Monday, June 30, 2008

Fun at Work

So, this is our HPCC. It is very loud, very hot and very powerful.

We have a monitor, keyboard, mouse in the middle connected to two switches that allow connection to all the nodes

Pretty Impressive specs - although I forget the specifics specifications. I just know they have 16GB of Memory each, 4 Quad Core processors and some decent hard drives. At the bottom there is a UPS.

The problem with the UPS is that it had to be hardwired, which took a while for the electrician to come out and do, but then, we found out that the UPS only supports 8000W output, and the combined unit actually uses close to 15000W. You can see the problems there.

Now these pics were taken before the UPS was turned on.

This is the back of the unit. IT IS HOT!!

Another, blurry...

You'll notice quite adequate below floor cooling. We have two very powerful units blowing cold air under the floor and very few rooms have openings, this room being one of them.

The upper half...the head node is a 2950 and the other nodes are 1950s all from Dell of course.

The whole thing is networked on 1GB full duplex Ethernet, with Jumbo Frames enabled, usually.

That monitor is sweet, and very useful during install, but WAY TOO COLD for regular use.

The bottom half. We have this whole rack filled out except for one U, but that's ok.
Hopefully this will be the first of many research compute clusters.

Oh and its name, after some debate, because apparently Locutus of Borg was inappropriate, is CESAR200. Which as you might guess is an acronym for Computer Science Engineering Science and Arts Research Computer Cluster. Note that what we did was take the CC and just say each one was the roman number for 100 and made it 200. Sure, we might have done something else, but no one really complained so it works.

Honey Bees are dying

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is the name given to the recent and seemingly most serious mortality of honey bee colonies across US. It is characterized by, sudden death of adult bees with an absence of dead bees in front of colony entrances. Honey and stored pollen are usually present and often signs of recent brood rearing. Occasionally, the queen and a small number of surviving adult workers are present in the brood nest area. It is also characterized by delayed robbing and a slower than usual invasion by common pests such as wax moths and small hive beetles.

The exact cause or causes of CCD have not yet been determined. The results of two large surveys have identified more likely causal factors and eliminated some unlikely factors.Honey bee colony numbers in the U.S.A. have been in decline for decades. From 1947 to 2005 number of managed bee colonies has decreased by over 40%, from 5.9 million to 2.4 million. Beekeepers with CCD are reporting losses of 30% to 90%. Losses due to CCD are compounding an already serious shortage of bees for pollination while the demand for pollination services continues to increase for fruit, nut and, vegetable crops, especially almonds. Colony shortages were so critical that in 2005 honey bees were imported from outside the U.S. for the first time in 83 years since the passage of the Honeybee Act of 1922.

Basically, honey bees are dying and everyone from Universities to Häagen Dazs are trying to figure out why and fix it.

The reason I bring this up is because of some bizarre thing I noticed a while ago, which may or may not be related. Two massive trucks going South on US HWY 69 carrying, you guessed it, bees.

It may be hard to see, but these trucks were carrying bees, I could see them, but I was taking these pictures with my cell phone.

A slightly zoomed in picture

Walking to Work: Not for the fat or timid, oh wait...

So we're in a new apartment about 1 mile away from the University and rather than leave really early and wait like an hour for work start I decided, like a dumb person, to walk at 7:30ish and get to work around 8:00ish, which by the way I did. However, this is something I would prefer not to do again, if at all possible.

First, the sun is hot. Obviously, but what I mean is that it is hotter than you would imagine it to be in the morning if you don't usually walk outside for a mile at 7:30 in the morning.

Second, grass is very wet. I am wearing jeans and sneakers. My sneakers got soaked. My jeans got wet half way up my knees from grass that bearly rose above my ankle. Very annoying.

Third, traffic. Seriously, does everybody have to go to work the same time as I do? I had to wait 4 and a half minutes to cross the spur at the light.

This is my route, basically, although I cut through the parking lot of the business building rather than walk around it.

Friday, June 27, 2008


It is now officially summer, for about 7 days now, or a week I suppose. A lot has happened since the semester ended. Now I am still working up at the CS Lab, which is a pretty nice job. However we are out of that rat hole called Varsity Place, although I don't know if even rats would want to live there. Our new place is great. Huge, and everything is new, plus it is all in the shade, mostly. It's also downstairs, sure we have annoying loud people upstairs who apparently wear hiking boots or some kind of metal exoskeleton because they don't just walk they stomp all over the place.

Side note, I am listening to Pandora right now, totally cool music. Check it out at, they basically let you listen to whatever you want for free. It is hard to concentrate because at this moment I am listening to Kiss, Rock and Roll all Nite, and I can't stop singing and it is really messing with my typing, good thing for backspace.

Ok, its done.

I have lots of pictures I want to post, however I need to get them off my microSD card first. So maybe this weekend I'll post some entries.

Oh, well besides that I also got Lego Indiana Jones for the PC. I love it, haven't played that much, but so far totally cool game.

Oh yeah, back to apartment, we finally got a coffee table, a cheap one from Walmart, the Parsons coffee table essentially just a flat thick piece of wood that has been painted black and four legs, also painted black that you just screw into the bottom of the table. Easy to setup and it actually looks decent.

It sort of looks like this one, although this one is actually leather, why anyone would want a leather coffee table I don't understand at all. Seriously.

Other than that I don't have too much to say, except NICE cliffhanger as it were regarding BSG. Revelations was a good episode and I am curious anyone knows what city that was supposed to represent. I've heard everything from New York to London to D.C., but frankly I suppose it is equally plausible to be a made up city.


long time no post

sorry, will get to making posts soon enough, been busy, but there is lots to talk about soon.

Thursday, June 05, 2008