Friday, April 20, 2007

PyDQ (PDQ in Python) Web Pages Get Updated

For all you Python fans, I've updated the PyDQ web page with more online examples to get you started. For example, the communications network model has been revised to use NumPy inline to solve the traffic equations for the internal flows. Previously, I had solved those simultaneous equations separately using Mathematica.

The online PDQ Manual is also being revised to include PyDQ functions and code examples.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

How Long Should My Queue Be?

A simple question; there should be a simple answer, right? Guerrilla alumus Sudarsan Kannan asked me if a rule-of-thumb could be constructed for quantitatively assessing the load average on both dual-core and multicore platforms. He had seen various remarks, from time to time, alluding to optimal load averages.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

More On Penryn

In a previous blog entry, I noted that Intel was planning to release "penryn" in the final quarter of this year (2007). During a conference call Monday morning, Intel executives provided an overview of the more than twenty new products and initiatives being announced later today at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing, including new performance specs for the company's next generation Penryn processor family.

Intel said that early Penryn performance tests show a 15 percent increase in imaging related applications, a 25 percent performance increase for 3D rendering, and more than 40 percent performance increase for gaming. The tests, according to Maloney, were based on pre-production 45nm Intel quad core processors running at 3.33 GHz with a 1333 front side bus and 12 MB cache versus a 2.93 GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme (QX6800) processor, just announced last week . Intel said that for high-performance computing, users can expect gains of up to 45 percent for bandwidth intensive applications, and a 25 percent increase for servers using Java. Those tests were based on 45nm Xeon processors with 1,600-MHz front side buses for workstations and HPCs, and a 1,333 MHz front side bus for servers - versus current quad-core X5355 processors, the company said.

During the call, Intel execs also took the opportunity to reveal a few more details on Project Larrabee, a new "highly parallel, IA-based programmable" architecture that the company says it is now designing products around. While details were scant, Maloney did say that the architecture is designed to scale to trillions of floating point operations per second (teraflops) of performance and will include enhancements to accelerate applications such as scientific computing, recognition mining, synthesis, visualization, financial analytics, and health applications.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Forget Multicores, Think Speckles

Prototypes of the so-called "speckled computers" will be presented at the forthcoming Edinburgh International Science Festival.

"Speckled Computing offers a radically new concept in information technology that has the potential to revolutionise the way we communicate and exchange information. Specks will be around 1 mm3 semiconductor grains; that's about the size of a matchhead, that can sense and compute locally and communicate wirelessly. Each speck will be autonomous, with its own captive, renewable energy source. Thousands of specks, scattered or sprayed on the person or surfaces, will collaborate as programmable computational networks called Specknets.

Computing with Specknets will enable linkages between the material and digital worlds with a finer degree of spatial and temporal resolution than hitherto possible; this will be both fundamental and enabling to the goal of truly ubiquitous computing.

Speckled Computing is the culmination of a greater trend. As the once-separate worlds of computing and wireless communications collide, a new class of information appliances will emerge. Where once they stood proud – the PDA bulging in the pocket, or the mobile phone nestling in one’s palm, the post-modern equivalent might not be explicit after all. Rather, data sensing and information processing capabilities will fragment and disappear into everyday objects and the living environment. At present there are sharp dislocations in information processing capability – the computer on a desk, the PDA/laptop, mobile phone, smart cards and smart appliances. In our vision of Speckled Computing, the sensing and processing of information will be highly diffused – the person, the artefacts and the surrounding space, become, at the same time, computational resources and interfaces to those resources. Surfaces, walls, floors, ceilings, articles, and clothes, when sprayed or “speckled” with specks will be invested with a “computational aura” and sensitised post hoc as props for rich interactions with the computational resources."

I have absolutely no idea what that last sentence means in English, but it sounds like an interesting research goal.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Top 10 Computer Jobs to Get Offshored

A Princeton economist has published a study showing how many jobs he considers to be at risk of being offshored over the next 10 years. The following table (extracted by me) shows his ranking of computer-related categories having a high chance of being offshored (shown as a percentage):

You can interpret "computer system analyst" (an accurate but slightly archaic term in row 4) as performance analyst or capacity planner.

Links to his report, as well as another by the ACM, are available at the Pulse.