Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Create your own Graph Paper

Roll your own Graph Paper! Here is a site that will create the type, size, color graph paper you specify. Pretty cool for anyone playing RPGs or working on a science project and don't have time to run to WalMart (I made the last one up - I was really thinking about the RPGs).

What gets a geeks blood running?

Games and Algorithms my friend. Games and Algorithms.

Sorry it's been so long since my last post - Evil Genius just hit the $20 bin. Its basically an updated version of Dungeon Keeper (Evil is good) but instead of being a monster building a dungeon you are a Evil Genius building an evil hideout on a island of undisclosed location. While you are building your lair you send your minions all over the globe stealing loot, plotting and doing evil acts of Infamy. I finally had to stop playing for a while because I would start playing the game around 8:30 look at the clock and it would be 11:30. So for now its a early morning/weekend game.

But what really seperates the geeks from the rest of the loser game addicts is not just a love of the game but of the hardware and software that run it. Good programming can make or break any software - or in ROMs and OSes it can ruin a good piece of Hardware.

I have always been interested in comparing different algorithms to see how they match (look to your right and check my geek score - nuff said). That's why I was facinated by this site that lets you compare different sorting algorithms against each other. Plus it has source code for all the sorts its using.

Monday, August 15, 2005

I wonder how fast the Cray runs today

Background: Back in college I took a Fortran class. One of the problems we did was called the Jury problem. Basically you have a large two dimensional array (in this example size 66). Initialize the all the elements to 0 except for row 0 which you initialize to 1.0. Then what you do is iterate through the array (except for the boundaries) and each element becomes the average of the four cells around it. For each iteration you take the sum of all the elements and keep iterating until the difference between the sum and the prior sum falls below a given delta (in this case 0.00000000001).

Running this back in 1990 (Yes I know I am carbon dating myself) on an IBM PC in Fortran took 45 minutes. It took 15 minutes to run on a IBM PC AT with a 80287 math coprocessor. Just to see how long it would take one of the graduate lab assistance uploaded the program to the Cray supercomputer at the University of Texas and to upload the program, compile it, run it and download the answers took 8 seconds. Well after 15 years I finally found a personal computer that is just as powerful as the 1990 Cray supercomputer and its the HP laptop I am using to write this post! Its an AMD64 with 2gig of ram and to run the above problem in Java took less than a second.

I love my laptop.

But I wonder how quickly this would run on the latest Cray supercomputer .