CHPC National Conference 2021
The CHPC National conference took place in the first week of December, and it had some interesting talks. All the Videos are viewable on YouTube
The last keynote was by Prof Thomas Sterling, of Indiana University, where in a wide-ranging retrospective of HPC technology, he talked at the end about :-
“A brief discussion of early attempts of memory-centric computing such as SIMD and PIM will motivate revolutionary concepts of the future.
Biology, Electron Microscopes and software
I have been assisting in a remote workshop for the next scientists in Biology, CCP4 Crystallographic School in South Africa remotely taught from Diamond Light Source.
I work at the Electron Microscope Unit, at the University of Cape Town. This uses electron microscopes, which are different instruments to the Xray microscopy gear below.
X-Ray facilities require Synchrotrons which are expensive enough to be national facilities. We are using the UK national facility at Harwell.
Zenzeleni mesh networking in the Transkei
While backpacking across the Transkei in South Africa, I stayed at Mdumbi Backpackers close to Coffee Bay, in the Mankosi Administrative Area, a rural traditional community within the Nyandeni Local Municipality in the Province of the Eastern Cape.
I had been made aware of an innovative wireless mesh network called Zenzeleni Community Telecoms by a friend in Cape Town, Michael Graaf, and took a look around. Zenzeleni translates to “Do it yourself” in isiXhosa.
2017 ANC National Conference - Gauteng
I have written about Polokwane - where Zuma ascended to President of the ANC, and branch meetings, and previous party splits before.
The ANC has no term limits for its president, but South Africa’s constitution has a two term limit for the president of the country, and to avoid two centres of power the ANC has kept their president, the de-facto president of the country, to two terms as well.
Tracking people vs tracking guns
I have written about privacy before - Richard Stallman has words, and Smartphones are not your friend.
My local Python conference had a talk called Deep learning - a gentle dive that had a view on the level of image classification today.
People The software that is written is ‘soft’ - it does little of the classification itself - but relies on a large ‘training’ database to achieve some remarkabe stunts - like look at a crowded shop scene and classify people by gender and age.
Parallel Processing today
| Mar 2, 2014
To get the benefit of today’s computer hardware, parallel processing is a must. The hardware can do it - the problem is programmers conveying their wishes through a programming language.
I have spent 35 years in the area of parallel processing.
I started in the late 1970’s with the massively-parallel, very low level systems built around Associative Parallel Processing - intelligent memory.
This required micro-code level understanding, and specialist hardware, but delivered parallelism limited only by the number of chips you could bolt together - an SIMD (Single Instruction, Multiple Data) offering that died through lack of hardware, among other things.
Richard Stallman visits Cape Town
Richard Stallman visited Cape Town, and gave a talk at the University of Cape Town titled “A Free Digital Society”
On the 4th September I picked Richard Stallman up from the airport and we went to dinner with a number of people that had helped organise the event at Brass Bell, Kalk Bay.
Around Cape Town He stayed with me and my friend Lerato in Muizenberg, and he is a gracious and accommodating guest.
Thailand trip - 2012
| Apr 8, 2012
My first visit further east than India was an interesting trip, mostly to see my friend Graham who lives there now. I spent two weeks in the northeast, and then we went to Laos for a week.
I took three weeks off to go visit Graham and his Thai girlfriend Nattaya -and learn a little about Thailand. I got a backpack, not too big, and resisted the urge to fill it.
Apple's iPad - a n00b experience
Two friends of mine recently purchased iPads - Vernon asked me, as a computer fundi, to help him out on the installation. I always think it is" useful to document first-time experiences - one adapts and forgets so easily.
Old timer I have used Linux pretty much exclusively for the last 20 years. I have a pragmatic approach to my friends who use Windows - I have followed Microsoft’s offerings from Windows98 through XP - I have an XP user’s understanding of the later versions of Windows.
Whisky Live Festival, Cape Town November 2011
| Nov 6, 2011
I went to the Whisky Live Festival in Cape Town last Friday evening - the last day of the Festival - definitely a good choice.
International Convention Centre Emma, a visitor from Scotland, persuaded a group of us to go, and we made our way to the International Convention Centre. We got a group rate, and 12 redeemable coupons for tasting. We decided that we would specialise on the single malts - a whisky made from the product of a single distillery rather than a blend between distilleries.