Revisiting the ‘P’ in HPC

21 June 2012

“Don’t ask me about the ‘P’ in HPC…” is something that I’ve said a lot over the last half decade.

Readability.com::The Era of Pervasive Computing

The article uses the phrase “the Era of Connected Devices”, but I like the phrase “the Internet of Things.” I won’t bother listing the “things,” but the Readability.com posting was specifically focused on “sensors and devices that will monitor and sense our environments, collect data and provide timely and critical feedback.”

I like this quote: “Everything that will benefit from a connection will be connected.”

The following is something I wrote on 1 April 02009…

About the ‘P’ in HPC

HPC stands for High Performance Computing. Historically, the ‘P’ in HPC stood for “performance;” however, these days it stands for much more.

The following is my attempt to define HPC in one sentence.

HPC is a highly pervasive computing environment that
enables highly productive computing via a highly persistent
cyber-infrastructure that exploits highly parallel computing
to provide highly powerful computation.

With less than two years left in decade zero of the 21st century, HPC is really HP^6C — High Performance, Productivity, Pervasive, Persistent, Parallel, Powerful Computing.

HPC systems not only provide peta-scale computation, but they also provide powerful storage systems and, in many cases, powerful visualization systems (e.g. ASU’s Decision Theater).

HPC systems (which for the most part are hardware) need software and these days the software is way behind the hardware. In other words, today’s software is not even close to exploiting the power of HPC systems.


Human Genome; Autonomous Vehicles; Supercomputing; SpaceX

1 June 2012

From a sociopolitical perspective the 21st century has been a dud, but ignoring that…

Human Genome Project completed in 02003; DARPA Grand Challenge successfully met in 02005; DARPA Urban Challenge successfully met in 02007; TOP500 top supercomputer tops petaflops in 02008; IBM’s Watson wins Jeopardy! in 02011; SpaceX successfully completes its first mission in 02012.

[update::02012.06.01] This posting should have included the following… Yesterday (02012.05.31) the front page of the Arizona Republic had the following headline: “U.S. broadening cyberwar strategy”. Today the New York Times has a news story titled “Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran”. My gut tells me cyberwarfare, which I think is in progress, is going to be uglier than ugly.


Beyond Today — Peter Diamandis and Larry Page

24 May 2012

Technologies riding Moore’s Law… “Infinite Computing, Networks & Sensors, Robotics, 3D Printing, Synthetic Biology, Digital Medicine, Nanomaterials, Artificial Intelligence”

Quoting Peter Diamandis: “…technology has been the mechanism for turning scarcity into abundance.”

Near the end of his talk Diamandis predicted that by 02020 there will be “three billion new minds” on the Internet.

YouTube.com::Beyond Today – Peter Diamandis – Zeitgeist 2012

Next up is Larry Page: “…the pace of change is really accelerating.” Page told his audience that for many people in the world “their smartphone will be their first computer.”

I use and like Google+ (G+). Google+ has grown from zero users to 170 million users (April 02012) since it launched on 28 June 02011 (i.e. 11 months ago).

With respect Google Search, Page says the company needs to get to the point where they can “represent knowledge” and that they are “really looking at synthesizing knowledge.” In a nutshell: Semantic web.

Larry Page likes the University of Michigan slogan have a healthy disregard for the impossible.

YouTube.com::Beyond Today – Larry Page – Zeitgeist 2012


Ubiquitous Sensing I Get, But What’s Nanodata?

11 April 2012

The Computing Trend that Will Change Everything had the sub-title “Computing isn’t just getting cheaper. It’s becoming more energy efficient. That means a world populated by ubiquitous sensors and streams of nanodata.

Ubiquitous sensors imply streams of data. That I get. But what’s nanodata?

Harvesting background energy flows, including ambient light, motion, or heat, opens up the possibility of mobile sensors operating indefinitely with no external power source, and that means an explosion of available data.

An “explosion of data” implies to me yottadata (as in yottagoo). Again, what’s nanodata?

According the MIT Technology Review article, nanodata is “customized fine-grained data describing in detail the characteristics of individuals, transactions, and information flows.” To me it seems as if nanodata is a form of metadata (i.e. data about data).

I still don’t get the term nanodata, but I consider that okay. Bottom-line: It’s possible ubiquitous sensors is our future and that implies infinite data being piped into an Infinite Computing environment.


“Abundance” Chapter One Review

18 March 2012

I have finished the first two chapters of the book “Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think” by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler.

The following are some quotes from Chapter One.

