only the complete works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but comprehensive historical data on the people and places of that era. In addition to the data required to create and populate the London cityscape, data was required to allow authentic character actions, reactions, emotions and physical responses. This can be seen in the interaction between Data, Picard and the street Ruffian [9, 14]. The Ruffian simulates a reaction of feeling physical pain. Furthermore, an extensive collection of smells, textures, and tastes must be maintained to further enhance the illusion. This must interface with transporter technology to create objects that retain some of the physical properties of real objects [13]. We witness this as Dr. Pulaski professes to "being crammed full of crumpets" [9, 14]. From the simple literary ...


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9.Lane, B. A. (Writer), & Bowman, R. (Director). (1988, December 5). Elementary, dear Data [Television series episode]. In Star trek: The next generation.
10.LCARS - Memory alpha, the Star trek wiki. (n.d.). Retrieved May 24, 2010, from http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/LCARS
11.Speech recognition. (n.d.). Retrieved May 24, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speech_recognition
12.The Adventure Of Sherlock Holmes. (n.d.). Retrieved May 24, 2010, from http://books.google.com/books?id=7Q6K4GgIrEYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=sherlock+holmes&source=gbs_similarbooks_s&cad=1#v=onepage&q&f=false
13.The holodeck. (1999). In L. H. Gresh & R. E. Weinberg (Authors), The computers of Star trek (pp. 127-144). New York: Basic Books.
14.The next generation transcripts - Elementary, dear Data. (n.d.). Retrieved May 24, 2010, from http://www.chakoteya.net/NextGen/129.htm


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