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A Blog by Malcolm Yoke Hean Low

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Chinese Computer is the world's fastest - and without using US chips

Posted on Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 11:17 AM by Malcolm

A Chinese supercomputer built using domestic chip technology has been declared the world's fastest. The news highlights China's recent advances in the creation of such systems, as well the country's waning reliance on US semiconductor technology. Read the rest of the article here.

Edited on: Saturday, September 10, 2016 12:01 PM

Posted in HPC (RSS) , Research (RSS) , Tech (RSS)

Flying Math: Bees Solve Traveling Salesman Problem

Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 1:57 AM by Malcolm

Bumblebees foraging in flowers for nectar are like salesmen traveling between towns: Both seek the optimal route to minimize their travel costs. Mathematicians call this the “traveling salesman problem,” in which scientists try to calculate the shortest possible route given a theoretical arrangement of cities. Bumblebees, however, take the brute-force approach: For them, it’s simply a matter of experience, plus trial and error, as reported in this Wired article.

Posted in Science (RSS)

Unit Testing: Is There Really Any Debate Any Longer?

Posted on Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 2:00 AM by Malcolm

On a panel several years ago, Dr. Dobbs's editor-in-chief Andrew Binstock was asked what was the greatest benefit that Agile had delivered to him personally. It took him no time to respond “unit testing.”

While this answer is not historically accurate — unit testing precedes the Agile movement — it’s clear that the Agile exponents made it a widespread practice. In large part, because of Kent Beck’s lapidary JUnit implementation, which has been widely copied to most major languages.

The specific benefit Andrew — and many other developers — have enjoyed is quite simply less time spent in the debugger. Today he writes code and then he writes unit tests that exercise the edge cases and one or two main cases. Right away, Andrew can tell if he missed something obvious or if his implementation has a slight burble that mishandles cases he expected to flow through easily.

Read the rest of this artcile here.

Posted in General (RSS)

Improving Futures and Callbacks in C++ To Avoid Synching by Waiting

Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 9:35 AM by Malcolm

The C++11 standard provides several long-requested concurrency features such as the std::thread, std::future, and others. While those are a welcome addition to the language, in this article, the author showed that they are not sufficient for all but the most basic concurrency needs. He further argued that the primitives in C++11 are particularly ill-suited for modern applications that must deal with the concurrency imposed by I/O operations and exploit multicore at the same time. Microsoft's Parallel Pattern Library (PPL) provides a solution using tasks. Read the rest of the article here.

Posted in HPC (RSS)

Dead Sea Scroll Online by Google

Posted on Saturday, October 01, 2011 at 7:10 PM by Malcolm

Google has made available high resolution photographs of the Dead Sea Scroll online along with the English translation of the original Hebrew text.

Edited on: Saturday, October 01, 2011 7:18 PM

Posted in General (RSS) , Science (RSS)

Google Dynamic View

Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 10:12 PM by Malcolm

Google has launched a completely rebuilt, streamlined authoring and editing experience with seven new ways to display blogs in Blogger called Dynamic Views.

Built with the latest in web technology (AJAX, HTML5 and CSS3), Dynamic Views is a unique browsing experience that will inspire readers to explore blog in new ways. The interactive layouts make it easier for readers to enjoy and discover posts, loading 40 percent faster than traditional templates and bringing older entries to the surface so they seem fresh again.

Edited on: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 9:19 AM

Posted in (RSS)

Microsoft opens Windows 8 preview to all

Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 10:07 PM by Malcolm

Microsoft has made a preview of Windows 8 available to anyone who takes the time to download it.

Windows 8 Developer Preview, as Microsoft called the pre-beta build, was posted to a company website shortly after 8 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday.

The downloads, which range from 2.8GB to 4.8GB in size, come with no restrictions, a company spokeswoman confirmed earlier in the day.

The links to download Win8 torrents are here:

Windows 8 Developer Preview 64-bit + Developer tools

Windows 8 Developer Preview 64 bit

For the torrent for 32bit version, check out this whopping 11.3GB of download. Use selective downloading (unselect the 64bit ISOs in the file list of your torrent client).

Windows 8 Bundle

The direct download links:

Download Windows 8 Developer Preview (64-bit) with Developer Tools

Download Windows 8 Developer Preview (64-bit) without the developer tools

Download Windows 8 Developer Preview (32-bit)

Edited on: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 9:21 AM

Posted in General (RSS) , Tech (RSS)

Parallel Microsoft-Style

Posted on Monday, August 22, 2011 at 10:25 PM by Malcolm

"Actors avoid the dangers of the shared-memory model because they touch only the data that's sent to them in messages. If they need some external data, they request it from other actors (by sending the request in the form of a message). In addition, the data actors receive is immutable. They don't change the data, rather they copy it and transform the copy. In this way, no two threads are ever contending for access to the same data item, nor are their internal operations interfering with one another. As a result, the nightmares I described earlier disappear almost completely."

This article from Dr. Dobb Journal discussed how the actor model of concurrency is gaining favor in Java but remains largely ignored by Microsoft.

Edited on: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 10:31 AM

Posted in HPC (RSS)

Google Instant Pages

Posted on Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 10:55 PM by Malcolm

Google Instant Pages is now on by default in the latest stable version of Chrome. This means that sometimes when you click a Google search result in Chrome, the page will appear to load much faster than before. The video above shows a side by side comparison of Chrome with and without Instant Pages enabled.

