Archive for the ‘Computer’ Category

100 million cores by 2018

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

There is an article in Computer World about the future of super computers. They are talking about Exaflop systems.

Rudy Rucker, in his Software/Wetware books, discussed the future of computation and he felt that Teraflop machines would be common in the 2020s. Currently the fastest machines are Petaflop supercomputers.

The next highest step, Exaflop or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 (that’s 18 zeros) floating point calculations per second is due around 2018.

No matter who you ask, an Exaflop exceeds the computing power of a human brain. Of course these super computers won’t be programmed to emulate a human brain, but they will be given problems that human genius cannot solve just by thinking.

The article talks about the Energy Department using this computer for Grid control and possibly designing an Atomic Fusion power generator. (This on the day it was announced that we are running out of Uranium for fission reactors.)

The computers will be used for the very complicated systems computing used to predict weather, but I think that analysis of the human genome and the modeling of human biology with the idea of curing disease will be important. The computer will be capable of designing billions of possible drugs and then testing them on genetic models refining the results so that shortly after these Exaflop computers appear there will be cures for all diseases.

2018, by the way, is right in line with estimates for the Singularity. I want to believe!

Supercomputers with 100 million cores coming by 2018.

Personal Desktop Supercomputer

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Silicon Graphics has released a desktop workstation that qualifies as a super computer. My guess that it can be configured at about 50 teraflops. (A teraflop is a trillion floating point arithmetic operations per second.)

Hans Moravec estimated the computing power of the human brain at 100 teraflops, although some other researches have placed it out at 1,000 times higher. Regardless, we are in the right neighborhood if a desktop computer can even approach the speed of a human brain.

The human brain, in addition to the computing power of billions of neurons, has some fancy programming going on that will not be accurately simulated for a while. The fact that we are creating computers now which are nearly as powerful as a human brain does not mean that anyone has been able to make a computer that thinks like a human. That is ways off (not too far, though).

If trends hold then the computers should continue to increase in capacity and power exponentially, doubling every 18 months. There are some physical limits to the current technologies, but that doesn’t mean that new technologies will not appear to keep the growth on track.

In 2015, then, desktop computers should be at least 16 times more powerful than they are now. Super computers which are a few orders of magnitude more powerful than this desktop, will have the capacity a dozen human brains. Within our lifetimes there will be cheap computers that are smarter than ourselves living in our cell phones.

What will happen, and I am sure of this, some clever programming will result in a human equivalent intelligence program that will be several thousand times smarter than the smartest human who ever lived. There will be lots of these computers working on the difficult unanswered questions of our time. They will solve health issues for us resulting in very long lives. We will get free energy and perhaps even the ability to travel to the stars.

It all starts around 2015, but may be as late as 2025.

Until then, be nice to your computer.

SGI Unveils Octane III Personal Supercomputer.

Netflix Prize

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

I like programming and I am especially good at working on large sets of data. I’ve always had a job where I have to work on fuzzy information and distill it down to a few essential nuggets. One of my first programming jobs was for the old Western Union (the original one that sent telegraphs, not the current “send money to Nigeria” one). I was on the SWAT team for making special reports. I had to learn a half dozen odd computer languages in order to extract weird information from their huge databases. I used tools like Snobol, Maxis and Ramis, which are long forgotten, to sort through data and summarize it.

The Netflix Prize is an award of $1,000,000 to the person who can improve on their algorithm to predict which movies a person will like based on their previous purchases.

I have some ideas that might or might not work. I’m going to give it a try.

A bad thing is that I have been given 5 new projects in the last week and each one is due yesterday. Screw that, I am badly in need of nice crunchy programming problem.

Netflix Prize: Home

Programmer Fan Mail

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

I don’t make it easy to contact me. My email is often hidden, missing or obfuscated. I still get about 300 spam messages a day in my gmail spam folder, which I have to check just in case.

I just checked my spam and found a message from someone who likes my Craigslist telecommute job search at my site Gthread.com.

Marianne wrote:

I love you Keith P Graham! Ok not literally, but this search form rules!!! If I get the job I want from this experience I’ll name something of importance (to me) after you. :-) You get good karma points.

http://www.gthread.com/craigslist_search/

Programmers don’t get that much respect. Mostly because there is always something wrong with out code. It is nice to hear something nice for a change.

Gmail is Down

Monday, August 11th, 2008

I need my email fix. This  seems to be a big deal and lots of people are reporting problems.

Temporary Error (502)

We’re sorry, but your Gmail account is currently experiencing errors. You won’t be able to use your account while these errors last, but don’t worry, your account data and messages are safe. Our engineers are working to resolve this issue.

Please try accessing your account again in a few minutes.

Gthread – new automatic web pages

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Erica had mentioned that one mention of Laser Eye Surgery had changed all of the Google Adsense links on one of her web page from the normal topic into Lasiks ads. These ads pay $10 a piece. Note: this is not necessarily per click. The target web sites usually have Google Analytics installed so that I think Google only pays on the click if the surfer clicks on a few pages and stays for more than a minute.

Working on another variation of my mad scheme to make a living off of the web I made several pages of medical, legal and other high pay search terms at my site Gthread.com. I’ve made a few dollars in the last month or so, but nothing beyond a few random clicks. This is the first time that I’ve actually tried to target a keyword for just money. In the past, I always was interested in the results. It’s not like String Theory or Telecommute writing jobs would make much money.

I did add one more personal interest web page. The Exploration of Jupiter Digest is for my own satisfaction (nothing there so far today except a test). I have 3000 words of a Jupiter adventure that is turning out far better than I expected. I have a lot of work to do. I just changed it so that the beginning has to be rewritten. I also just found out that Jupiter’s day is only 9 hours 55 minutes so this puts a new time limit on my adventure story. It has to finish just as it night falls on Jupiter.

Harpamps Hacked

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

My site harpamps was hijacked. It seems to have come from one of my advertisers. Someone made some kind of malicious javascript that sends  browsers to another web site. I am the process of removing everything I can from the site.

Panasonic "Let’s Note" is Back

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Last Winter, the little Panasonic ToughBook “Let’s Note” that Justine brought back from Hong Kong, rolled over and played dead. I took it apart (like a puzzle box – about 30 screws) and I pulled the hard drive. I was able to pull lots of information off of it and then format the drive, but I was never able to get the little ToughBook to work.

Yesterday afternoon, it was raining and I didn’t fell like doing anything ambitious, so I thought that I’d try one more time before I put it up for sale on eBay for parts. I put it on the dining room table and operated on it for an hour.

It now works!

It is a nice little machine, but the drivers are not to be found anywhere. Panasonic acts like this version of the ToughBook (called Let’s Note in Hong Kong) does not exist. I can not find the drivers for it.

I have drivers for the video, the wireless and the touchpad because they are made by other manufacturers and I got their drivers, but the Ricoh card reader seems to be Panasonic specific and I can’t get the Sound to work. The drivers at Panasonic are all keyed to a bios model number and don’t load if you use the wrong one.

It is good for the bus, though because it is very light and small. The keyboard is cramped and I can’t touch type on it because the punctuation, delete and backspace are all in the wrong places. I might get used to it, though – I was pretty good at it last Winter when it died.

Tomorrow morning I will use it to try to write a “Stranded” flash for AR. I have a few ideas so I will “blue sky” them into a document and then on the way back, look and see if any of them have wings. So far, my ideas have been bland. I need a conflict that can resolve in under 1000 words. I don’t like flash that are like extended jokes. I don’t like flash where the resolution is to reveal a hidden fact: e.g. the narrator is dead or is an alien or is in a VR game. A flash with a punch line sucks. I want to make it a real story.