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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    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?
    Compilers and interpreter would then be the main pieces of software to be optimized. Also, a there are likely to still be programming styles that run faster than others. C# and Java also have many memory-model aspects to it (C# especially), so you can exploit CPU architectures if you want. The various scripting languages however don't generally give you enough control. Python and Perl can if you dig into their documentation(maybe others too), but it is significantly more difficult.

    IMO, however that code should aim at priorities in this order (all else being equal).
    1)Clearly correct/robust
    2)elegant
    3)fast

    If you optimize for an architecture too soon, the code will likely become impossible to maintain. Even trying to get an asymptotically faster algorithm (lower theoretical time complexity), can be detrimental till the functionality is figured out.

    We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil. Yet we should not pass up our opportunities in that critical 3%. - Don Knuth, paraphrasing Hoare
    Our initial algorithm was a nested set of loops. Find every particle's affect on every other particle, calculate the new accelerations, velocities, positions for the time-step, then repeat. Actually, a very simple program. By the time the optimizations were done, the printed code was like a small book.

    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    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'll PM you. It is something much more simple.

    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    Well, I guess I am, to some degree. I do use computers quite often, and have for a while.
    I thought your job involved computers too.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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    "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. #22
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Compilers and interpreter would then be the main pieces of software to be optimized. Also, a there are likely to still be programming styles that run faster than others. C# and Java also have many memory-model aspects to it (C# especially), so you can exploit CPU architectures if you want. The various scripting languages however don't generally give you enough control. Python and Perl can if you dig into their documentation(maybe others too), but it is significantly more difficult.

    IMO, however that code should aim at priorities in this order (all else being equal).
    1)Clearly correct/robust
    2)elegant
    3)fast

    If you optimize for an architecture too soon, the code will likely become impossible to maintain. Even trying to get an asymptotically faster algorithm (lower theoretical time complexity), can be detrimental till the functionality is figured out.
    But isn't C# dependent on Windows/Microsoft? Or is it cross-platform? I agree with the idea that it should be designed to work properly towards what it was designed for first of all, and that speed is less important although it's nice (especially since hardware keeps getting faster anyway). Elegance would be most important in easing maintainance, I think, which is important if you're writing something that you'll be going back and revising/adding things to.


    Our initial algorithm was a nested set of loops. Find every particle's affect on every other particle, calculate the new accelerations, velocities, positions for the time-step, then repeat. Actually, a very simple program. By the time the optimizations were done, the printed code was like a small book.
    How did you manage to stay focused on something for the amount of time it would take to write something like that? Sounds painful. In fact, that's probably why I've never really programmed anything myself even though I've studied enough to understand a lot of things involved in programming... I'm too impatient to sit around and work towards one specific thing like that.

    I thought your job involved computers too.
    No... I'm just a 19 year old who's never had a job, in fact. Although with a bit of studying in that direction, I think might be smart enough to be a network administrator or something if I wanted.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    But isn't C# dependent on Windows/Microsoft? Or is it cross-platform? I agree with the idea that it should be designed to work properly towards what it was designed for first of all, and that speed is less important although it's nice (especially since hardware keeps getting faster anyway). Elegance would be most important in easing maintainance, I think, which is important if you're writing something that you'll be going back and revising/adding things to.
    Almost all commercial software is reused (whether the original coders wanted it to be reused). Software productivity research has found that maintenance cost dominates software cost structure. So maintenance/reuse friendliness (which I call "elegance") may be even more important in the long run, than initial correctness. There are lots of applications where users are fairly bug tolerant, also.

    Something you write for school need not be elegant (or even clearly correct for that matter, you just have to pass the test cases they use on your program).

    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    How did you manage to stay focused on something for the amount of time it would take to write something like that? Sounds painful. In fact, that's probably why I've never really programmed anything myself even though I've studied enough to understand a lot of things involved in programming... I'm too impatient to sit around and work towards one specific thing like that.
    I didn't. We had a pro. software developer in our group, and he did most of the coding. A few years ago, I may have been able to do it, but now I am as familiar with VHDL and Verilog (hardware description languages) as I am with C.

