[Beowulf] Ethernet break through?

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Tue Apr 3 07:29:23 PDT 2007

On Tue, 3 Apr 2007, Gerry Creager wrote:

> Finally, complete documentation would have to be generated, and rgb or one of 
> his clones has not stepped forward to offer such assistance.  As he (or one 
> of his clones) usually anticipates major innovations in technology and 
> pre-writes said documentation, this casts a pall on the potential viability 
> of the concept.

Not so.  In fact, my bots finished the documentation six years ago in
anticipation of this day.  However, the documentation is not being
>>released<< because very soon now the idea of sewer based transit will
be revived (making the water-pipe idea obsolete) as you forgot one key

You see, we are about to discover how to encode data on DNA, which (as a
direct molecular encoding) is extremely efficient -- multiple terabytes
of data can be stored in a gram of pure DNA.  You may not be aware of
it, but excrement is about 30% dead bacteria.  There is a top-secret
team working hard on a special (somewhat invasive) "interface" that will
reach right into your bowel and perform recombinant DNA activity in
real-time to place messages right into the DNA of e.g. E. Coli.

Once encoded and packetized, the message will be placed into a data
buffer using traditional methods and flushed through into the fat pipe
that leads to the data consumer.  The consumer, in turn, will have to
process the message to extract the highly redundant bacterial packets,
use little-bitty shears to cut the base pairs in just the right places
to extract the message while throwing away the irrelevant message
headers that (we can imagine) comprise the bacteria's "time to live"
data, PCR up the packet contents and decode the slightly compressed base
4 packet contents.  A bit of packet resequencing and the full message
can easily be reconstructed, hopefully without a handshake.  As an
incidental bonus, java is well known to stimulate an increase in message

Once the message is digested, the process >>can<< be repeated the other
way -- full duplex communications are certainly possible although at the
moment I don't think the protocols for message collisions have been
properly defined.  The protocol is still a bit messy, in other words,
and it isn't clear what one has to do if the message collides with a
propeller-based bridging device that is designed to keep one's data flow
moving (already being called "the fan" by the data teams working on the
routing and retransmission of packetized messages).

Another problem these teams are dealing with is the nontrivial risk that
viruses can be transmitted along with the message, but antiviral
solutions are readily available over the counter for a few dollars.  One
of the primary advantages being touted for the protocol is that it
should once and for all solve the problem of SPAM.  Bacteria won't eat
it.  Overall, the protocol is a great favorite of the "green" crowd as
all packets are ultimately biodegradable and recylable, although they do
result in an unfortunate co-production of methane, a well-known
greenhouse gas.

Anyway, these remaining issues are doubtless easy to resolve, and what
the protocol lacks in latency it will make up in bandwidth.  I can
definitely think of several groups whose attitude toward the world could
only be improved by giving them their very own messaging interface as a
permanent insertion.

Consumers (especially government consumers) are standing by eager to
adopt the new technology.  Although sending messages will require a
significant infrastructure investments running network conduit from
office to office and installing appropriate interface hardware in all of
the office workstation chairs, the messages thus sent within, say, the
Pentagon, will be extremely secure -- Islamic terrorists, for example,
won't be able to touch them.

Congress likes the idea because the introduction of a new (already
patented, sorry) technology like this clearly benefits US hardware
manufacturers hitherto ignored in the general technology boom and will
doubtless require immense amounts of highly sophisticated and
proprietary software that only one company in the world is in a position
to write. I understand that Microsoft is working hard on building the
software tools to encourage the spreading of the technology within
certain fertile fields of human endeavor, and there is a rumor that they
have a plan already in place to smear existing networking protocols to
where nobody will want to handle them any more.  I just hope that it
isn't a case of Microsoft being willing to "eat its own dog-FUD" here --
I think that the ASPCA will have something to say about any attempt to
use canines in place of data tech workers and interface units.

Finally, although it is currently top-secret (and I only know about it
because of the transluminal nature of the offspring of the GEEZER daemon
and rgbbot that is actually typing this message, rgb being away on
vacation and absolutely not responsible for its contents as he can
easily prove -- he has long since washed his hands of the entire
discussion), certain unspecified but VERY highly ranked members of our
government wish to use it as a secured channel for discussing the war in

They >>will<< have a bit of difficulty with the interface insertion as I
believe they are currently using the requisite socket for their head
nodes, but I'm sure that this technical difficulty will soon be
resolved, if necessary by increasing the width of the data path in some

And now I <ahem> I mean my bots, must stop.


> gerry
>> On 4/1/07, *Douglas Eadline* <deadline at clustermonkey.net 
>> <mailto:deadline at clustermonkey.net>> wrote:
>>     I just posted some interesting news on Cluster Monkey.
>>     http://www.clustermonkey.net//content/view/192/1/
>>     --
>>     Doug
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Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu

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