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Comment: Re:Let me be the first to say... (Score 4, Interesting) 142

by godrik (#48606021) Attached to: Want To Influence the World? Map Reveals the Best Languages To Speak

except the nearest bus station is not the world.

I am actually not sure how TFA comes to the conclusion that spanish would be a good second language. The question should be "assuming I already speak English, which second language should I speak." If 95% (pulled out of a hat) of spanish speakers also speak english, then learning spanish might not actually allow you to reach much more people.

Comment: Re:$1tr question--Why is all this Internet-facing? (Score 3) 528

by godrik (#48528265) Attached to: The Sony Pictures Hack Was Even Worse Than Everyone Thought

Well, it is probably linked to the fact most of these companies are international companies with employees all over the world needing some form of interaction with the data.

If you really want to get an internal network that is disconnected from the internet, it means that you will need an army of monkey copying data using memory sticks to feed the data bank and bringing reports back to the employee that needs it. And that induces super high latency in the system.

The problem seems difficult to me. Completely isolated networks might have an unreasonnable operational cost. (Though a massive data breach might just be as bad.)

Comment: Re:Algorithm (Score 1) 602

by godrik (#48517021) Attached to: UK Announces 'Google Tax'

You are exposing yourself to Hollywood accounting by doing this.
Say you want to pay taxes in country FOO because the taxes are better there. You choose to subcontract your wallpainting to a company in FOO that charge you an insane amount. Your big company no longer makes any profit, and the wallpainting company is making tons of profit at FOO's rate.

Of course, this one is obvious and will certainly be considered fraud. But there are more subtle ways of doing the same thing that will look legitimate.

Comment: Re:IT industry has no use of the illegal immigrant (Score 2) 186

The summary mention an extension of the OPT visa which are essentially granted to foreign students after completion of a degree in the US. This extension of OPT will certainly benefit these students as the length of OPT typically leaves little margin of error to move to a different status.

I don't know whether it is a good thing or not for the tech industry, but there are lots of STEM student directly affected by that.

Comment: Re:500KPH - but what is the average *journey* spee (Score 2) 419

by godrik (#48393281) Attached to: Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph

It really is a matter of infrastructure. When I was living in france, I never drove a car. It was not useful. Driving was typically not much faster than taking the train. I could go to my university in 45 minutes while driving took about 35 minutes. But that gave me the opportunity to read in the train and to take a daily walk.
Later I was studying in Grenoble and my parents were living in Paris. To go and see my parents, public transportation (bus+train_tgv+train_city+bus) was taking about 4 hours and a half, 3 of them were in the "main train" which gave me time to do homework, read a book, whatever. The total cost was under 100 euros round trip. The same trip driving would have taken me 6 hours of actual driving (plus pauses) and cost at least 60 euros of gas.

Now, in the US, it is much more difficult becasue even if you had a good train, there would still be no public infrastructure one you arrive. But I guess you could rent a car.

Comment: Re:Error: They did not use LaTeX (Score 1) 170

by godrik (#48373061) Attached to: What Happens When Nobody Proofreads an Academic Paper

exactly, if my student writes the paper, I might not read the latex file myself. What I typically do is that all things that are not meant to be part of the article is either a \note{} or a \todo{} which resolve to write in bold, red, and change background color to yellow (or green). That way, it is impossible for me to miss it before it is sent to the reviewers.

Comment: Re:type of assignment (Score 1) 320

by godrik (#48371185) Attached to: Duke: No Mercy For CS 201 Cheaters Who Don't Turn Selves In By Wednesday

I am teaching one of these classes right now (but in a different institution). And I can tell you that there is a lot of variability in students submissions even for very simple algorithms. When I accuse a student of cheating (which happens unfortunately quite often), I usually have NO DOUBT that the code was copied from somewhere else.
You find groups of functions which match exactly code found online and which are written in a style completely different from the rest of the assignment.
You find functions with variable name different from an online template and that group of function is not indented at all, while the rest of the code is. Soon after you realize that copy pasting from that website screws up formating. No student would write it that way.
Sometimes you find comments in the code from a language the student does not speak.

In my opinion, we (whoever teaches computer science) are typically VERY conservative before saying that a code stems from plagiarism.

Comment: Re:Can this stuff be farmed out? (Score 1) 125

by godrik (#48262333) Attached to: 16-Teraflops, £97m Cray To Replace IBM At UK Meteorological Office

Actually, this is misconception. The cloud can probably deliver 16Pflops. The problem with the cloud is not computation power. It is communication bandwidth and latency.

What makes a supercomputer is the balance between processing capability, communication capability and IO speed. For many applications, you need to be able to synchronize the processors with very little overhead. Many scientific application work under the following patterns: do a small computation, make a small communication with your neighbors, rince repeat for 10 hours. If you do not have balance capabilities, you are wasting lots of ressources. This is the type of computation the cloud can not really help you with.

Now if your application is: get 1MB of data, compute for 2 week, send 1MB of data. Then the cloud will be fine. Unfortunately, not many scientific applications follow that model.