Means many things. It is, for one, the world’s telecommunications network. Because of its importance to the world, a number of artists have been drawn to the concept of a matrix and have incorporated it into their creative works. Thus, The Matrix is the name given to a book, a movie, and a computer game—all describing a virtual world of information similar in some ways to the Internet but completely different in other ways.
“The Matrix,” upon which fiction novels, movies, and games have been based, is a computer-generated three-dimensional world in which users can do anything because the world comprises ICons, or IC (pronounced “ice”). IC, known more formally as Intrusion Countermeasure electronics, are programs stopping illegal access by intruders to computers and highly sensitive information. For example, IC might look like a bull with guns or a moose with guns, depending on what type of IC it is and what its function is. IC comes in many forms, including Black IC (the lethal form) and Probe IC (which searches for intruders and then fires back with some nasty stuff intended to stop the intruder in his or her tracks). Moreover, in “The Matrix,” a node (actually part of a host, such as a sub-system, and usually represented by a virtual landscape) might be seen as a hole or a gas pump. If that node is destroyed, the hole might suddenly disappear, or the gas pump might quickly explode. In this virtual world, a user will look like whatever he or she asked the Cyberdeck to identify him or her as. What is more, users in a nonsubmersive system cannot be hurt because the user is represented by an Icon and is not physically there. The ICon represents a computer system, and any attacks directed at the user’s ICon can damage his or her system.
Since 2001, the term matrix has gained a whole new meaning. The Florida police department operated an anti-terrorism information system called the Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange, or Matrix, to locate patterns among people and events by pooling police records with commercial data on U.S. adults. The Justice Department provided $4 million to broaden the Matrix program on a national basis, and the Department of Homeland Security pledged $8 million to assist with the Matrix program expansion—so that Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York could join the Matrix network.
Clutton, R. The Matrix. [Online, November 26, 1999.] R. Clutton Website. http://tip.net.au/~rclutton/matrix.html; Wilson, C. CRS Report for Congress: Computer Attack and Cyberterrorism: Vulnerabilities and Policy Issues for Congress. [Online, October 17, 2003.] CRS Report Website. http://www.fas.org/irp/crs/RL32114.pdf.