Thursday Mar 26, 2009

Cloud Computing in 6 Minutes

Yesterday I visited Sun's European Education & Research Conference in Berlin where my colleague Manuel and I ran a session on Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing. Web 2.0 companies have really pioneered the use of cloud computing for their businesses, taking advantage of the low entry cost and high elasticity that clouds provide. These are really good things if you only have a few hundred or so users on one day, then all of a sudden you face hundreds of thousands of them, just because somebody featured your company on Techcrunch or some famous VC twittered about your service. So the two subjects go really well together so our session room was quite packed and we had some good discussions with attendees afterwards.

Sun Campus Ambassadors Alper Celik and Gökhan Dogan from KTH University in Sweden were busy interviewing a lot of people during the conference with their digital camera, and both Manuel and I got our few minutes of YouTube fame with them. Here's Manuel talking about Web 2.0:

And here's yours truly, trying to explain Cloud Computing in about 6 minutes:

Curious about Cloud Computing? Check out the Sun Cloud or start developing Web Services inside the Cloud from the comfort of your web browser the easy way using Zembly.

Alper and Gökhan were really busy, they published a bunch of other interviews on YouTube the very same day. Just search YouTube for "European Education and Research Conference" and you'll find more than a dozen of their interviews.

Gökhan also participated in his university's WaterWell project that used Sun SPOT technology to create a wireless sensor network that monitors water quality. Here's Gökhan explaining his project:

With a generation of students that show this kind of motivation, I'm not really worried about how to come out of this recession :).

Wednesday Oct 15, 2008

Chip Multi-Threading, Cooking and the Anatomy of a Viral Video

Here's a fun video about chip multi-threading, explained through cooking:

The Story

For those of you who don't speak German: Ingo, the hero of this movie, wants to cook German roulades. He uses his hands as registers, while his table serves as a level 1 cache. The instruction cache is his brain, where the recipe resides. Soon, he reaches the point at which it says: "Pour red wine into the pan". There's no red wine in the registers, no wine in the L1 cache, so he needs to ask his memory subsystem: "Hooooney, would you mind bringing me a bottle of Merlot from the basement, pleaaaase?"

While "honey", the memory subsystem, is busy bringing wine, Ingo explains that at this point, there's no difference whether he stirs the dish at 1.4 GHz, or at 4.5 GHz (this is the piece where his stirring gets frantic). Actually, he'd rather use his precious time to do other useful things with what he has in L1 cache already, for example cook dumplings, or prepare dessert. That would indeed help a lot in getting dinner ready sooner, even while waiting for "honey" to bring some wine.

And that is the whole point of chip multi-threading.

Now, imagine 8 Ingos, each with two hands (think pipelines) and doing 4 dishes per hand (read: threads). What a feast!

CMT Cooking Going Viral

I first saw Ingo giving this presentation in February, during Sun Germany's Partner University event. It was hilarious, the whole  room was laughing and we knew he needed to do it again. So, with the help of a few people, Ingo and Ulrike created this fun video.

They posted it on YouTube in July and we featured it on one episode of the HELDENFunk podcast for German system admins. Soon, Ingo reached a few hundred downloads and we thought: "Cool, we have a new fun video to share!"

Then, Alex Wunschel, aka the "Podpimp", one of the more well-known podcasters in Germany and a listener of the HELDENFunk podcast, twittered about Ingo's memory subsystem called "Schatz!" (the German equivalent of "honey"). That was even cooler.

Then, Thomas Knüwer saw Alex' Tweet, and blogged about it. On the "Handelsblatt" blog. Think something like "Fortune" Magazine in German. And he got 14 comments. Gulp. 

The result: Ingo's views skyrocketed, soon he was in the thousands, and last time I checked, he had more than 13,500 views, for a 3.5 minute video about chip multi-threading and a memory subsystem called "honey". Nice!

Today, Alec and I chatted about Ingo's video and apparently, he liked it very much. Well, I guess Ingo can start counting again. This time, english speaking viewers, too. Have fun!

Would you like Ingo to dub his video in English? Or do you prefer the German version? Just drop a comment below! 

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