On the origins of the Hiperwall name

Many people are confused by the spelling of the Hiperwall® name, often misspelling it “Hyperwall” or even “Hyper Wall.”

The name Hiperwall is a registered trademark owned by the University of California (UC Irvine, in particular) and exclusively licensed for commercial use by Hiperwall Inc.

The goal of the research project led by Falko Kuester and myself when we were UCI professors was to develop technology to drive extremely high resolution tiled display walls. Our approach differed from that of other tiled display systems in that we wanted our system to scale easily to huge sizes, so we needed to avoid the centralized rendering system (read potential bottleneck) that most other had. Therefore, we put powerful computers behind the displays. These display nodes perform all the rendering work for their display and had little interaction with other display nodes. We use a central control node that simply commands the display nodes what to display, but doesn’t get in the path of the rendering, thus doesn’t bottleneck the system.

Because of this very distributed and highly parallel computing approach, our system is much more responsive than most other tiled display systems, therefore we called it the Highly Interactive Parallelized display Wall, or HIPerWall for short. The acronym is a little forced, because we had to ignore the word “display,” but the idea is pretty clear. You can see the research project logo on this image of the desktop screen for the HIPerWall Mini system we showed at Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference in 2006. At 72 million pixels screen resolution, the HIPerWall Mini was one of the highest resolution displays in the world at the time.

You’ll note that the “IP” in HIPerWall is highlighted in a different color. This is because we based our technology on the Internet Protocol (IP) rather than proprietary protocols or networks so we could interoperate and use standard, off-the-shelf equipment. This is one of the main reasons Hiperwall systems are so cost-competitive today: we use our advanced software on COTS computers, displays, and networks to create a powerful tiled display system without proprietary servers, amplifiers, and non-scalable bottlenecks.

About the same time we built HIPerWall, NASA Ames built a much smaller tiled display named Hyperwall, which surely led to some name confusion. NASA’s current Hyperwall is even higher resolution than the original 200 MPixel HIPerWall. In the meantime, Apple has made some displays for their stores to show iOS App sales, unfortunately naming them Hyperwall, too.

So to summarize, Hiperwall is the product derived from HIPerWall the research project. NASA and Apple both have Hyperwall systems, which are unrelated to each other and unrelated to Hiperwall.

Comments are closed.