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.

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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
methodology
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:

Gary
Frost
(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

Another
SPECtacular award from the SPEC annual meeting:
Alan
Adamson
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
committees.

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.


John Henning is SPECtacular

May 29, 2009

Another SPECtacular award from the SPEC
annual meeting: John
Henning
of Sun Microsystems is
secretary of the Open Systems Group steering committee. John has been
the driving force behind improvements to our policy
document
. This is crucial to efficient operation of the
organization, especially as so many new organizations have joined
SPEC and so many new participants have joined into the work even from
long time SPEC member companies. John is also the one who reminds all
of us to pause in our lecturing and really listen to our adversaries,
the dissident minority voice. Sometimes they have a point that is
valuable to the task at hand, if we only recognize it, and thereby harness all of the energy and creativity of the group.


David Morse is SPECtacular

May 28, 2009

Another SPECtacular award from the SPEC annual meeting: David Morse (Dell) served as vice-chair and now chair of the Open Systems Group steering committee, his effective organization and leadership of a rather fractious bunch, with successful release of many benchmarks, and formalization of rules and
procedures to put everyone on an even footing with the "good old boys" and reduce risk and uncertainty in members’ use of the benchmarks. Another example of his dedication is his implementation of bookmarkable search extensions to benchmark result queries on spec.org. David is equally comfortable and competent in the most complicated leadership roles and in the most difficult and detailed technical roles.


Paula Smith is SPECtacular

May 27, 2009

Another
SPECtacular award from the SPEC annual meeting: Paula Smith
(VMware) was honored for her
tireless, competent and patient work managing the SPEC office and the
people there. Paula consistently exhibits what make SPEC an unique
place. The attention and enthusiasm she brings to her volunteer work
make her a pleasure to interact with. She goes above and beyond in
everything she does, and is often able to turn emergencies into
opportunities. Most impressive is how she maintains this over time
and in every interaction, despite many competing pressures for her
attention. Beyond this management work, she also manages to handle
the organizational and technical work of chairing the Virtualization
committee, and of course her day job at VMware.