If you want to know whether another computers still lives, you want to receive a message every once and a while to say ‘I’m alive, I’m alive’, as long as it functions correctly, you’re in that rhythm. When you are out that rhythm and you don’t get a message back in time then problems arise. Though this rhythm functions for interactions between machines, the question is whether the rhythm of the machine connects to the rhythm of an individual human being, van Splunter suggests. When you look at larger scale rhythms of use on the Internet of news-sites for example, one can clearly see a rhythm in this, but such rhythms connect more to groups and less to an individual user. In current research van Splunter is investigating how personal patterns of use influence these larger scale rhythms, and how this can be influenced to make better use of local energy sources. So if a whole street turns on the coffee machine at 8 o’clock, van Splunter develops scenario’s where the machines make coffee between 7.30 and 8 o’clock and cut the peak load of energy use for example.
There are time-based protocols to regulate interactions between computers. These protocols can be considered as rhythm based for regular transactions and if something disrupts the rhythm then either something new happened or something went wrong.