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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2490 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

LOHAN sucks Reg reader's instrument to death

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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So can we do sheep in vacuum tests now?

Hat, coat, outahere!

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Windows 8: We kick the tyres on Redmond's new tablet wheels

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Users were not so much won over to new versions

They simply had to put up with whatever was preinstalled, or foisted upon them in the workplace. People are adaptable, and can learn new ways of working, but some "improvements" weren't.

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Sharp to show OLED 'retina' display for laptops

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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NICE

I love the 13" form factor, but dislike the terrible resolution.

ME WANT!!

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Online bookie can't scoop £50k losses made by 5-year-old

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: @ Echowitch

Unless the user let the browser remember the password. There should perhaps be stronger security than password/username, e.g. verification by response to mobile phone, or pin/bankcard validation used for online banking.

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LINX 'downed by ethernet loop' on external network

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Recursion

See "recursion"

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Strong ARM: The Acorn Archimedes is 25

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Seriously thought about gettig an A440

Neat machine, but ultimately beyond my means. A year later I was coding image processing software for a living on an 8 MHz 80286 with 640 MB RAM, and a Matrox PIP1024 image capture and processing board, which had a whole 1MB of RAM. I yearned for the vast 4MB RAM of the A440.

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SpaceX Dragon SPLASHDOWN in Pacific! Private space triumph

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Re: Big event, mundane response from SpaceX mission control

Elon Musk is quite aware of the similarities. When interviewed by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, he acknowledged he should get a white Persian cat.

Great guy, great achievement by the whole SpaceX team!

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BBC uses lifted Iraq war photo to depict Syrian slaughter

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Cock-up indeed, even with disclaimer, but don't blame the teacher

"As a (senior) lecturer, you probably have no concept of how unabidably crap the average corporate trainer is. It's a certificate culture out there, and the delegates (I won't demean the term "student" by using it here) are expected to sit, listen, maybe "brainstorm" a bit, then walk away with a piece of paper."

Actually, a colleague had to follow an "Academic Leadership" training given by a corporate trainer. His description was telling. Unabidable crap is a fitting designation. The trainer asked questions like: "what would you do if a PhD student turns up at 9:30 each morning?"

Answer by (experienced) trainees varied from: "Nothing, as long as he gets his work done," to "Commend him for consistently arriving before the head of the department."

These were not the right answers according to the trainer (who clearly had no concept of an academic working environment). He honestly expected people to work regular 9-5 shifts. When criticised that this was not how we work, and that many PhD students work say 10 am to 8 pm shifts r longer, he stated this was no way to run a lab. He was questioned whether he had ever run a research department, he had to admit this was not the case, but he stuck to his guns that he knew how it should be run.

My colleague and all other trainees considered the course a complete waste of time, but you had to get the certificate for the new tenure track system. I gather they have now got rid of this course.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Cock-up indeed, even with disclaimer, but don't blame the teacher

"Either the team responsible for this cock-up didn't attend - or those teaching the courses need to be fired."

As a (senior) lecturer, I cannot accept responsibility for all cock-ups my students make after following or even passing my course. The people teaching the course in source attribution may have been sterling, but let us not forget a student's ability to forget, misconstrue, or otherwise garble any information or skills imparted to them. I have seen all too often that students learn things only to the level to pass the exam, and then get totally plastered to ensure they erase that section of memory as effectively as possible. Fortunately, there are also many students who really want to learn and work hard at it. I have long ago decided to focus my efforts on the latter class, and lose no sleep over the former. After all, they are grown ups, they are responsible.

Many image search tools exist, they should have been able to find the source. If anyone is to be fired, fire those responsible.

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450-year-old football was hard to kick

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Comment from the Goalie of the Unseen Academicals:

OOK

The 16th century ball tested looks more like mr. Nutt's design than the lumps of wood with rags used before it

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Microsoft forbids class actions in new Windows licence

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Collusion

You are assuming the lawyer gets paid to help you, which is not how many lawyers see it. They get paid so they get richer. As the lawsuit is delayed, they charge more. The same holds for the lawyers of UPS. What incentive do they have to get things over with quickly if they get paid by the hour?

Me, cynical?

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: "of merchantable quality"

Agreed, they employ many salesmen of the caliber of C.M.O.T. Dibbler. To sell a bad product as successfully as Microsoft clearly can, you must be a hell of a salesman. Window 7 is mostly OK, however.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Well, I for one support this move.

Quality comedy , that is, or quality trolling, maybe.

Quality nonetheless

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Microsoft invades Iraq, installs first distributor

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Poor people

Now they have to worry about IE as well as IEDs

Sorry, couldn't resist, given all the trouble IE6 (aargh!) and 7 (less so) gave with our conference web site, which worked fine with Opera, Safari, Firefox, and passed W3C compliance tests.

