Linux reigns supreme in the supercomputing realm


In the early days of supercomputing, Unix was the operating system of choice. Remember Unix?  Well, it’s been pretty much supplanted in the 500 largest supercomputers, according to the Linux Foundation, admittedly a non-neutral observer which tracks Linux traction in the bi-annual Top500 supercomputer list.

According to Foundation analysis of 20-year’s worth of Top500 lists,  to be released Tuesday:

“At last count, all of the top 10 computers and 476 of the total list ran the Linux operating system. After first appearing on the list in 1998, Linux has consistently dominated the top 10 over the past decade and has comprised more than 90 percent of the list since June 2010.”

In terms of RMax, the metric used to show how fast a supercomputer can finish the Linpack benchmark calculations used to tabulate the supercomputer performance, Linux leads the pack as well.

In 2004, the sixth year of the…

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Synthetic Biology: playing God or just plain odd? Part 2


At the Future of Humanity Institute in Oxford, a group of academics attempt to unravel the likely cause of the end of the world. The top contenders, so called ‘global catastrophic risks’, include the sci fi stalwart totalitarianism, cold war favourite nuclear war and Jeremy Clarkson bugbear global warming. Also on the list is the threat arising from misuse of biotechnology. In an interview with the BBC in March of this year, the director of the FHI, Nick Bostrom, stated that synthetic biology was a primary concern in this area (along with artificial intelligence and nanotechnology). With these technologies advancing at such a rate, he argues, we are not fully able to comprehend the potential dangers of the tools we develop. This was likened to ‘a dangerous weapon in the hands of a child’ by Bostrom.

Admittedly, these guys are paid good money to let us know that the…

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Telangana Tangle

Politically Incorrect


The much awaited core committee meeting of the Congress party which was held in the second week of July referred the decision on Telangana to the working committee. Some of the news outlets have gone to town before the meeting to say as-if a decision was on the cards.

But for some of us, who have seen the way Congress party has played with the sentiments of people of Andhra Pradesh, the meeting was a non-event. Just observe the sequence of events after the high profile fast from KCR in 2009 and in December P.Chidambaram made a statement “The process to create a separate state of Telangana would be initiated”, which invited celebrations all across Telangana and there was lot of violence and destruction of public property in Seemandhra region by groups who wanted to the united AP to remain intact.

Congress party (I am not mentioning UPA here, because…

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TM: Why Amartya Sen is wrong: Jagdish Bhagwati


July 24, 2013.

The Link


In a brilliant article(*) on Bhagwati versus Sen published in Mint on 10 July, Niranjan Rajadhyaksha unwittingly took one step in the wrong direction in arguing that I could be the economist for Narendra Modi and my good friend Amartya Sen for Rahul Gandhi. Let me explain.

* Read here Gandhi vs Modi is actually Sen vs Bhagwati

It is this tendency to degenerate into personal attacks(*) as against debates on issues that we need to avoid. On the same programme, Sen’s friend, the activist Jean Drèze, produced some toy animals and told Panagariya that he was a unicorn! He is lucky that Panagariya did not respond bitingly and say that Drèze should have described himself as the Nandi bull, with his senior colleague Sen as Lord Shiva who had hurt masses of India’s poor. But is this what Sen wants us to…

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