Why another weblog?
By Ruud on Oct 31, 2005
My name is Ruud van der Pas. I'm in engineering and have been with Sun for a little over 7 years now. My main interests are in the area of application performance and interval arithmetic/analysis.
The reason for me to start this weblog is because I meet a lot of our customers. It is always very inspiring to talk with them. I'm interested to find out what they're doing, how they use our products and what sort of problems they're struggling with. In talking with them, I learn a lot and hopefully they sometimes also pick up something from me.
I realized a weblog could be a convenient and easy way to share some of that information with a larger group of people all around the world. We will see how this works out, but for now I plan to go for it.
Regarding application performance I focus on technical-scientific programs. I'm not only interested in cranking up single processor performance, but also to apply shared memory parallelization through either the Sun compiler that you can ask to automatically parallelize your application, and/or by using the OpenMP programming model (http://www.openmp.org).
I expect both to get increasingly popular, given the CMT technologies that are out there today and what looms on the horizon. Think about it. If you have a chip with multiple cores, isn't it great if you can take advantage of that and speed up a single application? For a while, most people will go for the additional throughput and run several applications (e.g. Mozilla and StarOffice) side by side. But how far can you push that? Eventually you will want one single application to go faster, especially as the number of cores on a chip is going to increase, and then OpenMP provides are very nice solution. I plan to write a lot about that in the future.
My second passion is about interval arithmetic and interval analysis. You can expect me to write a lot about that as well. So what is it? Conceptually it is easy. Instead of using a single variable to store some value, you use an interval [a,b] say to store a range of values.
In many cases, that is a very natural approach, as data is usually not known precisely and/or may fluctuate (think of the wind speeds around a building for example).
Once you do this, a whole new world opens up. And it is a fascinating world. A description of many problems in physics, chemistry and math is often more natural when using intervals, because the parameters in the model are for example not known with 100 percent accuracy. So, intervals are not only more natural, one can also solve problems that can not be solved otherwise.
I'm the first one to admit though that this is not easy. To me, it is the way to go though. The fact it is hard is a challenge that should encourage people to figure things out and make progress.
Well, that is it for the first time.