Showing posts from May, 2012

ISC'12 Hamburg Preview

ISC'12 - the summer's big international conference for the world of supercomputing - is next month in Hamburg.

I will be attending, along with several of my NAG colleagues. Will you be attending? What will you be looking to learn? I will be listening out for these five key topics.

GPU vs MIC vs Other

As at ISC'11 last year (and SC11), I think there will be a strong fight for attention in the key area of manycore/GPU devices - and a matching search for evidence of real progress. So far the loudest voice has been NVidia and CUDA, especially following NVidia's successful GTC event recently. However, interest in Intel's MIC (Knights Corner) is strong and growing - MIC has often been a big discussion topic in workshops, conferences and meetings over the last year. As the MIC product launch gets closer, people will be making obvious comparisons with NVidia's Kepler announced at the GTC.

What about others - will anyone else develop a strong voice in this manycore world…

An Affair with the Java Native Access (JNA)

I was recently speaking to a colleague about my first couple projects here at NAG. The first project was learning to call the Library from Python using c-types (thanks to Mike Croucher’s blog which helped immensely). Next, was a project using the Java Native Interface (JNI), which I had difficulty using. After hearing the above two pieces of information, my colleague recommended I look into Java Native Access (JNA) as it was very similar to c-types in Python. Thus began a brief love affair! I say ‘love affair’ because my experience the JNA was a bit of a roller coaster of highs and lows. In the beginning, the JNA and I got along great. As time went on, I was left sitting at the computer screen wondering what to do next, hoping for the JNA to fix things.Background of JNINAG already has a thorough technical report on our website for calling the NAG Library using the Java Native Interface. This includes creating header files, compiling java files, compiling the interface library, and run…

Optimization, statistics, big data and business analytics

Last month, we attended the INFORMS 2012 conference in order to learn more about current activities in the field of business analytics, and to present the results of some of the work we've done in this area.  The meeting kicked off with a series of interesting technology workshops run by commercial companies as a means of promulgating their software systems; the main insight I got from them was the importance that the community places on high-quality optimization solvers in areas like prescriptive analytics, in which quantitative methods are employed to help make better decisions in business.

The NAG Library contains a variety of optimization routines (for both local and global minimization) - along with, of course, a wide range of solvers for other types of problems in analytics (such as statistical analysis, correlation and regression modelling and time series analysis) and in a variety of other numerical areas.  At the conference, we presented the results of some consultancy wo…