The KIT ─ Knowledge & Information Technology
Issue No. 41 - 1 February 2011
In This Issue
European Exascale Software Initiative
Mike Rosen's EA Resolutions
Re-thinking the Internet
Dilbert Does Cloud
Seen Recently...
CB photo
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European HPC
The European Exascale Software Initiative (EESI) held a workshop in Amsterdam, bringing 80 international experts to discuss its roadmap in terms of software development and performance analysis, but also the governance and funding of this high-performance computing initiative.
While the initiative is interesting, given the software challenges posed by massively parallel (multicore) platforms, the EESI program's goals are described in this HPCwire interview as a roadmap and a set of recommendations to the funding agencies. Typically, the main result of the Amsterdam meeting seems to have been the creation of eight working groups. When in doubt, form committees...
Mike Rosen Want Your Hands Dirty
In what has become an annual event on the Cutter Consortium's blog, Mike Rosen recently gave his "EA New Year's Resolutions, Sixth Edition." His five recommended resolutions are entitled:
  1. Learn about business architecture
  2. Embrace systems thinking
  3. Understand architectural views
  4. Update your knowledge of frameworks
  5. Get your hands dirty
The Buzz on Quora
Quora is "a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it." Quora started in March 2009, but there is a sudden buzz about it, causing us to raise our skeptical eyebrows. User answers are supposed to combine into a comprehensive body of knowledge about the initial question. Yet, when you browse the site, you mostly see linear discussion threads that do not converge. Some threads are prefaced by an editorial summary, but it usually says "many people seem to think that..., but others disagree and think that..." so its value is not entirely clear.
There are now many collaborative knowledge building sites, as well as open-source knowledge sites where people publish information for free. Most of these efforts seem motivated to directly challenge the Wikipedia model. They include Hunch, Aardvark, Google knols, but also Slideshare as well as the "serious subset" of YouTube (e.g., the TED conference videos).
The questions we need to ask, when considering these sites for personal or professional use, or to deploy similar social knowledge tools inside the enterprise, are:
  • What is the model (single authorship by an expert, single authorship with comments, joint authorship...)?
  • What is the authority model ("wisdom of crowds" vs.  more traditional editorial controls)?
  • Is this aimed at providing immediate but fleeting information like Twitter, or persistent and perhaps fairly static knowledge like Wikipedia?
Re-Thinking the Internet
Dr. Vint Cerf, "Chief Internet Evangelist" at Google and widely hailed as one of the "fathers of the Internet," will give on Feb. 8, as part of the "Stanford Engineering Hero Event," a live webcast that promises to be fascinating. The webcast will be at 7:00 pm Pacific (9:00 pm Central, 10:00 pm Eastern, unfortunately in the middle of the night for Europe, but this will hopefully be recorded for later replay).
Get details and register here (you will need to create a free account with the Stanford Center for Professional Development).


Full disclosure: Claude Baudoin did a Master's Project at Stanford in 1974 under Prof. Cerf, so there is a certain amount of personal loyalty and awe involved, but I think you will like what you hear.

Dilbert on Cloud Computing
January 7, 2011 strip. Enough said...
Seen Recently...
"[The] supposed scientific observation on individual programmer productivity variations only deserves the name of folklore, unsubstantiated bits of opinion which are transmitted and kept alive for reasons more cultural than rational."
-- Laurent Bossavit, of Institut Agile, in his blog,
referring to a claim, widely repeated since 1968, that good
programmers are 10 times more productive than ordinary ones