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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2541 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

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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HP Envy 14 Spectre Ultrabook

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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Road deaths spark crackdown on jaywalking texter menace

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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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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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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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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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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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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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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Should have gone for

$777,777,777.77

in damages, just for the sake of it.

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Samsung shows 'designed for humans' handset

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

So who did they design for previously? Orangutans?

OOK

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London Olympics 'not immune' to cyber attack

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Francis Maude?

team on crack?

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Facebook unfriends 19-inch data center racks

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

The only correct width is 42 (insert unit of choice)

obviously

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Britain prepares for government by iPad

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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So

exactly how many iPads may they claim on expenses?

Just asking

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Black hole swallows star in GALACTIC SUPER-GUZZLE!

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: So how rare is this?

If only it were a one in a million chance, we would see them every time

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Sega squirts urinal game console onto shop shelves

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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A page out of Harry King's book!

Mine is the one with "The Truth" in the pocket

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Dinosaurs were DRAINED of blood by GIGANTIC HORROR FLEAS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I can just hear a couple of surviving dinosaurs having a conversation

<Yorkshire accent>

"When I was a lad, we proper fleas, not these miniature little things that cannot bit through a piece of paper if they wanted to!"

"Right you are! I remember fleas that could bite right through a Triceratops's scales, he could"

"That's nothing, I saw some fleas that could drill straight through an Ankylosaur's club, no less"

"Rubbish, we had fleas which could drill for oil, they could, bite so strong it would go a mile through solid rock, it could!"

"And the problem with kids these days is that when you tell them they don't believe a word you say!"

</Yorkshire accent>

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Sony outs its first Ultrabook

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Prefer the Z-series

Came with better screens and nVidia graphics. Light machines which run CUDA stuff. Not cheap though. My even older Vaio SZ is still working, and even it can run more (older) CUDA stuff. No Ultrabook ticks that box.

Pity.

Fortunately, there has been a spate of very decent 13" and 14" laptops with nVidia 520 and 540 graphics on board. Cheaper than the Ultrabooks too. So, guess what I will get to replace my crumbling SZ.

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Intergalactic speed demon stars bid Milky Way farewell

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

If you look carefully and from the right angle

The stars spell

So long, and thanks for all the fish

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Moon at annual perigee this weekend

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: 10-1 on that

Ah, the well-known cloud magnet effect. My scope is 15-16 years old, but every time I buy a new eyepiece clouds rush in.

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Moore's Law has ten years to run, predicts physicist

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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@ Some Beggar

What Wirth means is that for a given task, the current software needs vastly more resources (CPU and memory alike) than similar software years ago.

Why is this worrying? Because it suggests that we could get by on much leaner compute capacity for many mundane tasks. It means machines that still work fine have to be replaced when the software is updated, and the minimum specs are upped again. This is ultimately wasteful. It also means that bigger server parks are needed for a given workload. If you can make code more efficient, less hardware is needed, and less energy is wasted. Mobile computing (like embedded) can give an impetus to leaner programs, simply because cutting clock cycles can cut battery usage.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: And not a moment too soon!

As Niklaus Wirth says: Software is getting slower faster than hardware is getting faster.

Word 2.0 was a very capable word-processor, and ran happily on my 25 MHz 80386 machine with 4 MB of RAM (I really splashed out on that machine :-) ). Word 2010 would require rather more. More in fact than the processing power and memory of the good old Cray Y-MP. That is worrying.

GUIs of course do need more resources, but the above example suggests you can run a full-blown GUI-based word processor in 1,000 times less memory than we seem to need today. If you look at the memory footprint of something like FLTK, which is so small you can afford to link it statically for easier distribution, and compare that to some other tools, you cannot help but question the efficiency of some code.

Much of the best coding is going on in the embedded-systems world. You really have to conserve resources in that arena.

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Nvidia: What would you do with a petaflops super?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: So much for being a global company.

I must say I was a bit miffed at not being able to take part. I have several ideas of what to do on a petaflop machine, but as I am not a US or Canadian resident (excluding Quebec (mais pourqoui?)) I cannot send them in. AMD had similar rules for their "what would you do with 48 cores?" competition. There may be some law in the US requiring this, so nVidia may be obliged by law to include this rule. Pity.

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New satellite will blow your socks off - and spot them from spaaaace

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Re: Right, so I will need even more RAM

"FFS - get yourself a high end graphics card! 256 cores + 1TB memory (or more) + proper parallel coding using CUDA. £300 will get you the dogs-danglies in the commercial world. If you want mil-aero specification - GE-IP have them for reasonable prices.

Image processing - visible, infra-red, microwave, radar, or all combined is exactly what CUDA on these high end graphics cards was designed for."

I assume you mean 1GB not 1TB of memory. If you can supply me a 1TB memory graphics card for £300, I am happy to give you a £300 tip :-). My images start at about 1GB, and end at 1.5 TB (for now). So they will not fit in my graphics cards (with the additional data needed during processing.

Regarding image processing and CUDA: For quite a few image processing problems you are right, in this case you are wrong. Connected filters that we use have a strictly data-driven processing order, which does not work well in CUDA. Indeed, because the outcome for every pixel depends on every other pixel (potentially), parallelization itself is hard (see the first method with can be found here (warning, pdf)). On 64 cores I am now getting about 30x speed-up. I am trying to adapt this to CUDA (or OpenCL) in collaboration with the CSIRO in Sydney, Australia, but we have not got it running yet.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Right, so I will need even more RAM

I am just testing a new compute server for processing remote sensing images (64 cores 512 GB of RAM). My first runs already use up to 480 GB of that, and chug through a detailed analysis of 3.5 Gigapixel image in just over two minutes (was nearly an hour). The new images will be 2.2x larger for the same area covered.

I WANT A TERABYTE of RAM!!!

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Twelve... classic 1980s 8-bit micros

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

I had an Enterprise 128

that was my optional title which was somehow removed (did I offend? ;-) )

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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These are not often mentioned, but they had quite a following. It was a neat machine, with Z80A and 128kB of memory expandable to 4MB, two asics controlling memory, sound and graphics. The memory worked at twice the clock frequency of the CPU, so the controller and CPU did not interfere (one had the even clock ticks, the other the ODD. Nice machine to play around with. Decent Basic, and word processor on board, very expandable. Linked it up to my Dad's daisy-wheel typewriter (what a racket that was

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Iran cuts off oil plants hit by mystery data-destroying virus

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

My guess: Windows ME

in which case you do not need to introduce a virus to have data and files going AWOL

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Six of the best ways to mess up IT change management

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Simply

Let the government handle it. That seems the most sure-fire way of messing things up.

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Enterprise apps to bring bespoke BACK FROM THE DEAD

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Bringing back bespoke BACK FROM THE DEAD!!

Bespoke zombie processes?

Sorry couldn't resist

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Suspected freetards to face piracy letters in 2014

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting infographic

It suggests bucks can be passed arbitrarily.

Useful, that.

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Look back in Ascii: Computing in the 1980s

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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How things have changed

We just did our first experiments with a 64 core machine with 0.5 TB of RAM. Great days back then, but boy are we spoiled now.

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Turing's rapid Nazi Enigma code-breaking secret revealed

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Interesting stuff.

A scan will be needed

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