12th century poet passes judgment

June 27, 2009

“Look at our times. A handful of imposter clerics, having learned a couple of Suras for deceit, having no notion of reason and science, unaware of what man is about, desperate like asses in search of fodder. All they care about is eating and fornicating. They fear not God, have no shame of men. They have cast aside notions of honor. They seek nothing but loot and plunder. Alien they are to the rules of Faith. Oh unique Prophet of God, for your sake your uma for the sake of Allah, rise from your garden tomb in Medina. Behold who is ruling your followers. Oh Muslims, the time has come to send the Koran back to heaven for although its name is still with us its content has come to naught.”

حکیم ابوالمجد مجدود ‌بن آدم سنایی غزنوی

– Hakim Abul-Majd Majdūd ibn Ādam Sanā’ī Ghaznavi, 1080-1131

As related in The Persian Night by Amir Taheri




Street Smart hybrid electric bicycle

June 8, 2009

Last weekend I went to Street Smart San Diego where, among many interesting booths, they offered test rides of various hybrid electric bicycles. I really liked the Eneloop from Sanyo which is coming to the U.S. this Fall. It’s not just an electric assisted bicycle (in the spirit of "mild hybrid" automobiles) but a hybrid integrated drive (in the spirit of Toyota’s hybrid synergy drive. You don’t have to think about controlling the electric motor. The way you ask for power is to pedal, and the bike matches your effort 2-to-1 at low speeds and 1-to-1 at high speeds. Coast on a slight downhill and it reclaims some energy to recharge the battery. Brake and it reclaims more.

SPECtacular awards & new web performance/energy benchmark

June 5, 2009

The last of the 2009 SPECtacular
awards. SPECweb2005 is the
industry standard performance metric for web servers, and today it is
joined by SPECweb2009, the
industry standard performance and energy metric for web servers. The
benchmark includes a banking workload (all SSL), a support workload
(no SSL), and an ecommerce workload (mixed). This is the first
application of the SPECpower
to potentially large system under test
configurations. In the initial
benchmark results
you can see one system with and one without
external storage, and the test report lets you see the power
consumption of just the server, of the storage, and of the entire
configuration at various utilization levels. The entire committee did
a fantastic job with this benchmark. As always, I won’t list anyone’s
name without permission. (But give me the okay and I’ll update this
posting!) SPEC recognizes:

(AMD) who
stepped in to fill a key developer role in an emergency with the
release clock ticking. He took over the control code after a sudden
reassignment, and frankly we handed him quite an undocumented mess.
Gary was up to the challenge and produced the finished code.

Another engineer from AMD
had primary responsibility for the reporting page generator. You
often can’t know exactly what information ought to go into a full
disclosure report (FDR) until you see it. Nor how you want it
organized and arranged. Nor what data integrity cross checks need be
present to avoid errors. So the committee changed requirements often
during development. But no matter how many requirements were placed
on him, he turned around with the needed code within a week!

An engineer from Fujitsu
Technology Solutions
became the de facto quality assurance
office because of his thorough and methodical testing practices. If
there are a hundred ways software in general can go wrong, then there
are a thousand ways benchmark software can go wrong, as by its nature
it runs on systems stressed to the limit. When SPEC benchmark
software just works that is largely due to people like this engineer
who forsee, test, and diagnose every possible failure unanticipated
by the authors.

And, if you’d like to see all of the
SPECtacular awards, then follow
the tags!

Alan Adamson is SPECtacular

June 3, 2009

SPECtacular award from the SPEC annual meeting:
retired from IBM
where he had been their primary SPEC Representative, held a number of
different elective positions in SPEC, and earned deep respect and
trust from his colleagues. Coming from the IBM
Toronto Software Lab
, Alan was a natural to lead SPEC’s Java
committee. Having put that very large committee in smooth running
order, Alan was elected secretary to the Power committee helping it
to produce the first industry standard power performance benchmark.
Meanwhile he led the OSG
steering committee which coordinates activities of all the SPEC OSG

Alan genuinely cares about the
well-being of SPEC and the people involved. He demonstrates
incredible thoughtfulness and effectiveness in thinking about SPEC’s
benchmark development. He fosters the fun and friendly SPEC culture
where there is always time to share a joke or a funny story if
appropriate. At the same time he creates space for candid discussions
of serious matter. Alan’s leadership and personal effort has been a
big contributor to the success of SPEC.

Alan continues to hold one position in
SPEC, as a director, because members of the board of directors are
elected as individuals, not as companies. Alan serves as a general
chair of the 2010 WOSP/SIPEWInternational Conference on Performance Engineering, a joint
conference of SPEC and ACM which
brings together top academic researchers and industry practitioners
in performance engineering.

You can follow Alan on his blog,
for interesting insights on art, technology, politics, and life –
where he is just as opinionated as ever, just as modest as ever, just
as intolerant of stupidity, and just as tolerant of the people
involved – even when we are opinionated, immodest, and stupid at
times. For all his hard work in SPEC I can think of nobody more
deserving of a relaxing retirement than Alan, and nobody whom we will
miss more than him!

Klaus-Dieter Lange is SPECtacular

June 1, 2009

Another SPECtacular award from the SPEC annual meeting: Klaus Lange (HP) has become a valuable conduit across different levels of the organization and across benchmark subcommittees, by virtue of becoming indispensable in all of them. Though Klaus is an experienced "SPEC hand" he never forgot what he faced as a newcomer, and took it on himself to organize a new member orientation program to help new institutions integrate into SPEC more easily and effectively. As chair of the SPECpower committee Klaus delivered the industry’s first energy efficiency benchmark, and leads the committee in aiding other groups as they add energy metrics to a wide range of benchmarks. These groups include many SPEC committees as well as other industry consortia. As HP’s representative on the OSG steering committee Klaus has earned respect for his opinions with his diligence and fair mindedness. As a member of the Board of Directors he is often the first to step up to volunteer for important projects, as well as exercising sound judgment in conducting SPEC’s business operations.