Posted in (RSS)

Smart Sheet

Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 at 11:23 PM by Malcolm

Smartsheet is used by thousands of companies for online project management, task management, and many other types of work. Edited on: Thursday, September 08, 2011 10:52 AM

Posted in (RSS)

New Position

Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 11:43 PM by Malcolm

I have left NTU in June 2011 and is now with D-SIMLAB Technologies.

Edited on: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 10:31 AM

Posted in (RSS)

Google Chrome Notebook

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 10:19 AM by Malcolm

The puzzle embedded in the video has been solved. See: Jamendo geeks solve the hidden Chrome OS equation (and win a Cr-48 netbook);

Google Chrome Blog: X = G / (C*H*R*O*M - 3);

Edited on: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 2:15 PM

Posted in (RSS)

Forget Brainstorming

Posted on Tuesday, August 03, 2010 at 5:51 PM by Malcolm

According to this article from newsweek, brainstorming has been proven not to work since 1958, when Yale researchers found that the technique actually reduced a team’s creative output: the same number of people generate more and better ideas separately than together.

Posted in General (RSS)

The State and Future of JavaScript

Posted on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 10:07 AM by Malcolm

Douglas Crockford talks on the history of JavaScript unveiling some of the struggles the Ecma Technical Committee has had in advancing the language over the years, concluding with lessons learned: if one has a great idea he should not tell it to a standardization body but rather do it, a change to a widely used standard is an act of violence, standards are hard, and one cannot please everyone

Posted in General (RSS) , Tech (RSS)

Happy New Year 2010

Posted on Friday, January 01, 2010 at 12:03 PM by Malcolm

Happy New Year 2010 Comments and Graphics for MySpace, Tagged, Facebook

Edited on: Friday, January 01, 2010 2:19 PM

Posted in General (RSS)

What Should We Teach New Software Developers? Why? - CACM article by Bjarne Stroustrup

Posted on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 at 11:58 PM by Malcolm

What Should We Teach New Software Developers? Why?
Bjarne Stroustrup in CACM viewpoint, "Fundamental changes to computer science education are required to better address the needs of industry. Computer science must be at the center of software systems development. If it is not, we must rely on individual experience and rules of thumb, ending up with less capable, less reliable systems, developed and maintained at unnecessarily high cost. We need changes in education to allow for improvements of industrial practice."

Posted in General (RSS) , Teaching (RSS)

Software Engineering Method and Theory: Call for Action Statement

Posted on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 8:12 AM by Malcolm

The Software Engineering Method And Theory (SEMAT) Community Call for Action Statement:

Software engineering is gravely hampered today by immature practices. Specific problems include:
  • The prevalence of fads more typical of fashion industry than of an engineering discipline.
  • The lack of a sound, widely accepted theoretical basis.
  • The huge number of methods and method variants, with differences little understood and artificially magnified.
  • The lack of credible experimental evaluation and validation.
  • The split between industry practice and academic research.
We support a process to refound software engineering based on a solid theory, proven principles, and best practices that:
  • Includes a kernel of widely-agreed elements, extensible for specific uses.
  • Addresses both technology and people issues.
  • Is supported by industry, academia, researchers and users.
  • Supports extension in the face of changing requirements and technology.

You can become a supporter of the community by signing up at the site:

Edited on: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 9:01 AM

Posted in General (RSS)

A System-based Approach to Spares Management

Posted on Thursday, October 01, 2009 at 4:06 PM by Malcolm

The traditional approach to inventory provisioning sets all spares requirements to a level that meets an item’s performance measure, such as a stock-out protection level, a fill rate, a mission critical rate, or a confidence level. Such an approach cannot explicitly consider the overall performance of the system, nor can it be constrained to a set total cost for the spares mix.

However, a spares' benefit should be measured in terms of the projected increase in system availability by adding that spare to the inventory. The system-based inventory provisioning approach is significantly different from the traditional item approach for generating spares requirements, which treats all items the same. In system-based inventory provisioning, spares can then be ranked in terms of benefit, then divided by cost as a measure of the desirability of adding them to the inventory. The problem then is to answer the question "What mix of spare parts is required to keep the system at some level of operational performance for a specific scenario?". An optimal solution in this case means a solution in which no other mix of spares can provide a greater system availability for the same cost, or the same system availability for less cost (within the scope of the model assumptions and data). Thus, there exists not just one solution, but a set of solutions that represent different trade-off between system availability and cost.

An example of system-based inventory provisioning is the work on the Aircraft Sustainability Model from the Logistics Management Institute which is a mathematical statistical model used by the United States Air Force to computes optimal spares mixed to support a wide range of possible scenarios. Another example is the D-SIMSPAIR product from D-SIMLAB Technologies which uses simulation-based optimization to compute optimal mix of aerospace rotables for maintenance contracts.

Related Links:

Edited on: Monday, September 19, 2011 4:47 PM

Posted in General (RSS) , Research (RSS) , Tech (RSS)

Compilers and More: OpenCL Promises and Potential

Posted on Saturday, September 12, 2009 at 12:49 PM by Malcolm

In this article, Michael Wolfe from PGI discusses different aspects of OpenCL. Given all the hype, what can we expect from OpenCL? Is it really simple? Is it portable? Will it replace other parallel programming models?

Posted in HPC (RSS)

Ebook: HPC for Dummies

Posted on Thursday, September 10, 2009 at 12:37 AM by Malcolm

Ebook: HPC for Dummies

This special edition eBook from Sun and AMD shares details on real-world uses of HPC, explains the different types of HPC, guides you on how to choose between different suppliers, and provides benchmarks and guidelines you can use to get your system up and running. Get it here.
Edited on: Thursday, September 10, 2009 12:57 AM

Posted in General (RSS) , HPC (RSS)