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Comment Yahoo Needs Neither Microsoft Not Google (Score -1, Insightful) 214

Jerry Yang did the right thing, in my opinion. He must hold on to his core search and advertising business. However, he would do well to diversify as soon as possible. Consider that both Microsoft and Intel have been riding on last century's legacy technology (x86 and Windows) for a long time. That sweet ride can't last forever. Now that the industry is transitioning from sequential processing to massively parallel computing, and given that neither Microsoft nor Intel have delivered on the real promise of multicore processors, Yahoo has the opportunity of a lifetime to sneak behind those two slow-moving behemoths and steal their pot of gold. Someone should tell Jerry before it's too late. Multicore processors is where the real action is at. Whoever solves the parallel-programming/multicore-design problem will rule the computer industry in this century.

Submission + - Multithreading Joins Gates as Yesterday's Man? (theregister.co.uk)

MOBE2001 writes: "Excerpted from The Register:

[...] Multiple processor architectures introduce a new class of programming problem. Writing software to get the best performance from multiple-processor systems is far from straightforward. Issues such as synchronization, load balancing, memory protection and task distribution place new demands on programmers and those building tools that are used by developers.

Chip builders have concentrated on the use of multi threading. Intel, for example, has invested heavily in multi-threading technology with its thread building blocks (TBB) library extensions to C++. But the validity of multi threading is under attack. Veteran programmer Knuth said in a recent interview that multithreading may not be up to the task and could fail. As such, he is "unhappy" with the current trend towards multi-core architectures.

[...]Knuth — the author of the seminal programmers' manual The Art of Computer Programming and a Turing Award winner — has to be taken seriously on this. And he is not alone. Sun Microsystems' director of web technologies Tim Bray, one of the team that created XML, has also criticized multi threading. Bray said that, while he once favored the approach, he had now turned away from it. Elsewhere the criticism of multi threading is even more direct.


Submission + - Single Threading Considered Harmful (blogspot.com)

MOBE2001 writes: There has been a lot of talk lately about how the use of multiple concurrent threads is considered harmful by a growing number of experts. I think the problem is much deeper than that. What many fail to realize is that multithreading is the direct evolutionary outcome of single threading. Whether running singly or concurrently with other threads, a thread is still a thread. In my writings on the software crisis, I argue that the thread concept is the root cause of every ill that ails computing, from the chronic problems of unreliability and low productivity to the current parallel programming crisis. Obviously, if a single thread is bad, multiple concurrent threads will make things worse. Fortunately, there is a way to design and program computers that does not involve the use of threads at all. See Parallel Computing: Why the Future Is Non-Algorithmic for the full article.

Submission + - Sorry, Still No Time Travel (blogspot.com) 1

MOBE2001 writes: The bad news is that time does not change. Spatial velocity is given as dx/dt. Velocity in time(dt/dt) is nonsensical. As simple as that. In other words, no time travel to the past or the future, no motion in space-time, no wormholes and no hanky-panky with your great, great, great grandmother. There is only the changing present, aka the NOW. This is the reason that Sir Karl Popper called spacetime, "Einstein's block universe in which nothing ever happens" (Conjectures and Refutations). The good news is that distance is an illusion and we'll be able to travel instantly from anywhere to anywhere.

Submission + - Why Parallel Programming Is So Hard (blogspot.com)

MOBE2001 writes: "The human brain is a super parallel signal-processing machine and, as such, it is perfectly suited to the concurrent processing of huge numbers of parallel streams of sensory and proprioceptive signals. So why is it that we find parallel programming so hard? I will argue that the reason is not because the human brain finds it hard to think in parallel, but because what passes for parallel programming is not parallel programming in the first place. Switch to a true parallel programming environment and the problem will disappear. Read the rest of the article."

Submission + - Panic in Multicore Land (blogspot.com)

MOBE2001 writes: "There is widespread disagreement among experts on how best to design and program multicore processors. Some, like senior AMD fellow, Chuck Moore, believe that the industry should move to a new model based on a multiplicity of cores optimized for various tasks. Others (e.g., Anant Agarwal, CTO of Tilera Corporation) disagree on the ground that heterogeneous processors would be too hard to program. Some see multithreading as the best way for most applications to take advantage of parallel hardware. Others (Agarwal) consider threads to be evil. The only emerging consensus seems to be that multicore computing is facing a major crisis. [...] In a recent EETIMES article titled "Multicore puts screws to parallel-programming models", AMD's Chuck Moore is reported to have said that "the industry is in a little bit of a panic about how to program multicore processors, especially heterogeneous ones." Full article: Nightmare on Core Street."

Submission + - IMPACT's smart SOA conference

An anonymous reader writes: Learn how to extend the possibilities of the technology behind Web Services and SOA. With 400+ Technical Sessions, and 220 customer speakers who will share their SOA experiences, this annual conference on SOA and WebSphere offers unparalleled technical SOA and Web Services education. The conference is scheduled for April 6 — 11 in Las Vegas — register today.