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Self-driving Volvos cover 200km of busy Spanish motorway

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Worried

On the other hand, I would not expect computer to drive more dangerously than a large percentage of drivers (word used without prejudice) in Crete or Cyprus. Driving there was, let us say, an interesting experience, after which a quick bout of dodging charging bulls seems like a pick-nick.

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And the worst film NEVER made is...

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: And now something completely different

In relation to the earlier Streisand remark, I just read that as

The Barbrarians

and of course I had to think of Cohen the Barbarian (a.k.a. Ghenghiz Cohen)

Mine is the one with "Interesting Times" in the pocket/

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Passwords are for AES-holes

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Correct Horse Battery Staple = Insecure

That is correct because too many lusers are now using it because they heard it is secure

Fortunately one login for all except the HPC systems suffices here.

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LOHAN sucks 27 inches

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Units!

Those who love metric don't like mm Hg, they like Pascal.

El Reg readers like

millilinguine Hg

or Jubs/nanoWales

or Norris/nanoWales

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SpaceX does what it HASN'T done before: Dragon in close ISS flyby

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

SpaceX may be a health hazard

All this drinking to their success may start to stress livers (and brain cells) in many places

Brilliant stuff. Takes me right back to my childhood memories of the Apollo program.

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Special Projects Burro pops his hooves

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Sad news

He has joined the choir invisible

He has gone to meet his maker

It is an ex-donkey

RIP Aladdin

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The most dangerous job in America: Keeping iPhones connected

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Going Postal

was my immediate thought.

Terry Pratchett, you are a wise man, and clearly we all live on the discworld/

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Boffins cram binary data into living cells' DNA

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Speed might be OK, but the latency is killing

most likely

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Star Trek's Scotty boldly goes where he always wanted to

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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So maybe when a you see a meteor streak across the sky this time next year

you will imagine to hear it say

"More powerrr, we need more powerrrr!"

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

I will raise a dram to Scotty

Not the frothy kind! Distill the stuff I say. A glass of single malt to my fond memories of Scotty saying

Ye cannae break the laws of physics capt'n!

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Microsoft's FDS data-sorter crushes Hadoop

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

I will wait to see the scientific paper on this. A problem with these tests is that it mixes hardware and software performance measurement. Gaining speed by increasing communication bandwidth (and decreasing latency, for preference) just get the "duh" response it deserves.

The only ways to see if two algorithms differ is to (i) do a proper complexity analysis (computing time and memory/bandwidth use) to see how it should scale theoretically (both in terms of data size and number of processors), and (ii) time optimized versions on the same hardware (or different sets of hardware), using a variable number of processors or nodes.

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Ballmer says 500 MILLION 'users' to 'have' Windows 8 in 2013

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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"The visual effects are spectacular"

Oh really. I do not need spectacular visual effects on my desktop, unless I am playing a computer game, or running scientific visualization software. My OS should not try to dazzle me, I need to get work done. The best OS is the one you hardly notice. This may involve smart use of visual effects. Some visual effects I find useful (compiz-fusion has some things I find very handy, in particular in the area of switching desktops and looking for the right open app), but most are just battery-draining eye candy. It is telling that the spectacular visual effects are mentioned before the streamlined navigation (which is useful). I want substance, not bling.

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Core Wars: Inside Intel's power struggle with NVIDIA

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: New languages

I agree up to a point. Languages do need to change, and they are in fact changing. OpemMP is a sort of "bolt-on" solution for C(++) which allows the compiler to treat for loops as for-all statements, and provides various other mechanisms for syncing. A functional approach such as in Erlang is often proposed. I do have some doubts that we can solve all sorts of problems merely with new languages. We need to learn new ways of thinking about these problems. A good language can inspire new ways of thinking, of course.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

@Pperson

I have to disagree a bit here. Parallel computing is great, but at the same time it is hard work, and it is only useful in particular, data and compute intensive tasks. Memory access bottlenecks have been reduced greatly by getting rid of the front-side bus (guess why Opterons are so popular in HPC), but they are still very much present in GPUs, in particular in communication between GPU and main memory. There are improvements in tooling, but they are too often over-hyped. Besides, as with all optimization, you need understanding of the hardware.

Parallel computing is at the forefront of computer science research, and new (wait-free) algorithms are being published in scientific journals, as are improvements in compilers, languages and other tools.

Throughout its early history, physics simulation with its emphasis on matrix-vector work dominated the HPC field. Now a much larger variety of code is being parallelized. People are finding out the hard way that parallel algorithm design is a lot harder than sequential programming.

As I like to tell my students: parallel computing provides much faster ways of making your program crash.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Parallel code easily transfered to very different architecture?

Let me guess, they can easily parallelize adding two arrays together, or doing matrix vector stuff optimally. This covers some very important bases, but some parallel code needs to be rethought rather than just recompiled when porting to a very different architecture.

