Supercomputing – What would you do with the worlds most powerful computer?

Fujitsu Limited created the worlds most powerful computer – It reached a staggering 10.51 petaflops (that’s 10 quadrillion calculations per second btw) using 705,024 SPARC64 processing cores. That’s 4 times faster than the second most powerful supercomputer in existence today. Since i started working with computers (and watching SciFi movies) the processing power has increased dramatically and we now have mobile devices with more processing grunt available than what most servers held back then.

Needless to say, some of the biggest discoveries today in science has happened purely because of the processing capability available. So, consider this, what would you do with the most powerful computer in the world? Cure cancer, locate the “god-particle”, map the universe?

It’s staggering to think of this accomplishment, let alone if you put it into perspective and compare it to what we, even today, expect from computers.

More info: http://www.fujitsu.com/au/solutions/supercomputing/

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT9zI-t6z2Q

Fujitsu HPC LinkedIn group
Fujitsu Facebook page
@FujitsuHPC
Fujitsu Google+ page
Fujitsu HPC YouTube

Visual Studio 11 [Beta] – first impressions…

There’s been much hype…yes, much hype about the next install of Visual Studio. Every man and his dog has been complaining about the colours but from the development IDE that’s probably not the most important aspect. I’d would much rather see a 64-bit version available, but that’s another story altogether.

First off, install experience…

The download was 1.7Gb for the Ultimate edition and took me about 30-35mins on my home ADSL2+ (via Bigpond) so that alone was a huge improvement over last time we saw a release of Visual Studio. Back then, the download took me more than 24hrs (probably due to the lack of bandwidth MSFT had available).

The install was extremely easy – yes, this is a beta and things may change – however since I downloaded the Ultimate edition it should pretty much have everything enabled…

download .iso and right-click (Windows 8 Consumer Preview FINALLY has a native ISO mount capability) ->> mount.

Or you could alternatively use the ribbon above after you’ve clicked on the .iso file.

Then it’s just a matter of starting the installer..

 

It becomes pretty obvious that there’s a new design in town – gone is the sluggish and drab looking “Windows Classic” look that all previous installers have had. That the colours just so happens to be my favourite colours does help too 🙂 And it fits my desktop background and desktop theme perfectly too 🙂

 

One of the things that I like is attention to detail – the little “pellet animation” that I’ve personally come to associate with the Metro design (it’s obvious all over Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8) is a nice touch in the installer. That aside, the installation went smoothly and without a hitch (hang on, this is a beta release..why didn’t I have to try to install at least twice and add some obscure KB/Patch?? that’s not right!).

Just another quick detail – I love the finishing touch of the name that the final process has -> “ultimate_finalizer”…anyways, as can be seen below here, it was a success (if there was any doubt that is).


Once the choice of default development environment (choose C# Development Environment of course) the first thing that does indeed strike you is the UI. At first the difference was a bit distracting – probably because I wanted to soak in everything at once. I am a geek after all. But then familiarity settled in again. Much of what i’m used to seeing was there (for new features of VS11 I suggest you read through this MSDN article)

The look and feel is much less distracting than what it used to be. I’m not an UI expert but the look really does ring a bell with me very pleasantly. Content is master. A smooth grey theme is seen across the whole GUI, with very few distractions such as bright colours, taking focus away from what should be on every developers mind – productivity.

As you can see, the grey tones and the blue highlights are very soft. The contrast between sections, colours and context is really effective (again, does it follow a tried and tested/bested design paradigm? do I care? no). I spend a huge amount of time in front of a monitor each day, and I really hate having something stress my eyes and put a strain on my concentration.

Last night I spent a good 3 hours writing some code and getting used to Visual Studio 11. And even though this was in my preferred environment (eg. at home, comfortably in my own office) I didn’t come away with any kinks and I just about as productive as normal.

Enough of the colours (or lack thereof) though..

I noticed that there’s quite a few extensions shipped OOTB with this beta – they may not be shipped when it goes into production, but in all honesty I don’t see why the teams should bother removing any of them.

  • ASP.Net MVC 3 template packages
  • ASP.Net MVC 4 template packages
  • ASP.Net Web Pages 2 template packages
  • ASP.Net Web Pages template packages
  • ASP.Net WebForms template packages
  • Concurrency Visualizer
  • IntelliTrace
  • Nuget Packet Manager
  • PreEmptive Analytics Aggregator Visualizer
  • Visual Studio PerfWatson
  • VsGraphicsDebuggerPkg
  • Web Tooling Extensions

I’m particularly pleased to see Nuget Packet Manager be shipped OOTB.

Secondly – another aspect that I’ve never really understood not being included straight away – Team Foundation Server support is now also OOTB. Looks like it’ll be there from the get go as well. And it works just fine with TFS 2010.

Tried to connect to LIDNUG’s instance on TFSPreview.com and it worked a treat. One other thing, which I admittedly haven’t paid attention to in VS2010, was this little tid bit.

