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Comment Re:Somewhat hyped (Score 1) 48

How is this relevant? The algorithm is for speeding up Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) analyses, which are very commonly used in science to examine posterior probability distributions for a particular model. I run MCMC codes most weeks and they're becoming increasingly more common in my field of science. Being able to speed up the analysis by a large factor to avoid model likelihood evaluations would be very valuable.

Comment Re:Interlacing? WTF? (Score 1) 113

The Amstrad PCW also had a complex memory layout for the screen. It had a "Roller RAM" lookup table for each row which could be modified in order to achieve fast scrolling of the screen. The memory for a single character was also stored sequentially in the memory.

The Almighty Buck

Kids To Get the Best CS Teachers $15/Hr Can Buy 157

theodp (442580) writes "Billionaire-backed, enthusiastically tweets U.S. Dept. of Education Chief Arne Duncan, is 'providing tremendous leadership in bringing coding & computer science to our nation's schools.' Including bringing kids in Broward County Public Schools the best computer science teachers $15.00-an-hour can buy, according to a document on the school district's website. One wonders how the Broward teachers feel about apparently coughing up $38.33-an-hour for Chicago teachers who attend the required professional development, which ironically covers equity issues. Duncan's shout-out comes days after claimed in its Senate testimony that 'our students have voted with their actions [participating in an hour-long, Angry Birds-themed Blockly tutorial starring Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates]: that learning computer science is this generation's Sputnik moment, that it's part of the new American Dream, and that it should be available to every student, in every school, as part of the standard curriculum.'"

Submission + - ESA's long term plan to investigate the invisible universe

xiox writes: The European Space Agency (ESA) have decided that its next two large astronomy missions (costing 2bn Euros) will be to study two aspects of the "invisible universe". The first will be a very large X-ray telescope to be launched in 2028. It will study the physics of the hottest and largest structures in the universe, investigating how they formed and evolved. It will also investigate how black holes grow and affect the universe. The second mission, launched in 2034, will be an observatory capable to measure gravitation waves, the stretches and compressions in space-time caused by massive moving systems, such as merging pairs of black holes. Although the final designs are not yet chosen, the two proposed observatories Athena and eLISA are likely choices. BBC News has more information.

Comment Re:Windows and Mac binaries: difficult (Score 1) 176

It's not so difficult if it's pure Python and you're not compiling anything. The main problem was getting Qt to compile so I could compile my extensions. For your project, I'd make a virtual machine with something like WinXP (this makes it easier to make new releases if nothing changes), install Python and the associated PySide. Install any other modules you need. I used PyInstaller to make the runnable exe file. See e.g. here for my pyinstaller file. I then used NSIS to make an installer using this configuration file.

Comment Re:Windows and Mac binaries: difficult (Score 1) 176

Well, there's Visual Studio Express 2005, 2008, 2010, and 2012. That's not so hard. You will want to use 2012 since that is the latest.

In theory, though Python is compiled with a particular version of Visual Studio. It's rather hard to compile for yourself, as the latest versions aren't supported. Extensions have to be compiled with the same version as Python or you get cross-compatibility C library problems. This makes it tricky if you want to link a Python extension (an old Visual Studio version) against Qt (perhaps mingw when I looked at it). I ended up having to compile everything against the version of Visual Studio that Python was built with.

Don't use the registry. DLLs = .so, installers = installers. That's about it.

I try to avoid the registry, but you have to at least register file types there and Qt uses it to store settings be default. DLLs weren't too bad until I got to the stage of manifests and conflicting crt versions.

Comment Windows and Mac binaries: difficult (Score 4, Informative) 176

It can be very difficult. My scientific plotting package, veusz, was written using Python and Qt, so it should be easily portable. However setting up a sensible developer environment on Windows to compile the Python C extensions was a nightmare. Windows is pretty developer-hostile if you're used to Linux. Trying to find and install the correct version of Visual Studio Express was difficult. I had to learn far too many things about the registry, DLLs, building installers, etc. Mac OS X was rather more difficult, however. You have to download the massive Xcode and the non-standard way that Mac OS packages executables and libraries was very difficult to understand. It took a long time to get fat binaries working.

You do get a different class of user on Windows and Mac OS X, however. The Linux people are closer to being knowledgeable about development, whereas Windows and Mac OS people are primarily users, wanting more help and hand-holding.

Comment Re:BC Breaking changes in 3 (Score 1) 242

You know it is entirely possible to write 2.7 code that works with nothing more than a pass through 2to3. That does mean that any libraries you depend on are available for 3.x but the problem of lacking support from 3rd party libraries is beginning to diminish as more are ported over at an increasing rate.

It's also possible to write code for 2.6/2.7 which works fine with 3.3+. With the aid of the six module or similar ideas you can work around the differences. Many people think this is the best way to have joint compatibility with python 2 and 3. It also makes it possible to do the development with python3, which running 2to3 doesn't allow. As others have mentioned, there is no good 3to2.

Comment Re:Worked for 4 years. (Score 1) 204

The minimum design lifetime isn't the actual lifetime of the mission. I believe there is enough helium for three years, but the multistage cooler is designed to be able to run in the event of coolant loss. ASTRO-H replaces ASTRO-E2 which suffered a catastrophic coolant loss. There are more details here, but it's behind a paywall.

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"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm. Gag me with a smurfette." -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354