Gentlemen, to Evil!

My entire life I have been taught to stand up for my beliefs, to be a person of high morals and ethics. That’s why I feel obligated to express our concerns about the Salvation Army’s wanton, cruel intimations. But first, I’m going to jump ahead a bit and talk in general terms about how when the Salvation Army is gone, all that will be left from its legacy of hate is the hate itself.

*wanders into a corner cackling wildly*

Intel Pledges 80 Cores in Five Years

Intel has built a prototype of a processor with 80 cores that can perform a trillion floating-point operations per second.

CEO Paul Otellini held up a silicon wafer with the prototype chips before several thousand attendees at the Intel Developer Forum here Tuesday. The chips are capable of exchanging data at a terabyte a second, Otellini said during a keynote speech. The company hopes to have these chips ready for commercial production within a five-year window.

Intel uses its twice-yearly conference to educate developers on its long- and short-term plans. Over three days, hardware developers and partners get a chance to interact with Intel employees and take classes on new technologies.
Intel’s 80-core chips

As expected, Intel announced plans to have quad-core processors ready for its customers in November. An extremely fast Core 2 Extreme processor with four cores will be released then, and the newly named Core 2 Quad processor for mainstream desktops will follow in the first quarter of next year, Otellini said.

The quad-core server processors are on a similar trajectory, with a faster Xeon 5300 processor scheduled for November and a low-power Xeon slated for the first quarter. Intel’s first quad-core processors are actually two of its dual-core Core architecture chips combined into a multichip package.

“Performance matters again,” Otellini said, disclosing that the quad-core desktop processor will deliver 70 percent faster integer performance than the Core 2 Duo, and the quad-core server processor will be 50 percent faster than the Xeon 5100 introduced in June.

One reason performance didn’t matter to Intel during the last couple of years was because it was getting trounced on benchmarks at the hands of Advanced Micro Devices’ Opteron and Athlon 64 server and desktop processors. That all changed with the introduction of the Core 2 Duo chips this year.

“With this new set of dual and quad-core processors, we’ve regained our leadership,” Otellini told developers. The growing Internet video phenomenon, as evidenced by the spectacular rise of Web sites like YouTube, will keep these processors busy during intensive tasks like video editing, he said.

Road to Santa Rosa
Notebooks will get a face-lift next year with the Santa Rosa platform, which will provide notebooks with new technologies like 802.11n wireless and flash memory. Intel believes that it will be the first to add flash memory to a notebook motherboard, which will improve boot times and reduce power consumption, Otellini said.

System power consumption is only one part of the equation. During the next few years, Intel wants to improve the performance per watt of power consumption of its transistors by 300 percent through new manufacturing technologies and designs, Otellini said. The next step on that road, Intel’s 45-nanometer manufacturing technology, will enable the company to build chips that deliver a 20 percent improvement in performance with five times less current leakage, he said.

But the ultimate goal, as envisioned by Intel’s terascale research prototype, is to enable a trillion floating-point operations per second–a teraflop–on a single chip. Ten years ago, the ASCI Red supercomputer at Sandia National Laboratories became the first supercomputer to deliver 1 teraflop using 4,510 computing nodes.

Intel’s prototype uses 80 floating-point cores, each running at 3.16GHz, Justin Rattner, Intel’s chief technology officer, said in a speech following Otellini’s address. In order to move data in between individual cores and into memory, the company plans to use an on-chip interconnect fabric and stacked SRAM (static RAM) chips attached directly to the bottom of the chip, he said.

Intel’s work on silicon photonics, including its recent announcement of a silicon laser, could help contribute toward the core-to-core connection challenge. Rattner and professor John Bowers of the University of California at Santa Barbara demonstrated Intel’s newest breakthrough model of silicon laser, which was constructed using conventional techniques that are better suited to volume manufacturing than older iterations of the laser.

Many of the architectural nuances of the 80-core chip can be traced back to earlier research breakthroughs announced at previous IDFs. Connecting chips directly to each other through tiny wires is called Through Silicon Vias, which Intel discussed in 2005. TSV will give the chip an aggregate memory bandwidth of 1 terabyte per second.

Intel, meanwhile, began to discuss replacing wires with optical technology in computers and chips in 2001 and has come out with several experimental parts for enabling lasers and optical technology to replace wires.

The same year, Intel began to warn about the dangers of heat dissipation in processors. One of the solutions, the company said at the time, lay in producing chips with multiple cores.

Harbingers of the Hard Rapture

Ever so slowly, it is coming.

Chess was once the pinnacle of geekdom, but then the artificial intelligence geeks got too smart for chess and turned to Go. Why Go?

The game is more than a thousand years older than chess, and the number of possible moves in a game of Go exceeds the number of atoms in the universe. But most importantly, computer programs haven’t yet beaten the human masters of Go.

Around the world, dedicated coders trade secrets on the computer go mailing list and compete monthly during the KGS Computer Go Tournaments.