    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    No... I'm just a 19 year old who's never had a job, in fact. Although with a bit of studying in that direction, I think might be smart enough to be a network administrator or something if I wanted.
    What about a Database admin. and Network Admin.? If you can do both, there will be many a server back-room looking for your skills.

    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. #24
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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"?
    lol! Those were precisely the words that shot through my head when I read his post!

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    "Yup. We're optimizing a particle simulation," I elaborated.

    "OK, I have no idea what that is," she said.

    "What?!", I thought to myself. "Optimize, Particle, simulation, all those words are understood by most people. Sure. There are a lot of details I left out. But they are irrelevant."
    I wouldn't have had any idea what you meant by optimizing a particle simulation--wouldn't even have guessed that you meant something with computers.

    In situations like that, most people are just looking for a conversation window. When you throw them a curve by using terminology they don't readily understand, they may feel like you're putting them off and subtly telling them that you're not interested in conversation except with people who speak the same lingo. Their response, which makes you feel like you're being judged, may simply be a reaction to feeling like you've judged them. Neither of you is in the wrong; you've both just misunderstood each other.

    If you want to fix the misunderstanding, just flash a smile at the person and respond with something like, "It's not nearly as interesting as it sounds," and then say something pleasantly conversational. Ask about their work or tell them a funny story that happened to you recently. Anything to show that you're not trying to get out of talking to them by intentionally using terms they might not know.

  6. #26
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Have you ever used that phrase, or had it used on you?
    I've used a modified version of the phrase. It works something like this:

    *blinks* Hmmm XXX... I'm not sure what that is...

    That's mostly to pause the conversation so I can think. Often times I follow it up with "Is it related to ..." or "Hmmmm.... OH! XXX! You mean like...."

    I don't think anybody has used it on me though. I tend to be so out of it that people just give me a look and slowly back away.

  7. #27
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    That's part of working in a technical field though, you'll probably get that a lot, because most people won't understand what you do and probably most of them have no interest in ever understanding it.
    This has been annoyance throughout my life, since a lot of the stuff I get very interested in involves specialized/technical types of knowledge, which I than can't really talk about or share with other people without them not really getting it, and me not being able ot fully share excitement or interest.

    I've used a modified version of the phrase. It works something like this:

    *blinks* Hmmm XXX... I'm not sure what that is...

    That's mostly to pause the conversation so I can think. Often times I follow it up with "Is it related to ..." or "Hmmmm.... OH! XXX! You mean like...."
    This is usually my response also, usually with me trying to think through what the other person said, though they usually provide a clearer explanation after a second or so.

    I really hate, and have never used, the exact expression in the thread title, since it has kind of an insulting subtext of "You may have put lots of energy into whatever that is, but I won't give you the time and energy to try and understand it, and will ignore the time and energy you put into it."

  8. #28
    Dhampyr Economica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    That's part of working in a technical field though, you'll probably get that a lot, because most people won't understand what you do and probably most of them have no interest in ever understanding it.
    You techies have it good! Try telling people you do something that they mistakenly think they know what is, like economics. Most people (in my country anyway) think it's accounting and they get this overly polite look on their face that I suspect dentists see a lot too. I haven't yet found a way to clear up the misconception without seeming defensive.

  9. #29
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Economica View Post
    You techies have it good! Try telling people you do something that they mistakenly think they know what is, like economics. Most people (in my country anyway) think it's accounting and they get this overly polite look on their face that I suspect dentists see a lot too. I haven't yet found a way to clear up the misconception without seeming defensive.
    Heh, you know what's cute about this? Thinking that economics is more interesting than accounting.

    See, when someone says "I'm an economist", I say "I'm so sorry"... but when I someone says "I'm an accountant", I say "Least you make money".

  10. #30
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Economica View Post
    You techies have it good! Try telling people you do something that they mistakenly think they know what is, like economics. Most people (in my country anyway) think it's accounting and they get this overly polite look on their face that I suspect dentists see a lot too. I haven't yet found a way to clear up the misconception without seeming defensive.
    How sad is it that I didn't know you were in Economics despite your screen name? I assumed it was just a hobby of yours... and I heard you were unemployed anyway.

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