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Comment: Re:Crypto! (Score 2) 191

by TeknoHog (#47546057) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would You Do With Half a Rack of Server Space?

Yeah, CPU-only coins last for about 48 hours before a GPU miner is released. As far as crypto-coins the fact is, a modern graphics card is faster than almost anything a CPU can do.

This applies mainly to those that simply choose a semi-standard hash algorithm, such as one of the SHA3 contestants or a combination thereof. Often there is GPU code already available, and building the miner is all about reading some specs and writing some glue code*. Also, most of these coins are based on Bitcoin and simply change the hash algo.

However, most Cryptonote coins (using the Cryptonight algo) have lasted for ages without an open GPU miner. For starters, they are not forked off Bitcoin. Boolberry is a Cryptonote coin with a different algo, which makes it faster to sync, while still aiming for GPU resistance. An open GPU mining codebase was released just a few days ago, and there's still work to do for general distribution. Besides, Boolberry's algorithm needs several MB of fast cache, which is OK with GPU texture cache at the moment, but it will grow over time, possibly making GPU mining unfeasible again.

*(I wrote a GPU miner for JH-256 coins in a few days with no prior GPU/OpenCL experience. Endianness is a bitch.)

Comment: Re:No, no unfair advantage at all... (Score 1) 152

by ATMAvatar (#47543707) Attached to: Amputee Is German Long Jump Champion

I can't imagine why anyone would accuses him of 'cheating' ...

The device is like a spring, so it stores energy as well as having extra length and mechanical advantage, and better still its far stronger and requires much more force to break.

I'm sorry he lost his leg, but there is no why this is 'fair' by any sense of the word.

Oh, and I suppose Pitch-O-Mat 5000 was just a modified howitzer?

Comment: Re:Meh (Score 1) 83

by TeknoHog (#47538135) Attached to: How Stanford Engineers Created a Fictitious Compression For HBO

Or if you're into math, you invoke the pigeonhole principle So the limit of useful compression (Shannon aside) comes down to how well we can model the data. As a simple example, I can give you two 64 bit floats as parameters to a quadratic iterator, and you can fill your latest 6TB HDD with conventionally "incompressible" data as the output. If, however, you know the right model, you can recreate that data with a mere 16 bytes of input. Now extend that to more complex functions - Our entire understanding of "random" means nothing more than "more complex than we know how to model". As another example, the delay between decays in a sample of radioactive material - We currently consider that "random", but someday may discover that god doesn't play dice with the universe, and an entirely deterministic process underlies every blip on the ol' Geiger counter.

IOW, Kolmogorov complexity. For example, tracker and MIDI files are a great way to "compress" music, as they contain the actual notation/composition rather than the resulting sound. Of course, that doesn't account for all the redundancy in instruments/samples.

So while I agree with you technically, for the purposes of a TV show? Lighten up. :)

IMHO, half the fun of such TV shows is exactly in discussions like this -- what it got right, where it went wrong, how could we use the ideas in some real-world innovation. I find that deeper understanding only makes me enjoy things more, not less, and I enjoy "lightening up" my brain cells.

Comment: Re:Slashvertisement? (Score 1) 92

by TeknoHog (#47510503) Attached to: Buying New Commercial IT Hardware Isn't Always Worthwhile (Video)

In the past few years, USB has gotten much faster

I agree with most of your post, but this is simply false. USB 3.0 is a completely new interface, bolted on USB 1/2 to make it seem like a seamless transition.

I used to think USB is all about selling a new interface with an old name. For example, in a few years we'd have a CPU socket called USB 14.0, but hey, at least it's USB. Now I have a USB 3.0 hard drive, and the mini plug/socket in particular shows how it's just USB 1/2 + 3.0 bolted together. So my new future prediction is USB 17.0 where you have this fist-sized lump of connectors from different ages, all tied into one bunch to ensure backwards compatibility.

BTW, I have two Intel Core CPUs here, Core 2 Duo T7200 (released 2006) and Core i5 520M (2010), both "mobile" CPUs. The former is a lot faster under certain workloads. In practice, they are roughly equal, and the new one probably has better power efficiency, but it's not exactly the level of progress I'd expect.