In the past year, a new strategy implemented by computer scientist Remi Coulom at the Universite de Lille in France, has revolutionized the way these programmers have approached the problem. Coulom’s program Crazy Stone won a gold medal at the 2006 Computer Olympiad in Torino, Italy. Recently, Coulom spoke to Wired News to explain some of the challenges of Go and what makes Crazy Stone work so well.


#define rdtsc _asm _emit 0x0f _asm _emit 0x31
__try {
_asm {

// Get the count before calling the known delay function
mov esi, eax
mov edi, edx

// call the delay function
push uiParameter
call DelayFunction
pop ebx

// Get the count after the delay function
mov t1Hi, edx
mov t1Lo, eax

mov t0Hi, edi
mov t0Lo, esi
} __except (1) {

// Something horrible has happened. Abort
return 0;
#undef rdtsc

I thought the comment at the end was hilarious and had to share. It sums up in a handful of words all the dynamics of the contemporary man-machine relationship. Maybe I have been coding for too long.

Rehoboth Beach, DE

I am in the midst of getting packed up and ready to fly back to CA tomorrow morning. This vacation has been very nice: I got to Seattle, Orcas Island, Rehoboth DE (that’s Delaware, fools), Gotham, and I was able to chillax in Brewster for a couple of days.

Our trip to the Delaware shore was rained in by tropical storm Ernesto (awful name) – there was not a single sunny day all week :-( Much of the storm we weathered in the hot tub, though. We also ate crabs and got to see the ocean in a fury. I took Jo to the Royal Treat. We played games. I picked up a copy of Carcassonne, which is pretty fun to play and has beautiful artwork. It’s another German game by a man named Klaus, so you know it can’t be bad. Sadly, though, I guess I will have to wait until next year for some body-boarding fun…

The Wedding At Orcas Island

No. That’s not a greyscale filter. That’s a picture from Seattle.

A bunch of Lorons and I made the trip to Seattle the weekend before last to be present for Micheal and Jasmine’s wedding. The wedding itself was on Orcas Island – which was a great call because Orcas Island is a beautiful place with a surprising number of fun things to do on it.

Waiting for the ferry to take us to Orcas, we drank $4 coffee while playing Apples to Apples. Our party was quite large – a lot of people from the Stanford came up for the wedding: Brendan, Wampler, Eric Sun, Carol, Doougles, Henry, Can, Seantime, Joanna, and myself.

Rather than get gouged at the hotel the wedding party was staying in, a bunch of us rented a house on the other side of the island. The above picture was taken a block away from where the house was located. In the same place at night, it was so dark that we were able to see the Milky Way.

Doug, Can, and I splintered apart from the rest of the group the day of the wedding to have a completely perfect day (suckers). Not having to be present for any grooming, rehearsal, or getting-readiness, we had most of the day to ourselves. We set out with the plan of renting kayaks and getting out on the water. As we were driving along the road looking for a place to rent kayaks from, Doug mentioned that he was hungry. Around the next turn we saw a sign “Cafe: Open” with a big arrow pointing the way. Juice! We ate brunch at this beautiful restaurant that was perched on the edge of a hill, with a view of the sound. Some dude in the gift shop who was pretending not to be a hick mountain yahoo by wearing a t-shirt outlining the T4 Bacteriophage Genome (you’ve not fooling anyone, buddy) gave us directions to the only place on the island that rented kayaks by the hour. We got out on the water for a couple of hours – it was the best feeling. The weather was perfect and the area we were kayaking in was easily as gorgeous as the best places in Hawaii. We saw flying fish and starfish: orange ones and purple ones. It was totally sweet. We drove back to the house shirtless listening to reggae music (“iz de sound of de island mon!”)

Coming back from kayaking. Awesome!

Wedding rehearsal

At the wedding I played the auspicious role of music-holder for the violinists. At the end of the ceremony Doougles and I started playing rock-paper-scissors. Eric Sun started kicking me. Turns out I’m not a very good music-holder.

Social dancing never seemed to be a Wampler sort of thing to me, but I guess she really wanted to show off her rock step. Sara and I invented a rock-paper-scissors step (loser gets twirled) that I was quite pleased with – the only problem is that ties throw you off the 1st beat.

PS – Sometimes it seems like everyone eats fried shrimp heads but me.


Google, renowned for taking on the US Justice Department early this year over the integrity of its user data, has agreed to hand over a small portion of its data to Brazilian authorities under threat of hefty fines and possibly closure of its local office.

The data relates to information posted on the Orkut social networking site in Brazil, which involves pornography, pedophilia, racism and other criminal activities. The Brazilian federal prosecutor wants data that can help identify the perpertrators of the criminal postings.

Google, which was facing fines of US$23,000 a day plus a further US$62 million and possible closure of its Brazilian office, finally relented when it was clear that the Brazilian courts meant business.

Orkut has more than 15 million users and is Brazil’s most popular social networking site.

Google maintains that the Orkut case is different from the US Department of Justice case because it only involves the transfer of a small specialized segment of its data as opposed to the broad random sampling demanded by the US DOJ.