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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    I probably would have asked if it had anything to do with car diagnostics, temperature sensors, the new hardware security being implemented in Vista, or something else altogether. That one I didn't quite get... it seems to depend on what part, and what kind of computer.
    This one I have to keep intentionally vague because of a non-disclosure agreement at work. I can't let people know what I am working on, so I have a really hard time with the "what do you do" question. Especially, for people who already know I work as a computer engineer.

    Still, I have never figured out how to gauge when to use what type of words. I feel really condescending when I try to "dumb down" things. I know that different people know different things, but I seem to severely over-estimate common knowledge.

    But somehow, (exemplified by the particle simulation optimization) I think I prefer a different type of vagueness/ambiguity than most people.

    I like to be specific and precise (and like for others to be the same), but leave out the details to be filled in later. If the words used are unknown, or if more details are wanted, I figure questions will follow.

    Other types of vagueness is frustrating for me. For example, use of the same word/phrase for different meanings (that I am to select from based on tone of voice) is very frustrating for me. Sarcasm is something often lost on me. So too are put-ons.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    This one I have to keep intentionally vague because of a non-disclosure agreement at work. I can't let people know what I am working on, so I have a really hard time with the "what do you do" question. Especially, for people who already know I work as a computer engineer.
    Well, then why don't you just say, "I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you"? Besides, the fact of a non-disclosure agreement existing combined with you being a computer engineer gives me the feeling that I probably shouldn't trust any computer hardware that comes out in the next few years, and will have to tolerate an invasion of privacy by a certain company in Redmond (or maybe the RIAA/MPAA) on an unprecedented scale if something doesn't happen to stop it soon. I'll bet you're also not allowed to say who you're working for, are you? This is so cloak and dagger!
    Still, I have never figured out how to gauge when to use what type of words. I feel really condescending when I try to "dumb down" things. I know that different people know different things, but I seem to severely over-estimate common knowledge.
    Yeah, sometimes I do too.
    But somehow, (exemplified by the particle simulation optimization) I think I prefer a different type of vagueness/ambiguity than most people.

    I like to be specific and precise (and like for others to be the same), but leave out the details to be filled in later. If the words used are unknown, or if more details are wanted, I figure questions will follow.
    Well, that works okay with me, as you can see. Now I'm probably going to look up "particle simulations" out of curiosity, even though I have no reason to.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    Well, then why don't you just say, "I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you"? Besides, the fact of a non-disclosure agreement existing combined with you being a computer engineer gives me the feeling that I probably shouldn't trust any computer hardware that comes out in the next few years, and will have to tolerate an invasion of privacy by a certain company in Redmond (or maybe the RIAA/MPAA) on an unprecedented scale if something doesn't happen to stop it soon. I'll bet you're also not allowed to say who you're working for, are you? This is so cloak and dagger!
    Well, the NDA is so that competitors don't start instituting policies similar to ours. My company like to keep the technologies our department works on as Trade Secrets (legal term) instead of getting them patented. You needn't worry about anything malicious that I put in you computer. (or so I claim )

    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    Well, that works okay with me, as you can see. Now I'm probably going to look up "particle simulations" out of curiosity, even though I have no reason to.
    The particles are points with unit mass and can go through each other. They bounce off walls in the simulation environment. There is an attractive force between particles (that mimics gravity) and a repelling force (when they get close). That's all there was to our particles. This was for a computer architecture class.

    We had to optimize the simulation code for a particular computing cluster that we had at school. That means doing what was necessary to parallelize the simulation code for up to 4 CPUs (max we were allowed), and to take advantage of the particular hardware we were using. (Again leaving out details but being specific, I can't help it).

    It helped that we had a genius in our project group. The improvements from his ideas were immense.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Well, the NDA is so that competitors don't start instituting policies similar to ours. My company like to keep the technologies our department works on as Trade Secrets (legal term) instead of getting them patented. You needn't worry about anything malicious that I put in you computer. (or so I claim )
    Okay... but if I said that because of the impression I got, I felt very worried about friends of mine who occasionally wear an eye-patch (metaphorically speaking), would you say I had good instincts, or not?


    The particles are points with unit mass and can go through each other. They bounce off walls in the simulation environment. There is an attractive force between particles (that mimics gravity) and a repelling force (when they get close). That's all there was to our particles. This was for a computer architecture class.

    We had to optimize the simulation code for a particular computing cluster that we had at school. That means doing what was necessary to parallelize the simulation code for up to 4 CPUs (max we were allowed), and to take advantage of the particular hardware we were using. (Again leaving out details but being specific, I can't help it).

    It helped that we had a genius in our project group. The improvements from his ideas were immense.
    Oh, so they were points in a 3D environment rather than a simulation of a specific atom or molecule, and they needed to be optimized to take advantage of parallel processing capabilities?

