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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2514 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

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

I will aim at a much cheaper, only slightly heavier 13.3" or 14" notebook with nVidia 520 or 540 graphics so I can run CUDA and openCL stuff (there are a few very nice ones from Asus, Samsung, and even Dell). The whole idea of an ultrabook is hobbled by the insistence on Intel graphics. For the prices they are asking they could put in a decent graphics chipset. Until Intel supports CUDA (i.e. when hell freezes over) I will steer clear of any machine with only Intel graphics.

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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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Spy under your car bonnet 'worth billions by 2016'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

So why will cars in the US be smartest?

Some will say it is because the Merkin goverment wants to spy on them

Others will say it is because many American drivers cannot even handle a stick-shift.

Which is it?

Any suggestions?

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Fastest-ever hydrocarb scramjet hits Mach 8, doesn't explode

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Now that is rocket science!

Still like blowing things up though

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How to simulate a light armoured vehicle

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Where do I sign up for knobology training?

And after a PhD you become Dr. Knob?

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AMD: New Trinity laptop chips out-juice Intel graphics

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting

I would be willing to try the chips (and other AMD/Radeon graphics), and the newer Linux drivers. Only problem is we would have to port quite a bit of stuff from CUDA to OpenCL (which might be a good idea anyway, similar performance and no vendor lock in).

Regarding the binary nVidia drivers, I have no problems there. I rather like the fact that after inserting a new nVidia card in my PC to replace the old nVidia card, Linux runs without any adaptation, whereas Windows needs a new driver.

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Road deaths spark crackdown on jaywalking texter menace

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Stupid rule!!

I must be allowed to keep up with the register anywhere, even whilst walking across the <SPLAT>

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Stuck in a dull conference? You need Verity's survival guide

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: The clever attendee.....

What, and miss out on free drinks and food, and any vendor freebees?

Think like a BOFH:

1. Go to the conference

2. Head for the bar

3. Wheedle/bribe/blackmail vendor into inviting you to another conference for free

4. goto 1

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SpaceX sets new blastoff date for Dragon: 19 May

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

You have got to admire these guys!

They are really getting the excitement in space exploration back to (near) Apollo levels.

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SpaceX and Bigelow sign deal for inflatable space stations in orbit

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Frobozz Magic Space Station

Unless you purchase the extra extended warranty, which extends for a further 74 milliseconds for a mere 25% surcharge!!

Only while stocks last!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Just found a problem with that subhead...

Or "Budget Suites in SPAAAAAAAAAAAACE!!"

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Vote now for the worst movie NEVER made

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: So...

You do not have to sit through them. Using the DVDs as frisbees can bring hours of healthy entertainment. Experiments microwave ovens are encouraged.

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BOFH: Siri, why do users lie?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: PFY 1 BOFH 0?

Not long, rest assured, not long

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Shy Venus in rare Sun crossing next month

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Re: Dont purchase anything

You are right when talking about looking through CDs and glass blackened with soot. There are however perfectly safe solutions. My Thousand Oaks glass objective solar filter works fine on my 8" scope. I watched and photographed the solar eclipse in 1999 with that scope, and the previous transit of Venus in 2004. Baader Solar film is perfectly safe, if attached correctly in front of the objective lens. All eyepiece filters are an absolute menace. I have recently made a solar filter out of it for my kids 4.5" F/4.4 Newtonian, and my eldest son and I had a nice view of sunspots through it. All harmful UV is blocked, and the total energy levels remain quite low.

Projection is actually dangerous in most reflectors, and certainly Maksutovs, Schmidt Cassegrains, and other scopes with fast primary mirrors, as the secondary can shatter under thermal stress, and even in fast refractors I would prefer a filter as the thermal stresses might cause eyepieces to shatter. In slow refractors projection is fine, especially as multiple can watch simultaneously.

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Study reveals high price of smut addiction

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Need help

"88 percent of respondents said they are willing to seek professional help to treat smut addicition, but would prefer to do it online;"

Well obviously they prefer to do it online, that was exactly the problem, wasn't it?

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Mozilla and Google blast IE-only Windows on ARM

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Google Calling the Kettle Black

I have installed Dolphin as my default browser (after trying and not liking firefox on android). No worries on that front

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Ape Apps help Orangutans talk to people

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: So...

It is SOOOOO tempting to suggest any orangutans on facebook would be in the upper quartile of users intelligence-wise .

But we must resist such temptations, must we not

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

OOOK

says it all!

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Miniature woolly mammoths once roamed Crete

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Minimammoths? Minmoths?

Mimmoths preferably pronounced to sound like Inspector Clouseau trying to say "mammoth", has my vote

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Am I alone in reading Mammuthus creticus as Mammuthus cretinus

Time to head home

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NASA spots the light of a ‘super-Earth’

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

The technique worked here, because a body heated to 2000K emits copious amounts of IR (and even visible radiation. Move an object of the same size to an orbit with a more hospitable (at least for us) 273-300K, or roughly 7 times cooler, the same surface emits 7^4 =2,401 times less radiation (or 8.5 magnitudes lower). That would make a super Earth at room temperature much harder to spot against the glare of the star.

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Hated Visual Studio 11 beta in HIGH-ENERGY colour blast

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Darn, so I cannot use my Hercules graphics card after all

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Google's self-driving car snags first-ever license in Nevada

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Speed limit on Autobahn? Only in some places. On most stretches they allow you to hit Mach 2. I once saw a video of a Renault Espace fitted with an F1 engine hitting 200 mph on a track. Perfectly OK for the German Autobahn.

The funny thing is most Germans support a 130 km/h speed limit, but that the car industry lobbies very successfully against it.

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Old-school Mars rover water findings confirmed

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Re: 3 month mission....

Brilliant, isn't it. Big thumbs up to the engineers!

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McAfee founder raided in Belize by gang-busting police

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Down

Re: serves him right

So the dog deserves to be shot for that?

My, my.

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Germans hail Vulture 1 spaceplane

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

What a result, good excuse for a pint or to this evening

(as if we need an excuse)

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Oracle claims $777m in new trial over SAP infringement

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Should have gone for

$777,777,777.77

in damages, just for the sake of it.

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