We have code which does not use matrix-vector stuff, and works best (40x speed up on 64 cores) on fairly coarse grained, shared memory, parallel architectures. We still have not managed to make a distributed memory version (working on it), and are struggling with an OpenCL version for GPUs (working on it with GPU gurus).

Every time I have heard people claim to have tools that take all the hard work out of parallel programming, they show me examples like "add these 10^9 numbers to another bunch of 10^9 numbers". These tools can indeed take a lot of the hard work out of parallel computing, but not all, by quite a long way.

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Apple's trial experts are 'slavish fanbois who believe in magic'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Pulled a rabbit out of the hat

I thought the Unseen University had prior art on that. Go ahead Apple, sue UU, they have a pond full of people who tried to sue them.

Doffs hat to TP

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

Re: "Use, Reuse, Overuse, Abuse"

Wasn't stage five "Light fuse"

see icon

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Why not ask

or for a more emotional (i.e., high blood-pressure) pitch, Steve Balmer

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Chrome spends a week at the top of the browser charts

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Android

Not sure about that. quite a few people (myself included) drop the default browser in Android for something with more functionality. My HTC Desire's default browser had no tabs, I tried firefox on Android briefly but was not impressed, and run Dolphin now. There may be better browsers out there for Android, but I rather like Dolphin, so won't change now.

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EMC pushes out FORTY-TWO products at megalaunch

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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42?

They just made a few extra to hit this number

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Brit knits jumper for NASA space chicken

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Brilliant, just brilliant!

Few people can say their knitwear was used by NASA, someone give her medal!

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Acer crosses Ivy Bridge with latest laptops

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting spec

I can essentially live with the so-so resolution, I cannot do without an nVidia GPU to run many of our CUDA programs. A fairly portable 14" with a pretty nifty CUDA punch goes a long way to ticking all the boxes for my work.

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Zuck weds self to lady friend in surprise ceremony

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

100 "stunned" peopled attended the nuptials

Did he have to stun them in order to get them to attend?

Sorry, couldn't resist

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Windows Phone beats iOS sales in China

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

"Apple will also take heart from the fact that, as of yet, there are no reports of Windows Phone fanatics in China offering to exchange organs, or even their virginity, for a handset."

This could mean people are less enthusiastic for Windows Phone, it could mean the Windows phones are sufficiently cheap to be affordable without such extreme measures, or it could mean a certain proportion of the populace needs their brain seen to (or a combination of the three).

For those in need of having their brain seen to, I hear prof Gumby is a very well-known brain specialist (or was that bwain specialist?)

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SpaceX Dragon chokes at the last second

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

"I can't let you do that, Dave"

Wasn't that what the computer really said?

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Smoke-belching flash drive self-destructs on command

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Cue Q

"Please be careful with it Bond!"

I bet Simon Travaglia would like these. Paint the green button red and vice versa.

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Post-pub nosh deathmatch: Mealy pudding v migas

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Deep-fried pizza, anyone?

I have heard of this mythical beast, apparently hailing from Bonnie Scotland as well, but, much the cardiologist's delight, never encountered it in the wild. Should this not be researched?

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Inside Nvidia's GK110 monster GPU

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Fermi, Tesla, and Maxwell would all want one

Just one?

Physicists (and not just physicists) always want more compute power than currently available.

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Facebook's Eduardo Saverin: I'm not a tax-dodger

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Are the honourable members of the senate just jealous?

Being rich guys who cannot renounce citizenship without losing their jobs.

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What is SpaceX Dragon's secret cargo?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Think sideways

Tribute to the Goodies? Like a trandem (three-seater bike) as replacement for the three-man Soyuz capsule

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

A few bottles of Château de Chasselas from the four Yorkshiremen? To wash down the spam?

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Stanford boffins create light-powered artificial retina

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

"Steve Austin, a man barely alive"

You could go further back.

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Pre-Pet Commodore micro up for grabs on eBay

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

So if I a bunch of them

could I build a Kim cluster? Might even catch up with a 80486 if you put together a few hundred.

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Nvidia's Kepler pushes parallelism up to eleven

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting developments, in particular the having multiple MPI tasks able to run simultaneously on a single Kepler chip. Great added flexibility.

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HP Envy 14 Spectre Ultrabook

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Intel Graphics == No use to me

I understand the why, it is just of no use to me. Others will probably be very happy with the machines

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Nvidia launches Nsight CUDA dev tools into Eclipse

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Debugging thousands of threads simultaneously

Now there is an excuse for a HUGE monitor (or two, or three) if ever I heard one.

Seriously, nice toolkits are coming out for this kind of work. Much needed too, as parallel computing allows you to get things wrong MUCH quicker.

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