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    Okay... but if I said that because of the impression I got, I felt very worried about friends of mine who occasionally wear an eye-patch (metaphorically speaking), would you say I had good instincts, or not?
    Now, for that, I won't say anything. It is like obeying the speed limit even if there aren't any cops around.

    I used to pirate software in college, it was kind of silly since I never used the stuff that often. You get so much for free anyway, why bother?

    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    Oh, so they were points in a 3D environment rather than a simulation of a specific atom or molecule, and they needed to be optimized to take advantage of parallel processing capabilities?
    2D environment (but 3D would have been a minor change). It needed to be optimized for both parallel processing and to take advantage of the architecture of the particular CPUs in the cluster.

    ----------
    You know. I think we can make this in to a productive thread, if people tried to "talk shop" about their particular fields, and we all guess what they are trying to say.

    That way we can work on our communication skills, while (maybe) noting communication differences between types.

    What do you think?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Now, for that, I won't say anything. It is like obeying the speed limit even if there aren't any cops around.

    I used to pirate software in college, it was kind of silly since I never used the stuff that often. You get so much for free anyway, why bother?
    Haven't really done that for software... I did download music and video game ROMs when I was younger, but that's mainly because it didn't register that it was illegal... I stopped downloading them when I found out, but I didn't delete the ones I already had, although I did start seeking out physical copies of them so I wouldn't feel like I had stolen anything.

    But it does annoy me that I might be forced to tolerate wasted processing overhead and invasive security procedures that dictate how I can use my computer because of the new security models they're introducing, and all because some people want to watch digital media on their computers rather than a television, and maybe also because some people would try to steal a copy of Windows.

    And actually, I really am already worried about friends who do that with software, especially (don't think there's as much potential for protection traps on MP3 music)... some of them openly admit to downloading things on BitTorrent as if they weren't doing anything wrong. and refuse to believe it's really illegal when I tell them. I'm constantly worried they'll be arrested.
    2D environment (but 3D would have been a minor change). It needed to be optimized for both parallel processing and to take advantage of the architecture of the particular CPUs in the cluster.
    Ah, interesting. What architecture? Was it x86 or x64 compatible?
    ----------
    You know. I think we can make this in to a productive thread, if people tried to "talk shop" about their particular fields, and we all guess what they are trying to say.

    That way we can work on our communication skills, while (maybe) noting communication differences between types.

    What do you think?
    That would be hard for me, because I'm not in a field. I've never worked or gone to school for what I know, actually. Most of it is stuff I've picked up in various hobbies, or simply investigating various topics.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    Haven't really done that for software... I did download music and video game ROMs when I was younger, but that's mainly because it didn't register that it was illegal... I stopped downloading them when I found out, but I didn't delete the ones I already had, although I did start seeking out physical copies of them so I wouldn't feel like I had stolen anything.

    But it does annoy me that I might be forced to tolerate wasted processing overhead and invasive security procedures that dictate how I can use my computer because of the new security models they're introducing, and all because some people want to watch digital media on their computers rather than a television, and maybe also because some people would try to steal a copy of Windows.

    And actually, I really am already worried about friends who do that with software, especially (don't think there's as much potential for protection traps on MP3 music)... some of them openly admit to downloading things on BitTorrent as if they weren't doing anything wrong. and refuse to believe it's really illegal when I tell them. I'm constantly worried they'll be arrested.
    I would prefer the security features to having to continually debug my relatives computers. If it is hardware assisted, the overhead should be minimal. We are constantly looking for new things to do with our die area anyway. Also, I don't think they will restrict user freedom beyond keeping them from stealing IP.

    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    Ah, interesting. What architecture? Was it x86 or x64 compatible?
    1.8 GHz AMD Opteron 244s (so x86_64, but that really didn't matter since we were more effected by caching and the unnecessary use of the math library). The Opterons have a pipeline that is 12 or 17 stages deep, depending on whether an instruction is integer or floating point. These each have a 64 KB 2-way associative L1 data cache and a 1 MB 16-way associative unified L2 cache. The block size for both caches is 64 bytes.

    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    That would be hard for me, because I'm not in a field. I've never worked or gone to school for what I know, actually. Most of it is stuff I've picked up in various hobbies, or simply investigating various topics.
    Most people pick things up that way anyway.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    I would prefer the security features to having to continually debug my relatives computers. If it is hardware assisted, the overhead should be minimal. We are constantly looking for new things to do with our die area anyway. Also, I don't think they will restrict user freedom beyond keeping them from stealing IP.
    I guess I just don't like the idea of having activity monitored and controlled that closely, because it could also lead to privacy invasion, and a requirement to keep your computer online at all times just to use it. Also, I really don't think anyone who can't debug a computer has any business using one. That might be because I learned how to use one back in the mid-90's when it took more effort, and have noticed the typical quality of conversation on the Internet fall as it got easier to use. Coincidence? I think not.

