January 19th, 2005

krazy koati

Do you love a laddy with curly brown hair?

I got up altogether too early for the second Information Technologies Day 2005 (my teaching schedule kept me away from the first). I chose to attend the track about high-performance ``grid'' computing, in the ongoing erroneous belief that my research may benefit from multiprocessor methods. (It won't; my problems are particularly ill-suited to it.)

Grid computing is using the techniques of networked supercomputers -- dividing jobs and sharing them across computers, trading bandwidth for speed -- to whatever systems you already have, not bothering to standardize them. You can get quite a bit of work done using otherwise idle clock cycles. That may not seem like much to stretch into four 45-minute talks, but it's not. The best talk was from the guy from Intel who explained the legal department wanted us to disregard everything he says about future products, but who's very happy about the idea of putting in more than one ``core'' per processor. Also they could make a 4 GHz Pentium anytime they really wanted but they don't want to, and the chip would be hot enough for spontaneous fusion anyway.

But I got a lovely bag of goodies for attending, and four chances at winning a prize drawing. The freebies include an T-shirt, a plastic water bottle, a coffee mug, a fabric case for something, and an Apple apple. That is, an apple inside a box from Apple, with the Apple Logo cut in one side to show the apple inside, the slogan ``byte into an Apple'', and a sheet of those ``facts and myths of the Macintosh.'' I'm surprised Apple Stores don't sell these, as the box is goofily appealing and nobody eats enough fruit anyway.

Trivia: The first cloverleaf intersection was built in Woodbridge, New Jersey, at the intersection of Route 35 and US Route 1. Source: New Jersey Firsts, Harry Armstrong and Tom Wilk.

Currently Reading: The Paper: The Life and Death of the New York Herald Tribune, Richard Kluger.