“When seen through the lens of technology, few resources are truly scarce; they’re mainly inaccessible. Yet the threat of scarcity still dominates our worldview.”

I agree. U.S. politicians excel at using scarcity FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) to get elected.

“The high-tech revolution created an entirely new breed of wealthy technophilanthropists who are using their fortunes to solve global abundance-related challenges.”

It’d be fun, fun, fun to be a technophilantropist.

“[…], but it’s the combination of the Internet, microfinance, and wireless communication technology that’s transforming the poorest of the poor into an emerging market force.”

I liked this phrase…

“[…] amplified by exponentially growing technologies […]”

Chapter One ends with the following.

“Imagine a world of nine billion people with clean water, nutritious food, affordable housing, personalized education, top-tier medical care, and nonpolluting, ubiquitous energy.”

The authors of “Abundance” think it’s possible and so do I.


Three Tweets by @compufoo

25 October 2010

On 25 October 02010, the @compufoo Twitter account had 515 tweets, 21 followers, and was following zero.

The @compufoo Twitter account was setup to support my “Computer Science For Non-CS Majors” class. I asked the students to follow @compufoo, but I did not require them to do so. More than half of the students were not Twitter users; consequently, only about half of the class started following @compufoo.

The following are the last three tweets tweeted by @compufoo prior to writing this blog posting.

[02010.10.25] Computing students should follow Dan Reed. RT @HPCDan HPC and the Excluded Middle http://bit.ly/dj0B8s

Dan Reed is a supercomputing guru. In 02006, President George W. Bush appointed Dan Reed to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

[02010.10.25]“Dawn of a New Day” by Ray Ozzie http://goo.gl/ti6w via @robinwauters & @techcrunch

On 18 October 02010, Ray Ozzie — one of the creators of Lotus Notes — stepped down as Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect.

[02010.10.23]What will the Internet look like in 10 years? http://www.isoc.org/tools/blogs/scenarios/

The Internet Society (ISOC.org) is a non-profit that was founded in 01992 to “provide leadership in Internet related standards, education, and policy.”


KKK (Kapor, Kurzweil, Kay)

26 August 2010

02010.08.26: Day two of the Introduction to Computer Science class.

[Note: This posting uses 5-digit years.]

Rewind three weeks…

02010.08.03 at 2:10pm @mkapor tweeted:

I’m grouchy that so few people (except us old-timers) have even heard of Ted Nelson http://bit.ly/cGbsWC (Wikipedia bio)

Observe: Mitch Kapor hyperlinked into the Wikipedia.

02010:08.03 at 2:11pm @mkapor tweeted:

All of the web is in essence a pale shadow of just one of Ted Nelson’s dreams. Now do I have your attention?

Hmm… Who is Mitch Kapor?

2010.08.03 at 2:15pm @nanofoo in reply to @mkapor:

I’m going to make sure my CS1 students learn a bit about Ted Nelson this fall. They’ll come in knowing Gates & Jobs, but not Nelson.

@nanofoo never got reply from @mkapor, but @rossk did…

02010.08.03 at 2:48pm @rossk in reply to @mkapor:

where should the Nelson-newbie start?

02010.08.03 at 8:07pm@mkapor in reply to @rossk

Read “Computer Lib” by Nelson. Also see the Wired article on him for a dissenting view

Mitch Kapor did not provide his followers with hyperlinks, but here they are: Computer Lib/Dream Machine (dot-pdf) and Wired.com: The Curse of Xanadu


This posting uses 5-digit years and that is because I am a member of the Long Now Foundation. [Follow on Twitter @longnow.]

In 02002, Mitch Kapor made the first Long Bet (By 02029 no computer – or “machine intelligence” – will have passed the Turing Test.) with Ray Kurzweil. Hmm… Who is Ray Kurzweil? [Follow on Twitter @KurzweilAINews.]

02010.08.25 at 12:00pm @compufoo tweeted:

I agree with Ray Kurzweil that “exponential growth is the reality of information technology.” #future

I learned a lot from reading reading Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near.

In a nutshell, Kapor and Kurzweil are futurists whose last names start with the letter ‘K’. There another futurist whose last name starts with the letter ‘K’ and that is Alan Kay. In the Introduction to Computer Science we use the C++ programming language. C++ supports object oriented programming (OOP) and Alan Kay is considered one of the fathers of OOP.

Alan Kay was once quoted saying: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

The following picture of the Foundation Building at Arizona State University was taken during early August of 02010.

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." -- Alan Kay