Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Two days into the Petascale Workshop

Now that have reached the end of my self-imposed research hiatus, I am not working on research. Instead, I'm attending the Scaling to Petascale workshop this week. This should give me a good introduction to massively parallel computing, which I hope will be useful for running the Weather Research and Forecasting model as part of my PhD research.

I was late to the workshop on Monday because some genius thought it'd be fun to throw eggs at my car overnight. Around 7:20am, I found yellow goo smeared across the side of my car and broken egg shells littering the road. After half an hour of scrubbing the side of my car with dish soap, I got most of it off.

However, I could not head straight to the workshop. I had to first take my car through an automated car wash to get the dish soap off (yay, its first car wash since I bought it a little over two years ago!). I still need to find some clear coat touch-up to fix some chips where the egg hit. At least the whole thing only cost me about $4 plus a bit of clear coat touch-up. I missed part of the opening speakers, but nothing substantial.

A continental breakfast of the usual pastries and fruit was provided, so I decided I'd eat breakfast at home the rest of the week. Honestly, I've had a very hard time paying attention to the speakers. I really want to be interested enough that it holds my attention. I think a lot of the concepts we're learning are neat, but I'm somehow unable to pay attention for more than a few minutes without doing something else.

Part of it is lack of sleep (nine hours between Sunday and Monday nights), but it's also difficult to listen to computer science talks, especially when the speaker has a heavy accent. I find the workshop as a whole overwhelming. The talks involve a lot of terminology that I don't understand even when it is clearly pronounced and they are pretty dense. Programming is better learned through experience than through lectures anyhow. I'm hoping that the presentations and websites will be enough to help me through the example exercises, which seem very good.


  1. I've been watching it online. This morning's presentation on file i/o was great, but the Charm workshop was pretty useless from my standpoint. I couldn't even find the file with the presentation. Ack!

    Which site are you attending from?

  2. I am attending at NCSA in Illinois. I'm not sure what parts of this workshop will be most useful to me, but it should help me understand the model I'll be using for my PhD better. I find most of this interesting... so much so that I'm tempted to take a parallel programming class.