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13 May 2006

1st Day Issue / Tierra de los Sueños / Big Dreams


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7 Comments:

Blogger dusty said...

I have a few of them..one I just got from you m'dear. thanks :)

14:47  
Blogger Bob Merkin said...

I promise I'm not changing Vleeptron into an all-Distributed Computing blog ... but as I've clicked around to learn more, I just keep running into all sorts of unexpected and fascinating new things. And I had no idea Distributed Computing had grown into such a huge and popular community.

Click on that *overclocking* link, that buncha hardware geex is strictly from Outer Space. They never talk about the science they're doing. It's all just -- what can I buy and what can I do to soup up my computer so it can smash all the other teams in the Folding@Home competition -- which apparently grows fiercer and fiercer all the time. I never sell anything or run ads on Vleeptron, but THESE TOYS!!! I gotta have these superadvanced chips and this mega giga tera memory!

15:59  
Anonymous patfromch said...

I'm running a weather experiment from the BBC. Weather is more important than checking for signals from outta space. Quite interesting to see what could happen. Sometimes the results are quite shocking (like when it starts to snow in places where it clearly should not)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/hottopics/climatechange/

16:47  
Blogger Bob Merkin said...

This comes as a bit of a shock, but mathematics is pretty much a matter of aesthetics, like music or visual art, and science is too. Importance is what appeals to you. You want to predict the weather. I love the Gigantic Prime Numbers and now I'm fascinated that my chip might be helping find a breakthrough in genetic and viral diseases.

And the search for the first phone call from the Little Green Men ...

(When radioastronomers found the first Quasar's weird, inexplicable radio signals, they coded it LGM-1 for Little Green Men. They finally figured out the signals were natural in origin.)

But this Distributed Programming thing ... now that it exists and hundreds of thousands of computer enthusiasts want to join, it's very interesting to watch these dozen projects compete for your PC's chip thinking time. Suddenly people who've devoted their whole lives to science, medicine and math have to acquire the habits of carnival barkers and advertising pitchmen to get ordinary people to Download Here (but not There).

The Humanitarian pitch seems to sing the prettiest Siren Song -- imagine being part of finding a cure for AIDS! -- but I'm fascinated with that other song which has electrified the "Overclockers" ... blow all your $$$$ on arcane computer hardware so your pewter and your teammates' computers can be the fastest, most powerful home computers in your hemisphere. Somehow, the Protein Folding problem has lured them in first and most effectively.

It's like Drag Racers driving 200 mph / 320 kph to find a cure for Alzheimer's and cancer.

I wonder if the biochemists and the computer drag racers ever get together IRL. The chat must be verrrrrrry odd. And yet they need each other, they're grateful for the unique things they have to offer each other.

Look for the polite little signs on some of these project websites asking volunteers NOT to secretly use their employers' big corporate or government computer. Uni students also like to sneak these DP projects on the Big Uni Computer. It's happened several times, big embarrassment.

Although as crimes and frauds and scandals go ... it's rather sweet.

02:55  
Blogger Bob Merkin said...

Fußnotes
========

Okay, I think I will stop fixing and re-fixing and ObsessiveCompulsive re-re-fixing the Stamp. Although if someone tells me about Another Distributed Computing Project about something in Science & Math(s) that I never heard about before -- until yesterday I never heard of diese verkakte seventeenorbust Sierpinski Probleme -- I may feel compelled to past a visual symbol of The New Thing on this honky-tonk crowded noisy stamp.

The "design" -- hahahahaha -- is supposed to reflect the Grassroots Computing For The Ordinary Gal & Guy, with an ordinary tiny computer desk and workspace, with all kinds of junk taped to the wall.

PizzaQ -- identify all the visual symbols on the stamp.

In previous posts I have been sometimes writing Distributed Programming rather than Distributed Computing. They're the same thing, lo mismo, but clearly DC has won out and is replacing DP, because it gets more to the Meat of the whole thing -- who cares about the Programming, it's all about the subsequent Raw Massive Computing.

