MHT (My Happy Tracker)

[For the curious... MHT actually stands for Multi-Hypothesis Tracker. In earlier days, I did programming work in this area. The things being tracked are, of course, ships, planes, or whatever. Maneuvers are unexpected deviations in a target's course.

G.C. May, 2000]

Programs are so cheerful,
Aren't they?
The epitome of focus,
Carefree existence.
Even when they crash,
It would seem they die with felicity,
Gleefully taunting their masters with cryptic excuses.

For now
The monitor looks out onto a chilly void
Arrayed with friendly blues,
Scattered with neutral greens,
Hostile reds:
An alien wilderness populated by light-beings.
As I watch,
Tracks snake across the screen,
Error-ellipses ballooning around them as they advance,
Then collapsing as they devour new prey.
Are they at all concerned
About their fellows
Tracing out their own restless paths through the field?

It's only me that cares, it seems.
I alone survey their motions,
Ask myself what they're saying
As they perform their luminous, stochastic dance.
What does it mean?

It's an easier question, I grant;
Easier than the others I ask at evening hours.
I wrote the scenarios, after all.
Defined each track with mathematical precision.
Yet even I can't predict the exact outcome.

And you, my fellow voyagers;
Have you ever sought, like me, to turn the mirror inward,
To look into that vast virtual space of your futures?
Or sat silently
Awaiting a ping from the dark
To illuminate your present?

We zing from point to point in our lives,
Lured by many a false-detect
To fool ourselves into believing
We've found our bearing and position?
Who can tell when we will maneuver,
Cast off into the deep unknown?
Our measurement noise is too high,
Our models too imprecise,
And Fate only knows
What is ground truth.

George Chadderdon © 1998