Supercomputing 2002 will test badges that can track attendees' activities

Supercomputing 2002 will test badges that can track attendees' activities

Using tracking technology developed for Defense Department materiel logistics, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications has designed optional radio frequency badges that will track the interests and movements of attendees at November's Supercomputing 2002 trade show in Baltimore.

Dan Reed, the show's program chairman and director of the Champaign, Ill., center, said the IntelliBadges are 'fully optional' and can be used at several levels. For example, technical program attendees can withhold their identities but still see on dynamic kiosk displays where people with similar interests are gathering. Or they can identify themselves by the bar code from their registration cards, enter queries and profile their interests at kiosks. Attendees could also find out, for example, how many miles they have walked by the end of the show. Reed said there are 'lots of potential opportunities' in personnel logistics.

NCSA budgeted about $70,000 for the tracking infrastructure, writing most of the software in-house. The reusable, silver dollar-sized RF badges come from Savi Technology of Sunnyvale, Calif., a DOD and Postal Service contractor. Savi operates a global RF identification network for Army depots in Europe and elsewhere.

The badges work for about two years, Reed said, and the resolution is 'reasonably coarse.' The signal radius of about 75 feet can be increased by adding more stations to track the RF signals.

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