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Ask Slashdot: Clusters On the Cheap? 264

First time accepted submitter serviscope_minor writes "A friend of mine has recently started a research group. As usual with these things, she is on a shoestring budget and has computational demands. The computational task is very parallel (but implementing it on GPUs is an open research problem and not the topic of research), and very CPU bound. Can slashdotters advise on a practical way of getting really high bang for buck? The budget is about £4000 (excluding VAT/sales tax), though it is likely that the system will be expanded later. The computers will probably end up running a boring Linux distro and Sun GridEngine to manage batch processing (with home directories shared over NFS)."

Comment Re:I demand the right to determine... (Score 1) 241

You can use any name you like, as long as you are not intentionally using a name to defraud someone. There may be restrictions on the name you use for certain particular legal purposes (though there aren't in England - to change your name, you just need to start using your new name, a deed poll is just a record of the change if you need official documentation of it).

Comment Re:Carmack (Score 1) 616

But with the added overhead of reference counting, which is an additional method call every time an object pointer is copied or passed or returned from a function. This is a bit of a problem in C++, where method calls can be inlined; with Objective-C's more heavyweight method calls, I would think this would be a fairly big overhead. I'm sure it's a much larger overhead than real garbage collection (although it does have the advantage of being deterministic).


Music Copyright War Looming 243

quarterbuck writes with this excerpt from the NY Times: "When copyright law was revised in the mid-1970s, musicians, like creators of other works of art, were granted 'termination rights,' which allow them to regain control of their work after 35 years, so long as they apply at least two years in advance. Recordings from 1978 are the first to fall under the purview of the law, but in a matter of months, hits from 1979, like 'The Long Run' by the Eagles and 'Bad Girls' by Donna Summer, will be in the same situation. ... 'We believe the termination right doesn’t apply to most sound recordings,' said Steven Marks, general counsel for the Recording Industry Association of America, a lobbying group in Washington that represents the interests of record labels. As the record companies see it, the master recordings belong to them in perpetuity, rather than to the artists who wrote and recorded the songs, because, the labels argue, the records are 'works for hire,' compilations created not by independent performers but by musicians who are, in essence, their employees."

Comment Re:Interesting, yet scary. (Score 1) 440

Government action that interferes with free speech is a violation of the First Amendment, whether that government action is specifically a law or not; see for example, limitations of the restrictions public schools can and can't place on the speech of students. BART (which is a government agency) likewise is limited by the First Amendment in what restrictions it can place on speech - it probably can regulate the time, place, and manner of speech, which might include disabling cell phones for safety purposes, but certainly this incident raises First Amendment questions.

Comment Re:Stupid slope (Score 1) 440

Except that no-one else on the platform, and not the CCTV that's available, backs up the story about the guy coming at the policeman threateningly with a broken glass bottle and a knife (see here). And given the record of the BART police over the past few years, I'm not sure we should give them the benefit of the doubt as to whether they're accurately describing this situation.

Comment Re:Got it wrong (Score 1) 594

To keep the string length, you'd have to employ a struct.

No, strings with a listed length would also be pointers to a series of integers - it's just that, instead of giving a value special semantics (0 as end of string), you give a position in the series special semantics (store the length in the first two bytes). In both cases, you need your string-handling functions to be aware of whatever the convention is.

Computational efficiency. Many if not most operations on strings don't need to know how long they are. So why suffer the overhead of keeping track? That makes string operations on null terminated strings on average faster than string operations on a string bounded by an integer.

I don't know that that's true. Operations that do need to know the length of the string could be quicker, and I'm not sure that these cases are less frequent. What are the common cases you are thinking of where C-style strings are faster?


Google Announces Google CDN 205

leetrout writes "Google has introduced their Page Speed Service which 'is the latest tool in Google's arsenal to help speed up the web. When you sign up and point your site's DNS entry to Google, they'll enable the tool which will fetch your content from your servers, rewrite your webpages, and serve them up from Google's own servers around the world.'"

Comment Re:HDD -- SSD (Score 1) 221

I've not experienced a single case in which the Xorg drivers actually equalled the proprietary drivers.

I assume you haven't used the ATI drivers, then. IME, the open source drivers are much more stable and easy to get working than fglrx.

The opossum is a very sophisticated animal. It doesn't even get up until 5 or 6 PM.