    1.8 GHz AMD Opteron 244s (so x86_64, but that really didn't matter since we were more effected by caching and the unnecessary use of the math library). The Opterons have a pipeline that is 12 or 17 stages deep, depending on whether an instruction is integer or floating point. These each have a 64 KB 2-way associative L1 data cache and a 1 MB 16-way associative unified L2 cache. The block size for both caches is 64 bytes.
    That's interesting, and very detailed. I wonder if that means that a particular program can run very differently on hardware of the same generation, even if it has similar theoretical capacities in terms of speed and cache size? But it brings me to another thought... do you think AMD will remain competitive with Intel? It isn't that I'm particularly loyal to them for some reason, but if AMD gets too far behind, Intel can charge whatever they please, and stop producing new models.

    Most people pick things up that way anyway.
    So even if a person doesn't formally "work" in a particular field per se, they could be considered to be associated with it in a sense if they've studied it? I wonder what field people would think I was in based on how I tend to phrase things (most of the time, not just in this conversation)?

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    I guess I just don't like the idea of having activity monitored and controlled that closely, because it could also lead to privacy invasion, and a requirement to keep your computer online at all times just to use it. Also, I really don't think anyone who can't debug a computer has any business using one. That might be because I learned how to use one back in the mid-90's when it took more effort, and have noticed the typical quality of conversation on the Internet fall as it got easier to use. Coincidence? I think not.
    I will leave this one alone. Privacy issues can be very touchy. As evil as people think Microsoft and Intel are, I don't think they would invade privacy like people think they will.

    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    That's interesting, and very detailed. I wonder if that means that a particular program can run very differently on hardware of the same generation, even if it has similar theoretical capacities in terms of speed and cache size? But it brings me to another thought... do you think AMD will remain competitive with Intel? It isn't that I'm particularly loyal to them for some reason, but if AMD gets too far behind, Intel can charge whatever they please, and stop producing new models.
    People can write programs to exploit a fully-associative cache that is smaller than a direct mapped cache that is bigger (with the same hit/miss times) by targeting memory locations that index to the same place on the direct mapped cache, but are actually different locations. Arrays work better in direct mapped caches than linked-lists do partly for that reason (arrays are just more generally cache friendly, since linked lists can pull in data from several different blocks even when dealing with a little memory--a case for writing your own memory manager/overriding the new operator in C++). Hardware engineers make decisions based on what they believe will be the average case. Software developers can break those assumptions if they want.

    As for the your AMD vs. Intel question, I am severely biased, and cannot answer it in good faith. Still, IMO, that competition is a good thing, even for the companies that are competing.

    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    So even if a person doesn't formally "work" in a particular field per se, they could be considered to be associated with it in a sense if they've studied it? I wonder what field people would think I was in based on how I tend to phrase things (most of the time, not just in this conversation)?
    I think your field is whatever you chose it to be at the time. You seem like a computer geek, like many on this forum.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    I will leave this one alone. Privacy issues can be very touchy. As evil as people think Microsoft and Intel are, I don't think they would invade privacy like people think they will.
    You're probably right. They haven't done so in the past, and I think if they really wanted to do that, they would have already found a way by now.
    People can write programs to exploit a fully-associative cache that is smaller than a direct mapped cache that is bigger (with the same hit/miss times) by targeting memory locations that index to the same place on the direct mapped cache, but are actually different locations. Arrays work better in direct mapped caches than linked-lists do partly for that reason (arrays are just more generally cache friendly, since linked lists can pull in data from several different blocks even when dealing with a little memory--a case for writing your own memory manager/overriding the new operator in C++). Hardware engineers make decisions based on what they believe will be the average case. Software developers can break those assumptions if they want.
    It sounds like to take advantage of these differences, you would have to write code on a fairly low level (C++, C or Assembler). Do you think the increasing use of high-level languages will cancel the advantages of using a particular architecture, or at least result in many of them being designed around the idiosyncrasies of a particular programming language? Or has this already happened?
    As for the your AMD vs. Intel question, I am severely biased, and cannot answer it in good faith. Still, IMO, that competition is a good thing, even for the companies that are competing.
    Have you had bad experiences with one company's processors, by any chance? Or do you just dislike the design principles/manufacturing standards of one of the companies? When did you become biased?

    I think your field is whatever you chose it to be at the time. You seem like a computer geek, like many on this forum.
    Well, I guess I am, to some degree. I do use computers quite often, and have for a while.

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