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Showing posts from January, 2012

Cloud computing or HPC? Finding trends.

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Enable innovation and efficiency in product design and manufacture by using more powerful simulations. Apply more complex models to better understand and predict the behaviour of the world around us. Process datasets faster and with more advance analyses to extract more reliable and previously hidden insights and opportunities.

All ambitions that will probably resonate with those seeking scientific advances, commercial innovation, industrial growth and more cost-effective research. Underpinning all of the above is the use of more powerful computing methods and technologies. Faster and more capable computers - but equally important - more advanced and better performing algorithms and software implementations.

It's a pretty convincing story for those who take the time to listen - whether business leaders, governments, or research funders. Even in these challenging economic times, it has led to investments from industry and governments for this reason - the potential return is well d…

Self-Improvement

Winston Churchill once said "The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." (for you confirmed pedants, it may have been L.P. Jacks)

My custom is to use the time away from work at the end of the year to think about what I want to do differently in the year ahead. Among the topics that came up was e-mail, the bane of my life and perhaps yours as well. I get hundreds every day (and that doesn't include the SPAM).

Being a lifelong optimist I've decided to make e-mail less of a pain in my life, both work and personal. Being an occasional realist, I recognize that I have a limited number of options and they must focus on what I can do.

So, here's my plan for 2012 (with acknowledgement to Scott Belsky and Stever Robbins who supplied some of the ideas and got me thinking). See Disrupt Your Inbox and What you should never say in an e-mail Experiment with three-sentence emails when I need an answer from someone.…

Question one: Where's my phone?

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The end of the year at NAG is always celebrated with a rather splendid Christmas lunch, which is generously paid for by the company as an acknowledgement of the hard work its employees have put in over the previous twelve months. Accordingly, it provides an occasion for some much-needed relaxation and refreshment before the Christmas break. It's also the time for the NAG Christmas Quiz which, whilst not necessarily contributing to the participants' relaxation, usually provides some entertainment or diversion for those who care about such arcane matters as the number of hearts an octopus has or Paul McCartney's middle name. One of those tortured souls is the present author, who cleverly realized some time ago that the only way to be sure of knowing all the answers to the questions was to set them.

Setting quiz questions in the connected age - particularly for a technical-savvy band such as the employees of NAG - can present a few challenges, however. For example, anyone…