Saturday, April 25, 2009

8 cores and above - Is the race worth it?

AMD has announced plans to beat Intel to 12 cores, releasing both 8 and 12 core processors, codenamed Magny-Cours, in Q1 2010.  It has also announced that it will in 2011 roll out its 32 nm Bulldozer core, which will feature up to 16 cores, running on the new Sandtiger architecture.  In short -- AMD plans to beat Intel in the core race.

You may note that Engineers at Sandia National Laboratories did simulation of 8, 16 and 32 cores, and have opined that performance of multi-core machines would level off or even decline beyond 8 cores,due to limited memory bandwidth.

Read more here.

At the heart of the trouble is the so-called memory wall—the growing disparity between how fast a CPU can operate on data and how fast it can get the data it needs. Although the number of cores per processor is increasing, the number of connections from the chip to the rest of the computer is not. So keeping all the cores fed with data is a problem. In informatics applications, the problem is worse, explains Richard C. Murphy, a senior member of the technical staff at Sandia, because there is no physical relationship between what a processor may be working on and where the next set of data it needs may reside. Instead of being in the cache of the core next door, the data may be on a DRAM chip in a rack 20 meters away and need to leave the chip, pass through one or more routers and optical fibers, and find its way onto the processor.

I would really love to run the MT tests that would show the performance at 6 and 8 core. Searching ...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Go for that “Impulse Purchase”

‘Planned purchase’ is something I have been doing for past several years. It is generally believed that as you “mature” you do more planned purchases versus impulsive purchases. Impulsive purchase has been linked with the “impulsive youth”. Sometimes is has also been associated with immaturity. While, planned purchase is something I have generally been very proud of, I have lately realized the downside of this approach, and I am beginning to think if it is a bad thing.

Planned purchase is invariable associated with – a) massive market research, b) massive product research, c) understanding your own requirements, d) deciding the exact price point for best price performance ratio, e) sometime getting into the microscopic details of the product, for differentiation in a commoditized product, technology or service. All this might take anywhere from a few days to a few months – eventually leading to a “better purchase”.

When you buy something, one of the important things that must happen after the purchase is – “you must derive great sense of satisfaction from your purchase”. I have come up with an approximate relationship between satisfaction and the research you do on the product, the relationship is:

So, I am postulating that the satisfaction is inversely proportional to the amount of research you do on the product. The more you do research, the less satisfaction you get after doing the purchase.

If you are buying an electronic gadget, many times, there are several less documented small features that come in with a gadget – like a quick-access button in a smartphone, a hidden pocket in a backpack or the cool 3.2MP webcam in a laptop. These features almost appear like “serendipity” when you accidentally find it, you feel pleasantly surprised in your new gadget. All that surprise is gone when you have done 4 months of study on all the smartphones available in the market. I feel that this is a big bummer.

An extension of the above rule is that satisfaction is directly proportional to the ‘Impulsiveness of Purchase’. I think there are ample examples of my friends who have purchased stuff with little research, and have been immensely satisfied with their purchase.

What do you think?

A caveat to these rules will be – don’t apply this on large sized purchases. Like don’t apply this when buying a house or a car ?

So, guess what, as of today, I am shifting my slider from the ‘planned purchase’ to the ‘impulsive purchase’ side.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Analysis: Which URL Shortening Service Should You Use?

Danny Sullivan has a written a great writeup on comparing different URL shortners. The article is really interesting, you should read it here.

Danny presented this table in the article, which is the key document in this article. Check it out.

I also did a quick search of the popularity of each of the URL shortening service. Here are the results: 23,000,000 3,840,000 3,160,000 480,000 144,000
snurl 109,000 8,810 6,060