Storage Informer
Storage Informer

Tag: OSD

On Platforms, Patterns, and Parallelism

by on Oct.08, 2009, under Uncategorized

On Platforms, Patterns, and Parallelism

This is my first post here, so I&aposd like to introduce myself: I&aposm Michael McCool, formerly Chief Scientist and co-founder of RapidMind, now a Software Architect within the Software and Services Group at Intel. While my title has changed, my job description hasn&apost: I&aposm still working on creating technologies that support the efficient construction of efficient multicore and manycore parallel software. And yes, I did mean to use "efficient" twice!

Everyone has been working hard on integrating RapidMind&aposs team and technology into Intel&aposs Ct project, as well as continuing our research and development in key application areas. I&aposm looking forward to showing off the results of our efforts soon.

One of the things I will be doing here is continuing my series on "structured parallel programming patterns" via a series of blog posts. After looking at many applications, we realized that many parallel algorithms could be broken down into the composition of a small set of computational and data access patterns, sometimes called "algorithmic skeletons". These are not specific language features, but things like "map" (application of a function over an index space) and "nesting" (recursive composition) that are useful in many different contexts and supported in different ways by different software development platforms. By studying the patterns that are "natural" in various applications domains and coordinating that with the development of platforms supporting those patterns I hope to drive the development of software interfaces and platforms that make the "natural way" of expressing a solution also be the "right way". Many of these patterns are also structured and deterministic, and so supporting them in platforms can in turn support the development of reliable and maintainable parallel software.

In the near future, I&aposll also be going to SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 in Yokohama and SC09 in Portland. I&aposll be giving presentations at these events, but will also participating in less-formal events. I&aposll provide details soon, but if you are interested in the current state and evolution of support for parallel computing, I would be very happy to talk with you.


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My Experiences with the Greatest Open Source Software of All Time

by on Sep.03, 2009, under Storage

My Experiences with the Greatest Open Source Software of All Time

InfoWorld recently recognized the top 36 most important open source software projects that have withstood the test of time. These are the projects that have shaped the way that we use many technologies today. I&aposve mentioned before that I was a Unix sys admin in the mid-1990s, so this article brought back a lot of memories for me.

GNU tools and utilities. I was always a big fan of GCC, and it was one of the first things I would install on a new Unix box (from source, because that&aposs the way real admins installed software). Then there is always the Emacs vs. vi debate. I&aposm a vi kind of girl, and I still use vi to edit system files on my Mac, mostly out of habit.

Networking. One of the best things about being a sys admin was playing with all kinds of network protocols. I learned so much about the underlying technologies behind the internet in just a couple of years. I got to administer our companies DNS servers running BIND, but more importantly, I helped set up and administer a rogue corporate email server (Sendmail and Pop3). Our company at the time (1995 or 1996, I think) used the mainframe for all email, which was less than optimal for the people using PCs or Unix within the company, so we set up a rogue email server and diverted their email at the firewall to hit the Unix Sendmail server, instead of the mainframe. People would wander into my cubicle whispering about email, and I&aposd get them set up with their secret email account.

I still play around with a few other things on their list, like Apache, MySQL, PHP, etc. as a side effect of doing some minor work on WordPress installs and other web applications. I only talked about a few of the many projects on the InfoWorld list that brought back the most memories for me, but plenty of other great software was also on the list: various Linux / BSD distros, Asterisk, OpenSSH / OpenSSL, VNC, PostgreSQL, Perl, Python, Ruby, Wine, Samba, Cygwin and more.

What&aposs the story behind your favorite open source software project of all time?


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Matthew Allum, Open Source Hacker

by on Jul.23, 2009, under Storage

Interview: Matthew Allum, Open Source Hacker

Matthew Allum is an Open Source hacker and ex OpenedHand boss man cat herder currently working at Intel. Beyond making Linux better on devices, his interests include design, mid century modern furniture and architecture, comics and an ever changing cycle of obsessions (currently amassing sofubi & kaijus). He lives just outside London in the UK with his wife Sidske, daughter Alleke, pugs Arnold and Clint, and cats Elsa, Aslan and evil Lazaru.

Dawn: What was it like when OpenedHand was acquired, and what made you decide to sell to Intel?

Matthew: Pre-acquisition, OpenedHand was doing really well – but really too well. My energies were being drawn more and more into just running and scaling the company to cope with demand rather than the more creative technical aspects of which I most enjoyed. It was becoming this spiraling chore, and I couldn&apost fix it.

Though we&aposd turned away other interest in the past, Intel appealed due to their heritage with Open Source and technology, the challenge of Moblin and a bigger landscape, and the assurance of maintaining the team&aposs dynamic and culture whilst being able to grow the design and user experience side of things.

In terms of what the acquisition was like, selling a company is a very educational but not really enjoyable experience; essentially 3 months of pretty much living in a lawyer&aposs office. It could have been a lot worse however – especially if the Intel acquisition team had not been so professional and reasonable to work with.

Dawn: What kind of work are you doing now, and is it much different from what you were doing at OpenedHand?

Matthew: At Intel I&aposm the lead architect on Moblin, focused on the UI side of things. In a nutshell, it involves leading the team creatively around areas of technical implementation, working closely with visual and interaction designers, planning, researching, interfacing with wider Intel and if I&aposm lucky – some coding :) .

There are of course parallels here with what I used to do at Openedhand, but much less on the business and &aposrunning a company&apos side of things. Because of this, I&aposm pretty sure my blood pressure is lower nowadays.

Dawn: You claim to have an ever changing cycle of obsessions. What were a few of these obsessions prior to sofubi and kaijus?

Matthew: Hmm, as well as my vintage Japanese monster toys there are lots of other obscure fascinations and collections – from a interest in experimental modular 20th century Architecture to abstract art to simply building Lego with my daughter.


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