Archive for January 11th, 2010

Catching the next wave

The year has started well.  I had a long vacation on the Sandwich Islands (also known as Hawaii) that ended right before the beginning of the new year. The first week of classes is passed and I am getting into the rhythm of things, so I can afford five to ten minutes to write about it. The best thing is that my level of crankiness went down to almost zero.

Interestingly, I had to go all the way to Waikiki to learn to surf, even though the place I live in boasts a large number of surfers. The main issue is water temperature. In Hawaii falling into the water does not produce thermal shock, so  it possible to  surf without a wetsuit.  Here in Santa Barbara the experience seems more traumatic for a beginner. I also saw some of the `crazy’ people who surf on 20′ surf performing their acrobatics and being beaten by the waves regularly.

Of course, those are not the only waves that I have to learn to catch. I’m still waiting to start surfing the smart phone wave. My current phone is semi-smart, but not enough. I’m also waiting to see if the rumors about a mac tablet are true. I would use it because I like to draw, and having the tablet screen sensitivity would help me with that. I’m also considering buying a netbook. I want something portable and essentially disposable (from the point of view of cost) to take around where no sensitive information is stored.

On a different note, people nowadays are also using GPU’s for computations, and the CPU’s to control them.  The GPU’s are the graphics cards. They are optimized to do a lot of arithmetic in parallel for rendering images quickly. A single CPU can then guide a GPU with 256 or 512 arithmetic units. For certain processes you can just use that numerical capability in highly parallelizable arithmetic operations. Hence one can use it for physics simulations (so ong as one programs them correctly). I’m waiting eagerly for some funds to get my hands on these and start doing some of the simulations I want to do. This is another wave that I have yet to catch.

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