Friday, February 25, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Slonkast Covers Chromium Projects' "Courgette"

As discussed on the Slonkast Episode 23, arecently published design document on the Chromium Projects website discusses the benefits of smaller software patches and updates.  Chromium developers devised a new algroithm for computing a differential file to update existing installations of the Chrome Browser.

The algorithm is called Courgette and it uses a disassembler to compare code changes at an assembly language level.  The results of employing Courgette are file patches that are two orders of magnitude smaller than the browser installation, and one order of magnitude smaller than normal bsdiff methods done at the binary level.  These patch files can be applied without reinstallation of the app and use much less bandwidth than traditional patch methods.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Has anyone been watching Jeopardy! this week? If you haven't seen or heard about it, IBM has a super computer playing as a contestant. This week features Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, two of the most successful Jeopardy contestants to ever play the game. Their calling it the Jeopardy! IBM Challenge and IBMs entry is a massively parallel supercomputer designed and built by IBM named Watson (after IBMs founder).

After the first round, Watson tied Brad with $5000, and Ken trailed with $400.  Watson pulled away during the second round with Watson standing at $36681 Brad $5400 and Ken $2400.

Watson has been programmed with facts and algorithms to parse natural language questions and find the best answer. He has no connection to the internet but has a butt load of storage 16 TB of RAM and over 2800 POWER7 processor cores.

There is one more day of the challenge tomorrow, if you are at all interested in computers or seeing Star Trek type technology come to life... this is your chance.  Just to give you some idea of the feat that has been reached here, researchers have recently determined that all the processors in the ENTIRE WORLD contain the computational power of about one human brain. So Watson is really the underdog in this race!

Truly amazing times we live in.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011