Friday, January 25, 2008

Weird Real-World Pipeline

One of the things I asked my students to do when we studied pipelining was to find a real-world pipeline. I'm thinking, you know, the Model A assembly line, that kind of thing.

One of my students came up with this one.

A little context: this "Algorithm taisou" (exercise), invented here in Japan, as far as I know, is normally done by a couple of young guys in suits who go out into the real world and find a half a dozen people (firemen, factory workers) to do this little rhythmic routine with them to music. It's used as an interlude during an NHK kid's program.

You can argue pretty easily that this is a real, eight-stage pipeline. It even has structural hazards: the air between the people ("instructions") flowing through is a shared resource, and the pipeline is carefully constructed so that collisions ("pipeline stalls" or incorrect operation) never occur (as long as the dance is done right :-). I don't see any data or control hazards, though.

More on ZCAV

Disk zoning gets you a nice boost in both transfer rate and capacity, but it doesn't get enough attention as a factor in things like file system design. Russell Coker has written some nice utilities and even blogged about it. To be immodest for a second, I wrote a USENIX paper about the topic more than a decade ago.

What prompted the post was spotting a beautiful ZCAV (disk zoning) effect.

You can see the nice little arc in it, and looks like 16 zones for the Seagate drive.

I've been thinking about this recently, since I lectured about disks last week...and my own hard drive crashed. Yow. I'm think I'm cool, though. Not sure if it was hardware or software. My best guess is unwritten cache writes, but the logical volume manager info got trashed, and it shouldn't have been touched...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Spam From ISI?

No, not USC's Information Sciences Institute, where I used to work, but the other ISI. Did I sign up for this, or are they actually spamming people?

From: ISI Research
Reply-To: ISI Research
To: R Van Meter
Subject: Breaking news for publishing authors
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2008 01:43:16 -0500 (15:43 JST)

As a publishing author represented within Current Contents (R),
Biosis Previews (R) and Web of Science, from ISI, you require
the latest news and resources to stay current in your research.
That's why we think you'll benefit from getting valuable research
information right at your desktop -- for free.

>From time to time, you'll receive e-mails with:

* "Call for Papers" requests from scholarly publishers
* News related to your field of scholarly research
* Information about journals and books in your areas of interest
* New product information connected to your field of research

The information you receive will help you discover groundbreaking
ideas and track the progress of the latest developments. And it will
give you opportunities to try important, new resources that can
change the way you conduct research.

We hope you will find this information convenient and essential to
your work.


George Kowal
Marketing Manager
Scientific Direct
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Philadelphia, PA 19104

You have received this e-mail in the genuine belief that its contents
would be of interest to you. To not receive these messages from
Scientific Direct or other carefully selected organizations, please go
to our preference page.

Anybody got George Kowal's address? ISI should be a better company than that...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Ryo "Oscar" Sakaguchi

As long as I'm singing the praises of our graduates, congratulations are definitely in order for Ryo Sakaguchi, who is sharing a Scientific and Technical Academy Award (Oscar) with Dr. Doug Roble and Nafees Bin Zafar for their work at Digital Domain (where they work with my pal Wook, who recently got married) on fluid simulations used in effects for e.g. "Pirates of the Caribbean".

Congratulations, Ryo!

You Go, Girl

I just found out that Yukari Yoshihara (nee Yukari Umezawa, the name she still uses on books and whatnot) is a graduate of Keio University's Shonan Fujisawa Campus, where I teach. Yukari is a 5-dan professional go player and holds the Women's Kisei title, making her one of the best women players in the country, indeed, probably the world.

Pro go players rarely graduate from college; they usually become "insei" (apprentice go players) at about fifteen, and some don't even bother to finish high school. She, like most pros, was recognized early for her genius.

Yukari is the official technical adviser to the "Hikaru no Go" series of manga. Reportedly, she likes teaching, which is one of the reasons she elected to graduate from college.

Although Keio is Japan's oldest (and, of course, best :-) private university (150 years old this year, making it older than either of my other two alma maters, Caltech and USC), but the SFC campus is only about 17 years old. Yukari, no surprise, was one of the founders of the SFC go club.

I must hang my head in shame that I haven't played a game at all in over six months. Moving, commuting, three trips to the U.S., piano lessons, and that minor thing called work got in the way of more important things, like family and go.