The KIT ─ Knowledge & Information Technology
Issue No. 67 - 1 March 2012
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In This Issue
Turing Centennial
Cutter Summits
NIST Foci in 2012
Microsoft's C++ AMP
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Centennial: Alan M. Turing
Alan M. Turing, the British mathematician who provided a formal foundation to computer science and broke the Nazi cryptography codes during WWII, was born on June 23, 1912. The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) will hold a centennial celebration in San Francisco on June 15-16. more details at turing100.acm.org.
Cutter Summits in Mexico City and Boston
 The Cutter Consortium is holding two of its regular Summits soon:
  • The "Business and Enterprise Architecture Summit 2012" is next week, March 7-8, in Mexico City. After a day of keynote presentations, Claude Baudoin, Bob Benson, Terry Merriman and Mike Rosen will each lead a half-day workshop.
  • "Summit 2012: Executive Education+" takes place April 2-4 in Cambridge, Mass. It includes keynotes, panels, roundtables, and workshops. Some registration discounts are still available until March 5.
NIST Foci in 2012
The U.S. National Institute of Stanfards and Technology (NIST) is adding "big data" and mobility to its areas of work in 2012. Other areas of work, coninuing from previous years, include cybersecurity and cloud computing (for which NIST published a well-respected reference architecture in September 2011). You can find out a little more about NIST's plans in this InformationWeek article.
Parallelizing C++ Programs for GPUs
The generalization of multicore architectures had created a bit of a panic two years ago, when it became obvious that in order to exploit the power of the new systems, software needed to be developed differently, using parallel programming skills that are not common.

The rise of the Graphical Processing Unit (GPU), and the realization that beside rendering high-speed graphics, it can also be used to run general computation tasks in a highly parallel manner, exacerbated the need to make this kind of programming easier.

Libraries and language extensions started appearing to facilitate (or completely hide) the creation and management of parallel threads. For computing grids, you have OpenMP. For C programs, you have MIT's Cilk. For Java programs, there were several academic efforts, plus the ATEJI PX language extension, mentioned in past issues of the KIT (ATEJI failed to attract enough paying customers, closed as a company and offered to donate the software to the open-source community). This fate is unlikely to befall Microsoft, who announced four weeks ago a rather redundantly-named "Accelerated Massive Parallelism" specification for C++, supported by GPU maker Nvidia. In fact, C++ AMP was first mentioned in this MSDN blog post in June 2011, but the publication of the specification is new. Peter Bright's post on Ars Technica is a clear, concise description of C++ AMP.
Seen Recently...

"If my phone doesn't respond to my touch, do I still exist?"

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"More often than not, the thrill of a Facebook friend request dies upon discovering who it is."

-- Dave Pack (@davepeck)