[Beowulf] El Reg: AMD reveals potent parallel processing breakthrough

Skylar Thompson skylar.thompson at gmail.com
Sun May 12 07:42:27 PDT 2013

On 05/12/2013 07:07 AM, Lux, Jim (337C) wrote:
> I think that if we want people to design and fix automobile and jet
> engines, it is a wise thing to start them with lawnmower and moped engines
> first, rather than have their first hands on experience be with a
> hypersonic SCRAMjet burning hydrazine and FOOF.
> Or in this case, if you want students to learn about network topologies,
> fault tolerance, etc.: I'd rather they do it on something that fits on a
> desktop, is tangible (I can pull a cable and cause a "link failure") than
> try to turn them loose managing the internet.
> If they make a mistake and screw up that Arduino, it's cheap to fix or
> replace. It gets "reflashed" every time you load a new program. You may
> have the best PC support organization in the world, but reloading
> someone's boot drive, or managing thin clients with net boot, is going to
> be more timeconsuming and expensive.

Hear, hear. I know a lot of people (me included) that learn better 
through failure than success. It's not until a pre-med student sees a 
dead person carved open that she really understands anatomy, and it's 
not until us HPC folks see a network of computers performing poorly or 
failing unexpectedly that we really understand all the dependencies 
between the parts.

Our job as seasoned veterans should be finding ways for beginners to 
fail cheaply (both in terms of initial impact and recovery), so that the 
failure can be a good learning experience.


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