Comment: Use case? (Score 1) 42

by ponos (#47509319) Attached to: NVIDIA Launches Tegra K1-Based SHIELD Tablet, Wireless Controller

I don't really see the need for gaming on the go, and if such a need exists, isn't it sufficiently covered by existing gadgets (smartphone or non-gaming tablet)? Furthermore, are the current tablet games worth buying hardware specifically for the job? What would be the point of Angry Birds at 120fps?

Anyway, the hardware looks cool, but the fact that no other manufacturer bothered to use the nvidia hardware is a bit disconcerting. If it were the best thing since sliced bread, many designs would have flooded the market.

Comment: M-Theory and gravity (Score 2) 147

by blincoln (#47495577) Attached to: Can the Multiverse Be Tested Scientifically?

Ever since I read The Elegant Universe years ago, I've had a number of questions related to this (as I imagine many people have). This is the first time I've seen the topic discussed by professional scientists, though, as opposed to people like myself with a hobby interest in the subject or in science fiction (Alastair Reynolds makes use of it in one of the Revelation Space novels, for example).

For the most part, it seems like String/M-Theory is very difficult (at best) to test using technology we have access to at present. But because it includes the idea of gravity being a force which can travel between branes, it's seemed to me and a few friends of mine that this would definitely produce some interesting effects in the real world.

As the article discusses, there should be some subtle evidence of the effects of gravity from external sources on the large-scale structures of our own universe. I would think maybe even enough to at least partly explain "dark matter" and "dark energy", since those are basically the known matter in our universe behaving as if there were a lot more mass that we can't actually see (one set to hold relatively closely-spaced matter together, and the other to accelerate the expansion of the large-scale structures away from each other, if I understand correctly).

A simple flatland-style analogy for "dark energy" might be that our universe is a sheet of paper which is intersected by a universe which is wrapped around into a tube shape or a torus. The gravity of the mass in that second universe pulls objects in our universe toward it, so for the part of our universe in the "eye" of the tube, they tend to accelerate away from each other. That's a vast oversimplification, but I'm not a physicist :).

For "dark matter", the idea that's always stuck with me since reading The Elegant Universe is that maybe some/all of the most massive objects in our own universe - especially the black holes at the centers of galaxies - are caused by the same kind of cross-brane effect. If you have a bunch of matter clumping together in one brane/universe, and it exerts gravity which can cross into other branes, then it seems like it would create corresponding accretions of mass in other nearby branes. Basically, that what we perceive to be a roughly spherical/point object would effectively be the hyperdimensional equivalent of that same shape that would "pin" itself together across branes.

Where I see this as becoming testable (and I could be wrong - again, I'm not a physicist) is that if this were the case, there should be examples of anomalous astrophysical objects and events, where the mass we observe does not line up with effects we also observe. For example, a stable neutron star suddenly flashing into a black hole when it passes too close (hyperdimensionally, of course) to a large mass in another brane. Another example might be a star or planet whose mass can't be reconciled with its observed size - e.g. maybe there is a planet the size of our moon, but which exerts gravity as if it were made entirely out of a material ten times as dense as uranium.

I know that in the context of our own universe/brane, there's no way to pull matter out of a black hole (other than Hawking radiation), but assuming the "hyperdimensional singularity"-type thing I described above is accurate, would it be possible for the cross-brane components to separate (since they wouldn't actually be touching, just exerting gravity on each other)? If so, there might be even stranger observable effects, like neutron stars that "flash" into black holes, but then return to their former state when the mass in the other brane(s) is pulled too far away. IE they would "blink".

Comment: Re:Free market economy (Score 1) 528

Every so often we get to vote, but we are limited to two choices,

The only thing limiting you to two choices is you. Many ballots have third parties. You are free to run in those that don't. By stating to yourself and others that there are only two choices, you are part of the problem.

I use technology in order to hate it more properly. -- Nam June Paik