Woltman wrote the first DC software in machine/assembly language 00010111010111011011100010101001001001001010010010101 which Our Silicon Pals understand best and execute fastest. This week somebody who knows more about modern high-level languages than I do tells me C/C++ programs run as fast as machine/assembly proggies. I cannot believe this is possible, it is either an outright Lie or some sort of cheap programmer's trick.

Ada -- named for Babbage's friend who was Lord Byron's daughter -- is recommended on one of these DC Project Sites as a good language to program DC stuff in.

Ah, I like my stamp so much I will toss this in:

Tierra de los Suen~os / TdSPosta / Big Dreams / Distributed Computing
Copyright (c) 2006 by Robert Merkin / All Rights Reserved

What's your new Laptop? Are you happy with it? What did you do with the previous computer? Perhaps it could have a new life doing nothing but computing one or two or three of these DC proggies. You could D/L, then sneak the old computer into a broom closet of a big corporation, plug it in, snake a cable to the nearest Internet plug. No keyboard needed, and an official sign: DO NOT TURN OFF

Maybe Woltman will somehow see this stamp and maybe he'll e-mail me to complain that I stole his Ka without his permission. I will see if I can manipulatively steer things toward meeting him and buying him dinner or breakfast. The stamp will have to do, it is very unlikely that anything I can ever do with my brane in math or science will ever get his attention.

I haven't had a Living Hero in a long time. I guess Glenn Gould, but he stopped Living.

My guess is Woltman (Massachusetts Institute for Technology) and the late Claude Shannon (University of Michigan) have the same Zodiac sign. They seem to think much alike about the Information Sphere and see important potentials in it that everyone else hasn't ever noticed.

After their discoveries are dropped on your Fuß like an anvil, your instinct is to say: "Oh! Well, that's a Very Simple thing."

I pulled an A in calculus one semester. I guess that means I'm as smart as Newton and Liebniz.

He looks Happy -- did you notice that? More than just "Okay, I'm smiling, now take the picture."

He looks like he knows he's changing the world in a big and a positive way, and that pleases him a great deal. He looks like the cat who swallowed the canary. Do Katze swallow canaries auf deutsches?

03:39  
Blogger Bob Merkin said...

MIT = Massachusetts Institute OF Technology, I am Very Sorry about that goof. In Cambridge, not in Boston.

So the Question is ... how Friendly will Nature be in the future to Give Up Her Secrets to massive digital computation? Maybe not, the previous buzzword for this kind of "attack" -- the word usually used -- is "brute force computation." Ugly and inelegant. Violent. Maybe Nature will take an instant dislike to being Probed and Interrogated this way, and will make successful efforts to keep her Secrets to herself.

Nostrabobus will have to contemplate this. The crystal is obscured with heavy mysts. Answer Hazy, Ask Again Later.

03:52  
Blogger Bob Merkin said...

Also I noticed something interesting ... an ordinary Google search for "Distributed Computing" furps back university courses now being offered specifically about DC. Somebody thinks it's The Computational Future and wants to offer it to students immediately.

During Newton's lifetime, neither Cambridge nor Oxford would teach courses in the calculus. (Its fundamental mathematical underpinnings were Suspicious until around 1870. It Worked, It Got The Answers, but a lot of mathoids didn't trust it.) But within a year of its publication, the University of Edinburgh in Scotland was teaching it. They saw the Future first.

The first calculus textbook was written by l'Hopital. He'd bought private tutoring from one of the Bernoulli brothers, who taught him that Rule, which l'Hopital named after himself. Later, Bernoulli said: "Let him have it, he paid for it." Then B. wrote his own textbook (probably much better).

Watch for the first textbook on Distributed Computing. But maybe it will never be a Physical Book, maybe all the textbook stuff will always reside in computers, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace.

04:21  

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