Posted by Robert on November 14, 2002
In Reply to: Real time posted by ESC on November 12, 2002
: : : : Hi!
: : : : Does anyone know anything about the adjectival use of "real time" (like in "real time resources", "real time weather" etc.), especially how it could be defined and maybe where it is from and since when it has been used.
: : : : Thanks!
: : : Real time means that it is happening "live". This is a term out of the computer industry where it is used to denote processing that is done while a program is running and not prior to that, as at compile time. That is, the program must process information which it can only learn once it is running.
: : : So, real time weather reports mean that they are not taped and are given as the conditions at the actual moment you are hearing them.
: : It's like Wolf says in "The Talisman" (Stephen King and Peter Straub): "Right here and now!"
: "real time - n. the actual time during which a process or event occurs, especially one analyzed by a computer, in contrast to time subsequent to it when computer processing can be done, a recording played, or the like. 1953 'Mathematical Tables & Other Aids to Computation.': With the advent of large-scale high-speed digital computers, there arises the question of their possible use in the solution of problems in 'real time,' i.e., in conjunction with instruments receiving and responding to stimuli from external environment." From "20th Century Words: The Story of New Words in English Over the Last 100 Years" by John Ayto (Oxford University Press, New York, 1999).
It's interesting that there is a definition from 1953 that relates it to mathematics/computers. I have always thought of "real time" in cinematic terms, in which the depicted action takes place in the same amount of time as the film runs. "My Dinner With Andre" is close to "real-time", with minimal cuts or jumps in time. The "actual time during which a process or event occurs" part of the definition, can be easily applied to film-making