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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 https://www.chpcconf2021.co.za/ 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 :- https://events.chpc.ac.za/event/98/contributions/1535/ “A brief discussion of early attempts of memory-centric computing such as SIMD and PIM will motivate revolutionary concepts of the future.
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Biology, Electron Microscopes and software

By |  Mar 1, 2021  | electron-microscope, ccp4, diamond-light-source
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.
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Zenzeleni mesh networking in the Transkei

By |  Feb 22, 2018  | zenzeleni, computers, education, internet
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.
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2017 ANC National Conference - Gauteng

By |  Nov 18, 2017  | politics, zuma, anc
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.
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Tracking people vs tracking guns

By |  Oct 12, 2017  | guns, privacy
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.
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Parallel Processing today

By |  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.
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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.
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Thailand trip - 2012

By |  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.
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Apple's iPad - a n00b experience

By |  Dec 21, 2011  | computers
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.
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Whisky Live Festival, Cape Town November 2011

By |  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.
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