Yeps, in the lower right corner of the “Start Page” there’s an option set available. the one which surprised me was “Close page after project load” which is checked by default. No need to clutter your project screens with the start page. Excellent.

One of the applications that I’ve been using quite frequently of late is Visual Studio LightSwitch. Which also seems to be tagged into the Ultimate version of Visual Studio 11.

Now getting started in Visual Studio has frequently been a chore – especially the “New Project” dialogue, so I was keen to see how fast it loaded. And it was lightning fast to be honest. Half expected it to take yonks to load, but nopes, came up straight away.

Anyways, it’s time to crunch some code – will blog another one once I’ve played around with it some more. All in all, a definite improvement.

 

 

Next up, scalability from thousands to millions at LIDNUG

Just a quick heads up to all of you that the next event at LIDNUG is happening on the 31st of January (10AM PT).

This time around it’s presented by no other than Omar Al Zabir and he’s going to take us through how he sorted out scaling a web site from thousands of hits to millions of hits.

Learn how I have scaled an ASP.NET AJAX Web 2.0 startup and an high volume enterprise webapp to millions of users. You will learn some advance tips like optimizing asp.net cookies, fine tuning asp.net membership stored procedures, implementing CDN, distributing content for faster parallel load, tuning asp.net pipeline for maximum performance out of commodity hardware.

 About the Presenter:

Omar is the Chief Architect of Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) Platform in BT, living in London, UK. As the name suggests, I get to do the cool stuffs at BT.

He was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Did his B.Sc. in Computer Science. When he was 9, Omar won the Best Competitor Award in the first Nationwide Computer Programming Contest. Media made his life complicated for a year. Omar’s first startup, when he was 15, was quite successful, where he built 4 multimedia titles and sold in a CD. There was a fun app for pre-school kids to learn alphabets, rhymes, puzzles; one app for teenagers to learn Chemistry with animations, 3D illustrations and a sci-fi style user interface and one app for learning Astronomy with hundreds of videos and clips from Nasa, and one for Tourism in Bangladesh with interactive maps, nearly 400 popular attractions’ photo and description. Omar had built an HTML rendering engine that could render styled text, inline image and video, using Visual Basic 5. If you know VB 5, you would recognize that as a noble-prize candidate effort.

Omar has been awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award 6 times in a row.

Blog: http://www.omaralzabir.com

Click here to register for this event

PHUKRCBDMWNJ

LIDNUG: Scott Guthrie returns for 9th Q&A – Oct 26, 9AM

That’s right folks – Scott Guthrie is back for his 9th installment – he’s been absent from the scene for quite a while now. Hell, his last blog post was somewhere in September and then he went phufff.

But he’s back and we currently have 600+ registrations for the Q&A session, which Scott has normally held every quarter (but obviously with his new role…yes, what does his new role actually mean???…he’s been rather busy and have unfortunately had to postphone this session). But all good things come to those who wait – and it really doesn’t get much better than Scott Guthrie!

 

 

 

LIDNUG is looking for speakers again

Yes, it’s that time of year and we’re looking to fill our next 6 months worth of events for the Linked .Net Users Group (LIDNUG).

So if you have a hot .Net related topic and is interested in doing a virtual presentation (we utilise Live Meeting) for a seriously cool user group, please feel free to ping me (there’s a contact form on my blog).

You can see some of the events we hold on our unofficial website’s recording archives here: http://www.lidnug.org/archives.aspx

Linked .Net Users Group..

The official INETA Linked.NET Group! (LIDNUG)

This group is meant to be for professionals using or interested in the
Microsoft .NET technologies

Professionals that are using or interested in the Microsoft .NET technologies
and the C# language in particular.

The group is for developers,
architects, designers (Silverlight), managers, consultants, Visual Studio
software engineers, QA and Program Managers and anyone else who is
interested.

LIDNUG Home:
http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=43315

Unofficial LIDNUG Home:
http://www.lidnug.org

Event Recording Archives:
http://www.lidnug.org/archives.aspx

We’ve peaked past 45,000 members and have a thriving discussion board on LinkedIn (just follow the LIDNUG Home link above).

 

Early adoption – roadworks ahead

It’s pretty well understood that there’s risks involved with being on the cutting edge and more often than not you run the risk of hitting any of the following big show-stoppers:

Compatiblity

Platform/product either doesn’t support your current toolset or environment and you have to provide additional resources to get past this hurdle. In some cases it’s not even possible and causes delays in the early adoption process. Here’s it’s important to provide feedback to the vendor about the problems/issues and is generally received extremely well.

Stability

Unresolved issues with stability can be a big show stopper, especially when it’s reproducable and is aligned completely with core requirements. Again, feedback to the vendor is essential. Where other third party vendors are involved it’s even more important if this is within a toolset that your business is dependant on.

Interoperatibility

If the platform is part of a chain of processes, not being able to interoperate with those prior or next in the chain (leads back to compatibility in most cases) generally causes a lot of grief. It could even be that prior support for another product/platform/protocol has been removed in a new release, which more often than not causes the adoption process to stop completely.

