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Shift Happens

  1. May 20, 2008 #1


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    This is a cool little video about statistics. I know some are right, most I haven't bothered to verify yet. Anyone that has any statistics that agree or disagree would be welcomed.

    Of course the part about the supercomputer's capacity and processing doesn't mean it has the ability to think, so don't get your knicker's in a knot thinking otherwise.

    (I love that soundtrack).

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. May 20, 2008 #2
    So no predictions of flying cars yet?
  4. May 20, 2008 #3
  5. May 20, 2008 #4
    The tune is from Vangelis:

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  6. May 20, 2008 #5
    Vangelis is awesome.
  7. May 20, 2008 #6
    What the heck, I say we just go ahead and make MySpace a country.
  8. May 20, 2008 #7


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    That's beautiful, thanks Andre!
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  9. May 20, 2008 #8
  10. May 20, 2008 #9
  11. May 20, 2008 #10
    That's my point. It's 2008 and the only way to fly is to pay an arm and a leg.
  12. May 20, 2008 #11


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    Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

    But cool.
  13. May 20, 2008 #12
    The supercomputer predictions could actually happen. Intel announced they are working on a 80 core processor and possibly CPUs in the future could contain hundreds of independent cores.
  14. May 20, 2008 #13
    You're still limited by the software. How exactly do you split up the operations between each core? Moreover, you definitely start getting diminishing returns at some point because you have to co-ordinate all of the cores together and that by itself will take a while.

    To make a very simplistic analogy, imagine you are doing a Riemann sum in some brute force calculation that normally takes a week to get done. The easiest thing would be to split it up so that each of the 80 cores gets a chunk to work on and then just add all that up.

    The problem arises when you get methods/functions in your code that can't be split between other CPU's, so that ends up being your bottle neck.
  15. May 20, 2008 #14
    Amdahl's law.
  16. May 20, 2008 #15
    You raised some valid points. However, there are ingenious algorithms in existence that can effectively divide work load among different processor. I believe one of them is MPI. And its the basis for many supercomputers around the world. Like the bluegene for instance, has 130000 CPUs hooked up together, half of which are used for communication. It's up to the software programmer to effectively utilize that computing power, even if inefficiently, the net result is still spectacular.
  17. May 20, 2008 #16
    Of course. I'm just saying that there is bound to be a limit where shoving in more CPU's just won't do anything, no matter how brilliant the programmer.

    Your example of Bluegene, I'm not much familiar with it, but if you say half are to do with communications, then it's not really 1 program running, but a batch of them communicating with each other. What I am saying is if you have something like Doom running and you want it to run better, you can only do so much on the hardware side.

    Of course, the nice thing is that programs are so complex these days that you could easily split up portions of the program to different CPU's. You're never going to get half of a program that can't be split into different cores or something. There's just too much independent stuff going on for that.
  18. May 20, 2008 #17
    The exponential computer curve seems to have hit a snag in voice recognition software a few years ago; it would be great to see some exponential improvements in that field....
  19. May 20, 2008 #18
    For Globalization:

    Seems like the original video is by some American .. (probably a patriotic one)

    I read somewhere that Investors are moving to Asia (especially after credit crunch), so it's not only Asians who are enjoying off-sourcing. Also, Microsoft is hiring for work in China (at my university ... )
  20. May 20, 2008 #19


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