Last-modified: 14 Nov 2002
2 Introduction and Table of Contents and justification
4 Comp.parallel news group history
8 comp.parallel group dynamics
10 Related news groups, archives and references
18 Supercomputing and Crayisms
20 IBM and Amdahl
22 Grand challenges and HPCC
24 Suggested (required) readings
26 Dead computer architecture society
par'al'lel adj 1 a: extending in the same direction,
everywhere equidistant, and not meeting.
Comp.sys.super Official (as it gets) Motto:
If you fit in L1 cache, you ain't supercomputing :-)
--Krste Asanovic <krste@ICSI.Berkeley.EDU>
Dave Bader helped out a lot.
He is now the alternate moderator.
While the panels of this FAQ are considered in the public domain
(this is because it started from a *.gov site),
its use in other media (except references) should be checked
(some portions should not be reproduced w/o further permission).
This document can be freely redistributed subject to those conditions.
Contributions to this FAQ are by default considered anonymous unless
otherwise requested or noted. One notable parallelism biblio author
started signing his annotations and quickly discovered the problems
inherent with IDing oneself to critical (but true) commentary.
I am willing to take the flak and flames and act as intermediary.
Non-anonymous contribtions can take initials, full name, or
with enough cash, NAME_IN_LIGHTS.
"Trust me." --Prof. Indiana Jones
This is an experimental FAQ (it's like a parallel computer:
some parts are going to work and others won't).
See what else you can figure out
It's designed this way like a light house beacon.
Some people will like this and others won't
(Burton Smith is on my side, so I'm not worried whether
I'm doing the right thing or not). 8^) The FAQ is a regular signal
autoposted bidailey. And it should grow over time to daily,
but each different part will have a common index/TOC.
Over the course of a month, you should receive 14 or 28 or some number
of pieces. If you don't, you have some idea how unreliable your news feed
is from the San Francisco Bay Area (Santa Clara/Silicon Valley/Santa Cruz).
I also use these Subject lines like index tabs for searching.
Parts make version control easier. But if you lack a part on your system,
you might be a little annoyed. Also smaller parts make transmission more
likely (common defaults being 100 KB max articles, and even smaller than
30 KB). No one ever said that net.News (NNTP) was a reliable service.
You are encouraged to Killfile this post (or skip it as you need).
The Subject line designed deliberately:
[l/m 1/26/96] AUTOMATED TEST comp.parallel (2/28) FAQ
This is the easiest way to Killfile this monthly post. Most news readers
Killfile only the first 24 characters, in this case, it's a Last modified
date and some unique text. You only have to issue a Kill command once,
and you only get notified by your reader when changes take place.
Clever? huh? Some people are sick of the format.
Complain to news interface writers.
If you hate FAQs on general principle, you will have to edit your killfile
(maybe, you hate me personally [tough, you have to figure out that edit
for yourself]), or maybe you hate the FAQ concept, then you edit the
Killfile with the common trailing string: "FAQ$".
You know regular expressions (the algebra of strings) right?
The $-sign? That's it.
Don't complain to me if you have one of those poor news systems which
only allow 24 characters total in the Subject field. Complain to your
Service Provider. Get a full function news reader.
This is an FAQ like all FAQs, if you are part of the community,
you are willing to make or eat moose turd pie. If you sit back as a
merely lurker, you aren't going to get very much out of it.
It's a participatory technology. If you want anonmity (due to where you
work, what you do, etc.). It might be possible to work something out.
"The best way to get information on Usenet is not to ask
a question, but to post the wrong information."
It's an attempt at community memory which dates to the early 1980s.
The Ironies of Parallel Computing
On run time: It's interesting that for their inaccuracies, etc.
weather simuations attempt to run faster than the real weather and
nuclear bomb simulations take longer than the real phenomena.
It always bothers me that, according to the laws as we understand
them today, it takes a computing machine an infinite amount of logical
operations to figure out what goes on in no matter how tiny a region of
space and no matter how tiny a region of time. How can all that be going
on in that tiny space? Why should it take an infinite amount of logic
to figure out what one tiny piece of time/space is going to do?
--R. P. Feynman, The Character of Physical Law
On to the content. See you in two days.
A certain comedian named Utah Phillips has a story about "Moose Turd Pie."
This story is occasionally telecast, and UP retired from the comedy circuit.
In a younger life, Utah worked on a railroad. He was what was called
a "gandy dancer," a man who used a lever to raise a rail so that people
could work on rail-road ties and the road bed. Well, one of the
unspoken jobs was that of cook. It was unspoken because it was not in
the job descriptions of gandy dancers and some one had to cook or people
The result is that the person who complained the most got to cook the meals.
So Utah was made cook. He hated it.
One day, UP was crossing a meadow when he found a giant moose turd (fece).
UP resolved that he was tired of being the cook.
So he rolled the turd back to the caboose (he was much more descriptive
of this), where he made a beautiful pie shell, plopped the turd inside, and
covered it with a beautiful crust.
Over dinner, the other workers ate their food. One of the meanest looking,
most powerful guys was there. They were expecting a good dinner after a
hard day of work. UP gave everyone slices of the pie without telling them.
He was hoping to jog someone to take the job from him. The big mean guy
took his fork and placed a big slice into his mouth and started chewing.
The big mean guy burst out and shouted:
"My God, that's moose turd pie!"
"But it's good."