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

Vincent Diepeveen diep at xs4all.nl
Sun May 12 22:36:25 PDT 2013

On May 12, 2013, at 8:18 PM, Geoffrey Jacobs wrote:

> On 05/12/2013 12:25 PM, Vincent Diepeveen wrote:
>> Geoffrey,
>> I sense clearly that you keep overlooking the BIGGEST problem.
>> Namely that the guy at home has a car and he feels he can drive  
>> it. In
>> fact he can.
>> And that you are going to teach the guy how to drive a moped.
>> Are you realizing what i try to make clear all the time?
> Bad analogy. A better one is:

It is exactly a good analogy, because a raspberry-pi cluster is going  
to be a LOT SLOWER
than the cpu + gpu that the student has at home.

Now the less talented students might follow your course, get a degree  
and then start a PHD - which is one of the problems over here in
The Netherlands and if i look at the facts it's similar problem in USA.

The majority of the highest IQ-ed students simply got bored so much  
that they didn't want to end up like their teachers as they consider
majority of them pathetic.

Now on this list using ways to teach making you look like pathetic is  
getting promoted as being a good thing to do.

I would say that sometimes teaching methods are sometimes a result of  
not having much of a budget - whereas historically a single  
university in USA
had more budget than all universities in The Netherlands together.

For example during my student time which started in 1993 and it's  
unclear when it ended, we had to reserve to be busy for an hour on a  
computer at the
university. It was initially poor low clocked unix machines. When new  
machines got bought, they were 60Mhz HP machines.

They said swap swap each time and were ugly slow.

At home i had a pentium-133Mhz.

For my C codes, as i write C of course for speedy codes not C++ (C++  
is for interface and interfaces only where i use Qt for, for a bunch  
of years now),
the P5-133Mhz was a bunch of factors faster than the 60Mhz box at  

Note you cannot blame the sysadmins from those days taking that  
decision. They complained semi-publicly that they got forced to buy  
those machines by the professors,
as they wanted themselves to buy a PC which were factors cheaper, in  
order to give each student a PC.

In some other universities in Netherlands the situation was a lot  
better at computer science departments.

Yet it seems that where society progressed - the mind of the  
professors did not. They keep falling back at the same mistakes.

> Guy has a car at home. He wants to drive a highway tractor. You start
> him off with an empty trailer before letting him move valuable  
> cargo and
> hazardous goods on the interstate.
> I'm curious, Vincent. You have built a Beowulf cluster before, right?

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