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Showing posts from February, 2007

Coping in a parallel world

The heat produced by modern CPUs means that chip designers can no longer crank up the clock speed. But they can fit more processing cores on a chip. 2-core and 4-core x86 chips are already standard; Sun's SPARC chips have 8 or 16 cores, and Intel recently announced an 80-core prototype.

To get the best performance out of multi-core chips, especially once you get beyond 2 or 4 cores, you either have to write applications to make best use of those cores or write compilers and dynamic optimising systems that automatically transform your code to get that performance. The problem is, most programmers aren't very good at this and most of the tools they use aren't brilliant either.

I think this has immediate policy implications. CS departments should immediately, if they haven't already done so, make the teaching of parallel and distributed programming a required component of their undergraduate courses. Companies and professional bodies should encourage their staff to ret…

OGF20 Registration is open

Much of the reason I haven't blogged here more frequently is that I am programme chair of OGF20 and this is taking much of my time. So I'm pleased to report that registration for OGF20 is now open. Here is the official announcement. Note that early registration rates are available until March 15th.

Some aspects of the programme have been confirmed; others are still being finalised. I'll post news here over the next few weeks.

Registration is now open for OGF20 and the EGEE 2nd User Forum being held May 7-11 in Manchester, UK. Register on-line by visiting

This event will feature:
• Keynote and Plenary presentations by leading grid luminaries
• Chartered Group Sessions including Standards Working Group Sessions and BoFs
• Enterprise Track including Requirements Alignment, Best Practices and Adoption Sessions
• e-Science Track featuring Community Workshops
• ‘Grids Means Business’ Industry Program showcasing business solutions …

Webinar - Case Studies: IT Infrastructure for inter-enterprise collaboration

Tomorrow (Thursday) I'll be hosting the next web seminar run by Grid Computing Now! , at 2:30pm UK time. We'll be looking at how grid technologies can help businesses collaborate on joint projects.

Mike Boniface of IT Innovation will explain how the SIMDAT project has enabled pharmaceutical and automotive companies to collaborate on product design. Tom Jackson of York University will describe how the BROADEN project is enabling Rolls-Royce to monitor after-sales performance.

Both projects use grid to manage distributed data and computer assets belonging to multiple organisations. The presentations will show how this leads to real business benefits.

You can join the seminar at

Storage meets the Grid

I'm just back from OGF19, which was very productive in a number of ways. One strand of interest is the continuing dialogue between the storage industry (represented by SNIA) and the grid world. This conversation has been developing slowly over the last year. I was on a panel at MSST 2006 that explored some aspects of this. SNIA were also present at GGF18 to explore where the two concerns meet. Both sides are still learning about each other, as they are both complex and changing technologies.

One obvious area of overlap is that of data replication. Many grid projects maintain replicas of data, to improve access times and/or to guard against loss. The classic example is the LHC Grid, but there are many other examples, particularly in the world of data librarines. Meanwhile, the storage industry supply replication systems for commerical data, specialising in backups and disaster recovery.

The two technologies work at different levels. Storage systems copy data from one disk b…