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Some pics [Feb. 27th, 2007|10:20 am]
Arvind Narayanan
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[Current Mood |seriously sleep-deprived]

This is the CPU utilization chart during a compute-intensive task on my work machine:

The two cores switch roles but there's never anything for both to do. Of course, this shouldn't be surprising since virtually nothing other than perhaps some games is normally multi-threaded (and why would it be, considering it's exponentially harder to debug.) Nevertheless, even as the ugly memory of the clock speed wars is still fresh, we're in the middle of the bloody core wars! Dual core, and now quad core and eight-core. Oooh. I can't wait to have more utterly useless, expensive processing power on my desktop. Do you need suggestions for new names, Intel? How about hypersupermulti-core? Seriously, I don't think these guys are capable of selling anything with a straight face anymore.

Can you guess what this is?

It's the interior of my coffee mug! I do clean it every time. I can't imagine what it must be doing to my teeth. Aiieee!

In other news, there's been no hot water in my apartment complex for the last few days. Cold showers in near-freezing water stop being that much fun after a while.

From: ashokd
2007-02-27 10:24 pm (UTC)
We had a talk on parallel programming in our college from the guy who designed Cilk, and he was saying that we need to start thinking of parallel programming to make use of these multi-core architectures that are coming up. Apparently they have reached a stage where they cant do much about the clock rate, so they are just stuffing more transistors in. He said this would probably go on for a decade after which they cant go any smaller. So at that time they would need some break-through to make things faster.
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2007-02-27 10:55 pm (UTC)
See, they've been saying this for at least 10 years, and that's just based on personal experience. They've probably been saying it ever since the dawn of computing.

The reality is that parallel programming is incredibly intensive in terms of programmer time. The other reality is that except for a few specialized applications that most people don't use, you don't need any of that computing power on desktops.

So it's absurd to be pushing multi-core for consumer electronics. On servers and workstations it's great, it's the way to go, and many if not most applications are parallelized already. What you need for consumer electronics though is cheap stuff. And no one is working on that. It's weird, you'd think there'd be some pressure from the market. Not if you have a monopoly, I guess.
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From: ashokd
2007-02-27 11:26 pm (UTC)
Yeah, you are right about the fact that most applications dont need that much computing power. But, I think it is good in a way because they are constantly trying to push the limit of what's possible and feasible to manufacture and sell at the same cost. Of course, you can constantly try to reduce the cost of a Pentium 3 rather than invest on pentium 4, but I guess the market does not (want to)work that way.
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[User Picture]From: fiery_fiona
2007-03-01 01:48 pm (UTC)
aah..that coffee mug... that was the state of the one i had too in office..i changed it once with a stainless steel mug... but the periodical excessive intake still managed to decorate the base!
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