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Comment Fortran speed is an urban legend (Score 2) 634

Several years ago (in 1992) I was involved in the rewrite of a large fortran program, which had been around for decades and had become unmaintainable and slow. The physicists who had been working with the program were absolutely convinced that no software could replace fortran for speed. I did not believe that. Operating systems at the time were written in C, and the only thing that beats C for speed is assembly. I made several tests with bare scientific calculations, using fortran, C, and C++, and fortran came up (surprise surprise!) the slowest. Then, the physicists rewrote the fortran application in C++, with some help from me with the object-oriented design. Not only the replacement program was faster, more maintainable, and easier to read. But we found out that the main problem of the program (written in times where RAM was scarce and never updated) used files instead of in-memory arrays or any more modern data structure, or a database, which would be the first choice nowadays. The application was slow because it was designed with constraints that were not realistic anymore. In the end, the replacement program was slightly faster in the number crunching, but immensely faster in the data handling. While the original program required one day or more of very expensive supercomputer time to complete its work, the new program ran in just a few hours. The sad truth is that, even now, many fortran programs are fossils of an era where hardware constraints made the choice of data structure and algorithm, and they were never reviewed.

Submission + - ClamAV team leaves the project (

An anonymous reader writes: Ten years after the first release (and five years after the acquisition by Sourcefire) the ClamAV team has left the project and the company.
Is this the end of the only open source anti virus?


Submission + - MySQL has a new release model (

datacharmer writes: "MySQL has a new release model.

Although in the surface it seemed that MySQL, the project, was not being part of the turmoil involving its community activity, internally it was changing. Slowly, but surely and in the right direction.

Today, Tomas Ulin, Director of Engineering for the MySQL Server, announces the new model during a public MySQL University session. With this change, MySQL follows the steps of other projects that have adopted a train model for their development and releases. Features are released when they are ready, and releases are not delayed because of too many bundled features. This new agile model is more open and easy for contributors."

The Media

Submission + - Iranian Missle Test Image Misses The Mark

ClockEndGooner writes: An interesting post over at the New York Times on how Sepah News, the media office for Iran's Revolutionary Guard, has apparently altered an image that has been used the world over the past two days on its latest missile tests. From the story:

"As the above illustration shows, the second missile from the right appears to be the sum of two other missiles in the image. The contours of the billowing smoke match perfectly near the ground, as well in the immediate wake of the missile. Only a small black dot in the reddish area of exhaust seems to differ from the missile to its left, though there are also some slight variations in the color of the smoke and the sky."

I find it peculiar that the Revolutionary Guard is giving false evidence, perhaps to provoke the Bush administration, as opposed to the Bush administration fabricating evidence and claims as it had done with WMDs in Iraq before invading. Let's hope calmer and rational minds prevail.

Firefox Download Day To Start At 1 p.m. EST 1080

boustrophedon writes "Starting at midnight in their local timezones, downloaders have been asking when Firefox 3 will be ready for Firefox Download Day, June 17, 2008. Mary announced on the Spread Firefox Forum that downloads will commence at 10 AM PST." That means 1 p.m. East Coast time, and, in Justin Mason's view, some pretty annoying times of day for many parts of the world. Reader CorinneI supplies a link to PC Magazine's (very positive) overview of the new version's features, which praises the "speedy performance, thrifty memory usage, and, in particular, the address bar that now predicts where you want to go when you start typing (what Mozilla insiders refer to as the Awesome Bar)." FF3, even in Beta and RC form, and even with the extension incompatibilities I've run into, has quickly replaced FF2 as my preferred browser — for me, the improved drop-down autocomplete behavior alone is enough to justify the switch.

Submission + - Firefox 3 Download DayToday (

mdrisser writes: "I've been eagerly awaiting the newest version of Firefox. I've been using it off and on since the first beta and now the final release day is finally here. From the Spread Firefox blog:

The Official Download Day Time Posted June 16th, 2008 by mary Hi all: Download Day starts on June 17th at 10 a.m. PDT. Check this out for local times:
Are you planning to help set the download record?"

The Internet

Submission + - Can you see web advertising? (

datacharmer writes: "Can you actually see advertising? Some people are blind to ads. They filter off ads in their brain, leaving just an indistinct noise in the page, like an ink stain. This fact could be the side effect of indirect self training, triggered by continuous usage of the web. People using the web on a daily basis don't see the advertising anymore, or don't pay any attention to it. One wonders why the advertisers bother to use these techniques. And you? Do you see web advertising?"

Submission + - Redhat sued for Patent Infringement

tqft writes: "
"The first ever patent infringement litigation regarding Linux. Here's the patent, for those who can look at it without risk. If in doubt, don't. "
For those who can without fear read a patent:,072,412

"Plaintiffs IP Innovation and Technology Licensing Corp. claim to have the rights to U.S. Patent No. 5,072,412 for a User Interface with Multiple Workspaces for Sharing Display System Objects issued Dec. 10, 1991 along with two other similar patents.

Get your game faces on. Party Time."

Time Running Out for Public Key Encryption 300

holy_calamity writes "Two research teams have independently made quantum computers that run the prime-number-factorising Shor's algorithm — a significant step towards breaking public key cryptography. Most of the article is sadly behind a pay-wall, but a blog post at the New Scientist site nicely explains how the algorithm works. From the blurb: 'The advent of quantum computers that can run a routine called Shor's algorithm could have profound consequences. It means the most dangerous threat posed by quantum computing - the ability to break the codes that protect our banking, business and e-commerce data - is now a step nearer reality. Adding to the worry is the fact that this feat has been performed by not one but two research groups, independently of each other. One team is led by Andrew White at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and the other by Chao-Yang Lu of the University of Science and Technology of China, in Hefei.'"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Google Employee Hides Easter Eggs in Translator (

InvisblePinkUnicorn writes: "I was looking up information on a painting of Ivan the Terrible, and needed to translate some pages from Russian. Babelfish was working alright, but Google Translate seemed more convenient. It was then that I noticed something strange — every page translated by Google replaced one form of Ivan's Russian name with "Abraham Lincoln". For example: this brief biography. Did Google create its translation table inhouse, or outsource it from some other company? Can anyone else find similar examples of this?"

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Over the shoulder supervision is more a need of the manager than the programming task.