May 21, 2004

The Cell... Supercomputer-on-a-Chip
    The Cell--the teraflops floating-point supercomputer-on-a-chip--
is alive, well, and on schedule. It will appear in the fourth quarter of 2004, as originally forecast. Its first incarnation will be in a workstation that can create content--no doubt, among other purposes--for Sony's Playstation 3. It is still intended to be the engine that powers the Playstation 3. In its last incarnation, it was tipped to provide about 250 gigaflops on a chip, with, possibly, four chips in a Playstation 3. Since nobody is talking about terahertz clock speeds, it presumably derives its blazing speed through highly-parallel calculations. Still, it should be revolutionary, since a great many important computations lend themselves to highly parallel operations.
Farrukh Saleem on John Kerry
    For the first time in a long time, I visited The Friday Times in Lahore, Pakistan. It gives a glimpse of what others are thinking. One article, quoting John Kerry in a Washington Post op-ed piece, I've reproduced here. (Sometimes I have to go abroad to learn what's in our own news!)
    For what trivially little it means coming from me, I think our days in the Middle East are numbered. My gut feeling is that the U. S. is getting deeper and deeper into the mud. Rising oil prices are threatening to derail the current economic recovery. Alan Greenspan is necessarily going to have to curtail the flood tide of easy money that has helped float not only the United States, but also the world, over the past two or three years. It seems to me that Iraq is in the process of degenerating into deeper and wider conflict. Whenever we must destroy civilian homes and attack holy cities, I'm afraid it widens the circle of hostility and rebellion. And the pictures from Abu Ghraib keep coming.
    What John Kerry says for election campaign rhetoric may be just that--election spin. If not, he might consider the parable of Richard Nixon, who escalated the Viet Nam War begun by his Democratic predecessor, Lyndon Johnson.
    We'll see what happens. Luckily for us all, what I say or think isn't going to change anything. I'd hate to have that kind of influence, since I probably don't know what I'm talking about. But I think it's important to know what the rest of the world is saying and seeing.


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