Submission + - Snortable Drug Keeps Monkeys Awake

sporkme writes: A DARPA-funded research project at UCLA has wrapped up a set of animal trials testing the effects of inhalation of the brain chemical orexin A, a deficiency of which is a characteristic of narcolepsy. From the article:

The monkeys were deprived of sleep for 30 to 36 hours and then given either orexin A or a saline placebo before taking standard cognitive tests. The monkeys given orexin A in a nasal spray scored about the same as alert monkeys, while the saline-control group was severely impaired. The study, published in the Dec. 26 edition of The Journal of Neuroscience, found orexin A not only restored monkeys' cognitive abilities but made their brains look "awake" in PET scans. Siegel said that orexin A is unique in that it only had an impact on sleepy monkeys, not alert ones, and that it is "specific in reversing the effects of sleepiness" without other impacts on the brain.
Researchers seem cautious to bill the treatment as a replacement for sleep, as it is not clear that adjusting brain chemistry could have the same physical benefits of real sleep in the long run. The drug is aimed at replacing amphetamines used by drowsy long-haul military pilots, but there would no doubt be large demand for such a remedy thanks to its apparent lack of side-effects.

Submission + - The Curse of the Algorithm

An anonymous reader writes: A short essay on why parallel programming is so hard and on how to fix the problem. Excerpted from Parallel Programming, Math and the Curse of the Algorithm:

Adding more processing cores to a CPU should have been a relatively painless evolution of computer technology but it turned out to be a real pain in the ass, programming wise. Why? To understand the problem, we must go back to the very beginning of the computer age, close to a hundred and fifty years ago, when an Englishman named Charles Babbage designed the world's first general purpose computer, the analytical engine. Babbage was a mathematician and like most mathematicians of his day, he longed for a time when he would be freed from the tedium of performing long calculation sequences. All he wanted was a reasonably fast calculator that could reliably execute mathematical sequences or algorithms. The idea of using a single fast central processor to emulate the behaviors of multiple small parallel processors was the furthest thing from his mind. Indeed, the very first program written for the analytical engine by Babbage's friend and fellow mathematician, Lady Ada Lovelace, was a table of instructions meant to calculate the Bernoulli numbers, a sequence of rational numbers. Neither Babbage nor Lady Ada should be faulted for this but current modern computers are still based on Babbage's sequential model. Is it any wonder that the computer industry is having such a hard time making the transition from sequential to parallel computing?

Where Do the Laws of Nature Come From? 729

mlimber writes "The NYTimes science section has up an interesting article discussing the nature of scientific laws. It comes partly in reply to physicist Paul Davies, whose recent op-ed in same paper lit up the blogosphere and solicited flurry of reader responses to the editorial page. It asks, 'Are [laws of nature] merely fancy bookkeeping, a way of organizing facts about the world? Do they govern nature or just describe it? And does it matter that we don't know and that most scientists don't seem to know or care where they come from?' The current article proceeds to survey different views on the matter. The author seems to be poking fun at himself by quoting Richard Feynman's epigram, 'Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds.'"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Human Cerebellum Explained in the Bible? (blogspot.com)

An anonymous reader writes: From the article:

According to my interpretation of the Biblical texts, the cerebellum is a supervised automaton. It is trained by the motor cortex to take over certain routine motor tasks whenever the basal ganglia and motor cortex are busy reasoning internally or engaging in some other motor activity. My understanding of the metaphorical messages to the church of Pergamum (Broca's area) and Laodicea (cerebellum) in the book of Revelation is that speech is always an attentional or volitional (as opposed to automatic) process that involves corrective feedback from the basal ganglia. The cerebellum is not directly involved in processing speech and language. The indication is that the cerebellum can have motor control over the entire body except the mouth, throat and tongue muscles. This means that activities like eating, chewing and swallowing are also excluded from cerebellar control.


Submission + - Activision Sued over Guitar Hero....again (wired.com)

Zalbik writes: It seems that Activision's legal battles over the latest edition of the Guitar Hero franchise are not over yet. Having been sued previously over the inclusion of a song cover that sounds too much like the original, they are now being subject to a class action suit due to the fact that the Wii edition of the game only outputs mono sound, despite packaging claims to the contrary.

Apparently their offer to replace any defective discs free of charge isn't enough for some people, so Samuel Livingston of San Diego (represented by the law firm KamberEdelson, LLC) has filed a class action suit over this issue. previously covered lawsuits over the latest edition of the Guitar Hero franchise.

Social Networks

Submission + - Family Sues MySpace after Teen Suicide (dailytech.com)

Anonymous Cow writes: By now just about everyone has heard the story of the teenager who hanged herself after receiving nasty messages on her MySpace from a parent posing as a teenage boy. In June 2006 another teenage girl committed suicide after being sexually assaulted by a man she met on MySpace. DailyTech reports the family of the assaulted suicide victim is suing MySpace, claiming the site knew about prior sexual assaults by predators using the site and failed to implement security measures to prevent assaults from happening again.

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