VMworld 2013, SF: Separating the Desktop from the Desk

If you appreciate irony like I do, you’d probably be amused by the thought of attending a virtualization conference in flesh. The latest trend in IT is to move the stack of hardware that used to sit in a climate-controlled server room to the cloud, according to organizers of VMworld 2013 (Moscone Center, San Francisco, Aug 25-19). This led me to wonder whether I ought to log on to the conference from a browser rather than attend in person. Still, Moscone Center is a mere 30 mins away by train from where I live, so I headed out there with my camera and notepad for an old-fashioned exhibit walk. What I discovered is, you need a lot of sophisticated back-end hardware to hide the computer desktop from the user’s physical desk. Continue reading

Intel Xeon Phi Enters Parallel Quest for HPC Dominance

Ever seen three thoroughbreds heading for the same finishing line, but running on different tracks? Watch AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA going after the high-performance computing (HPC) market. This week, Intel entered an official name into the race, Intel Xeon Phi. The first product to feature Intel’s many integrated core (MIC) architecture, Phi is expected to ship with more than 50 cores. Continue reading

AMD Fusion Developer Summit: GPU is Not Just for Ninja Programmers

Skilled programmers who can sneak into the GPU and execute their parallel jobs belong to an elite group. They are “Ninja programmers,” as AMD corporate fellow Phil Rogers call them.

Rogers, who delivered the keynote at this week’s AMD Fusion Developer Summit, believes GPU computing should be available to a broader audience, to the common programmers who make a living churning out codes in C, C++, JAVA, and Python. In fact, Rogers may even object to the term GPU computing. If it were up to AMD and Rogers, GPU and CPU computing could be one and the same, fused together into a Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA). Continue reading

DE Contest Winner Norwood: Life with a New Dell Precision Workstation with AMD FirePro Graphics

Mark Norwood from Norwood Designs, winner of DE‘s cubicle toy design contest, is no longer spending 18 hours rendering. Previously, he would hit “render” in his program, go to bed, then wake up to find that his machine was still chugging away at his pixels. But the new Dell Precision workstation with AMD FirePro graphics — the prize he collected for his water-spraying Sherman tank — reduced the rendering jobs to merely hours. Continue reading

DE Cubicle Toy Design Contest: We Have a Winner!

Earlier this week, we — the three judges — agonized over our upcoming decisions to pick one from the three worthy ideas we had before us:

  • Jason Cox’s remote-controlled mouse, detailed in Google SketchUp;
  • Ray Kelley’s bottle cap blaster, designed in SolidWorks; and
  • Mark Norwood’s water-spraying tank, designed in SolidWorks.

All three exhibited inventiveness and playfulness. Perhaps more important, each incorporated a unique approach to “recycling.” Jason’s design would give new life to old, discarded PC mice. Ray’s design would encourage coworkers to collect and redeploy their otherwise useless bottle caps. Norwood’s design could easily be realized by modifying a generic toy tank, available at your nearest Radio Shack or ToysRUs. Continue reading