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Comment We built a ~9.1 TFLOPS system for $10k last year. (Score 4, Interesting) 205

What does SLI give you in CUDA? The newer GeForce cards support direct GPU-to-GPU memory copies, assuming they are on the same PCIe bus (NUMA systems might have multiple PCIe buses).

My research group built this 12-core/8-GPU system last year for about $10k:

The system has a theoretical peak ~9.1 TFLOPS, single precision (simultaneously maxing out all CPUs and GPUs). I wish the GPUs had more individual memory (~1.25GB each), but we would have quickly broken our budget had we gone for Tesla-grade cards.

Comment Geology Geeking: Carlsbad Caverns (Score 1) 363

If you are already going to be in New Mexico to see the Very Large Array, try to swing by the Carlsbad Caverns:

Sure, it's not tech-oriented, but I'm sure you can get your geology geeking on. It's not often one is in the area (BFE New Mexico), so take the opportunity. The caverns are not to be missed!

Comment What CPU? (Score 1) 76

It took a custom CPU to knock out the Tianhe (GPU-based) supercomputer. Did IBM plan to use an existing POWER chip, or were they trying to develop a new Cell-like (or other boutique) processor? IBM keeps saying that the future of Cell isn't dead. I wonder if NCSA thought they'd get more bang for their buck with a GPU-based solution?

XBox (Games)

Xbox Live Indie Games Struggle For Profitability 117

An article at the Opposable Thumbs blog examines the Xbox Live Indie Games economy, finding that developers are having trouble making enough money to justify continued work with the platform. Quoting: "If you want to publish a console video game, there's no easier route than the Xbox Live Indie Games program. But while it's relatively easy to get your game on the service, it's hard to get it noticed. There's a lot of junk on XBLIG, so much so that a group of developers banded together at the end of last year to promote quality indie titles. There have been success stories—like the recently released FortressCraft, which managed to sell 16,000 units on the day of release—but they're not exactly common. So with virtually no promotion, and with average earnings of just $3,800 per title, why do developers continue to create games for the platform? ...virtually all of the developers we spoke to are considering moving on from the platform. But all seem to view their experience as valuable, which in the end is part of the point of XBLIG: it's a place where virtually anyone can make a game that can be played on a console. Devs just need to know what they're getting into."

Comment The Cell is 5 years old. Judge by 2006 standards. (Score 1) 240

You might be forgetting that the Cell was released in 2006. The multi-core CPUs from Intel today are only just now starting to reach the peak theoretical performance than the Cell. Also, your Radeon was released when? 2009? Given Moore's law (which is still in effect for parallel architectures like Cell and GPUs), the factor by which your Radeon beats the Cell isn't too bad. Also note that the compute performance of an I/O device like a GPU can be limited by the I/O bus; both in terms of bandwidth and latency. GPUs used for computing typically perform best on large chunk, long running, computations. I believe that the Cell could possibly still trounce a modern GPU for smaller, less-memory intensive, jobs since it has access to main memory and is scheduled directly by the operating system (there's no GPU driver middle-man). This will change soon of course with on-chip integrated CPU/GPU solutions. However, it took nearly 5 years after Cell's release to get to that point.

So don't rag too much on Cell. It's very old, if not ancient, by microprocessor standards.

Comment Slashdot props for Wilkes (Score 1) 97

It's great to see that EDSAC will be rebuilt! I wonder if Maurice Wilkes, the project leader, was told before he passed away just this last November? He was probably the last of the "first generation" computer pioneers to pass away. Several slashdot stories of his passing were submitted, but I don't think it ever made the main page. At least he can get his props here now.

Submission + - First-Generation Computing Pioneer Passes (

Arakageeta writes: Sir Maurice Wilkes passed away the morning of November 29th at the age of 97. He is recognized as one of the early pioneers in modern computing, developing the first usable stored-program computer, Edsac, in 1949. He is among the last of first-generation pioneers to leave us.

Comment Re:Jailbreakers to announce a new hack in 5 minute (Score 1) 336

Didn't this hack merely put the console into development/debug mode? I haven't heard of anyone using the USB hack to so something more "low-level" like restoring the OtherOS feature or allow RSX access in Linux (after all, this USB hack should probably work for those who opted not to update to keep OtherOS). A Sony-created development environment sandbox is far different than a complete hypervisor hack.

Granted, I suppose it may be too early to assess what is really exposed by the USB hack.

Comment :( multi-step update (Score 1) 82

Ugh. I just updated on my Mac running 10.6.4. It looks like Adobe is still distributing Reader 9.3.0 as the default distribution package. I had to download/install this version and then apply individual patches for 9.3.1, 9.3.2, and finally 9.3.3. Annoying.

Perhaps it would have been easier had I updated from within Reader?

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