Archive for March, 2005

The future of Itanium

Thursday, March 31st, 2005 reports today on HP’s plan to release a top-end server designed for Itanium in 2006. Superdome will support the new Montecito and Montvale versions of Itanium, which are expected to boost performance substantially.

The chips include dual processing engines, called cores, and multithreading that lets each core handle two instruction sequences at the same time.

Does Internet governance need another player?

Wednesday, March 30th, 2005

A ranking member of the United Nation’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which currently has no real voice in the oversight of the Internet, thinks so. In a Q&A with CNET News, the director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, Houlin Zhao, says that the ITU would be complementary to the existing organizations currently involved in policy making for the Internet such as ICANN, IETF, and W3C. Perhaps a better question - Is adding another Internet regulatory organization preferable to merging some of the existing ones?

Jaguar on the Prowl

Wednesday, March 30th, 2005

An Associated Press story today reports on Oak Ridge National Lab’s installation on Jaguar, a Cray XT3 supercomputer that could be a 100-teraflop system by the end of the year. I read the Associated Press story at An excerpt from the article:

“Cray and the lab are hoping to “marry” the technologies of both systems into a next-generation machine, to be called “Rainier,” that could deliver 250 teraflops, or 250 trillion calculations per second, in 2007. ”

In the line of wires

Tuesday, March 29th, 2005

Yesterday it was the New York Times; today it’s the Washington Post. An in-depth story on the Secret Service’s use of distributed computing.

The gist:

Taking a cue from scientists searching for signs of extraterrestrial life and mathematicians trying to identify very large prime numbers, the agency best known for protecting presidents and other high officials is tying together its employees’ desktop computers in a network designed to crack passwords that alleged criminals have used to scramble evidence of their crimes — everything from lists of stolen credit card numbers and Social Security numbers to records of bank transfers and e-mail communications with victims and accomplices. To date, the Secret Service has linked 4,000 of its employees’ computers into the “Distributed Networking Attack” program.

Turns out they’re working to keep the “secret” in Secret Service: “DNA works silently in the background, completely hidden from the user. Lewis said the Secret Service chose not to call attention to the program, concerned that employees might remove it.”

(Hat tip to geeknewscentral.)

Open-source Brazil

Tuesday, March 29th, 2005

Speaking of sticking it to the man, the New York Times reports that the Brazilian goverment is bootstrapping a program that will help millions of low-income citizens buy their first computers for the equivalent of about $18 per month over the course of two years. “[I]f the president’s top technology adviser gets his way, the program may end up offering computers with only free software, including the operating system, handpicked by the government instead of giving consumers the option of paying more for, say, a basic edition of Microsoft Windows.”

This in an environment in which the president has:

instructed government ministries and state-run companies to gradually switch from costly operating systems made by Microsoft and others to free operating systems, like Linux. On Mr. da Silva’s watch, Brazil has also become the first country to require any company or research institute that receives government financing to develop software to license it as open-source, meaning the underlying software code must be free to all.

Gershenfeld on the Internet of Things

Friday, March 25th, 2005

Neil Gershenfeld–director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms–will be presenting “From the Library of Information to the Library of Things” on Monday, March 28, as part of the Library of Congress’ “Managing Knowledge and Creativity in a Digital Context” lecture series. Check out his article on the Internet of things in the October 2004 issue of Scientific American. Or stick it to the man and just read a draft of the article from Gershenfeld’s research team’s website.

The lecture will be on C-SPAN (”Television for that other kind of geek”) at 6:30 Eastern. It and other lectures in the series are also available via webcast.

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