These are just some of the areas that’s can to poke their heads up when you decide to move forward onto an early release.

These are the pure technical areas that  can cause you sleepless nights so there’s naturally a level of “risk management” involved with the adoption of these new releases. Now, this doesn’t just have to be the only aspects that can hit you but are probably the most often seen problems.

Of course there’s also rewards for being on the cutting edge, some of the areas that I’ve seen positive reactions to the adoption of technology are:

– Positive innovator perception
– Improved technical readiness
– Pilot/PoC opportunities

So how are you approaching adoption of .Net x.x or project codename “Unspecified” on any platform or product that you’re working with?

ReSharper 6.0 Beta 3 is out

One of my favorite Visual Studio extensions is the ReSharper productivity tool.

It’s still one of the best out there and there’s a ton of developers already using ReSharper to stay productive. This extension is pretty much a Must-Have in any developer’s toolbox.

Some of the enhancements in 6.0 Beta 3 over Beta 2 are:

  • Less memory consumption
  • No more never-ending process of scanning source files on solution load
  • Improved performance

If you’re a keen JetBrains fan, then you must get your hands on this latest beta release!

http://www.jetbrains.com/resharper/whatsnew/?dotnetblog

As usual, if you’re having any problems with the beta you can easily submit a bug report to JetBrains.

Visual Studio Extensions I like

There’s a ton of phenomenal extentions available for Visual Studio 2010 these days and you can almost drown in the variety of them that’s available.

But, there’s a few that’s a top “must have” for me right now.

Here’s a list of the ones that i use on a day to day basis:

I’m also playing with a few beta releases at the moment:

I’ll be writing some blogs in the upcoming weeks about my experiences with Armadillo – so stay tuned! Btw, Armadillo is a Bug Prevention extention from TypeMock, and it’s as i noted, currently in beta and free to try out



Getting more involved – virtual communities

As many would have noticed, i’ve been involved with LIDNUG for quite a while now as a group manager. We’ve seen the group grow hugely in the last couple of years and now count more than 43,000+ members – it’s my baby and I’ve spent countless hours organising events and responding to requests/questions from members in the discussions.

LIDNUG went to the “Open Group” model earlier in the year and is now accessible for non-members as well.

One of the big aspects of LIDNUG has been our monthly events [links to upcoming events can be found on the right hand side of my blog] and we’ve gathered some excellent support from our sponsors, with more requests coming in weekly.

We’ll keep rolling out a large range of presentation topics and here in June we have 4 events scheduled (apologies for those registered for the one today which we had to postpone – it’s on in 24hrs).

I’m a firm believer in virtual communities – i feel the reach of these communities extend well and truly far beyond physical locations/restrictions – something which is apparent when you live in the most isolated capital city in the world. To set the record straight, i don’t believe that virtual communities can (or should) replace physical user groups, but more complement them as well as open up opportunities for those that cannot either attend a physical user group or conference.

I was recently asked to assist with another virtual community – also based on LinkedIn – this community has grown well and truly out of mind-boggling proportions, with more than 60,000+ members – the .Net People group doesn’t currently run online events, but we’re working on getting some organised.

Looking at the numbers for these groups then it’s obvious to me that virtual communities can, and will, get more and more attention and is becoming an excellent technical (.Net) source of information.

So now i’m a group manager of both groups and are of course open to presenters wanting to present to our members – give me a shout if you’re interested.

LIDNUG: Zain Naboulsi has double the fun – VS2010 Tips and Tricks 2x Sessions

We’re ready to throw Zain Naboulsi (MSFT DPE) on the big screen again – this time we’ll be holding two sessions on May 31, at 10:30AM PT and 7:30PM PT respectively.

This will be a “Greatest Hits” session which promises to show you how to get productive using our primary tool of the trade – Visual Studio.

Head on over to our registration site for more details.

May 31, 10:30AM PT
http://lidnug-zainnab1.eventbrite.com/

May 31, 7:30PM PT
http://lidnug-zainnab2.eventbrite.com/ 

Zain is the author of Code Faster: Getting Productive with Microsoft Visual Studio (http://amzn.to/iFmIOK)

For over 15 years Zain has been working with the latest Microsoft technologies. He’s been a consultant and trainer since 1995. He currently creates the Visual Studio Tips and Tricks series. Also, he created Online Community Evangelism; which is an effort to build communities in virtual places like LinkedIn, Facebook, and elsewhere.  He is not only a proponent of the community aspect of online environments but also is a supporter of the myriad business applications that these new mediums offer.   

Zain’s efforts have been featured by eWeek, Redmond Developer News, and many others. 

He has been interviewed by Forrester Research, Gartner, and the Science Channel for his work. 

He is a frequent speaker at events in LinkedIn, Facebook, and other online venues. Zain also lectures world-wide on a variety of developer topics.

http://blogs.msdn.com/zainnab

http://twitter.com/zainnab