Thursday, September 29, 2005

Salt Lake City cooling down

After a rather "hot" summer, it has been a very pleasant fall untill now. It get a bit cold at dusk, but it is not too bad. I am looking forward to the winter season and hope to go skiing more often :).

Are spirits waning at Man-Utd

I have been a fan/follower of ManU ever since I started watching football. One of the main reasons why they were/are my favorite was/is the fighting spirit and oneness in the team. We have had a bad last few years without any silverware; partly because of the amount of inexperience and partly because ofthe waning spirits towards the last fifteen minutes in the game. It would always be exciting to watch ManU play towards the end of the game. Sadly though, I should say that spirit seems to be waning and Chelsea just seems to run away with the cup!

Go ManU!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Indian cricketers: professionals or lazy bones

Here is what some of the Indian cricket players purportedly had to say about the new coach Greg Chappell's ways:

"He's a bit too rough in his approach. He's just come to the job and he's being ruthless. We all know that we have to work hard on fitness and all that, but you can't just push people away the first time they struggle with a fitness regimen"

Oh! please wake up you cricketers! It just means that you guys have been goofing off the last few years and have basically been unfit to win matches! The coach has been with you for three months now and you will be fifty years old by the time you slowly warm up to the fitness drills!

I am not here to support any side here but things apart, I find it difficult to understand that a bunch of professionals (no.. lazy bones) complain about the coach asking them to do fitness regimes. You guys are paid millions on contracts and advertisements to represent the country and you cant even carry out fitness regimen! Fitness is a critical part in modern day sporting regimes and now, we know that our cricketers have not been upto par in the last few years and that has basically shown in bad results. we can only beat Australia or England if we are professional and disciplined! just whining about do working is very sad to hear!

I just hope that we will have a set of professional (fit) players representing team India!

Friday, September 23, 2005

AT&T Bell labs: The legacy of Unix to today's struggle

It is a well known fact that Unix was an offspring from AT&T Bell labs, the then research giant that gave some of the most important inventions to the world ( think transistors that runs virtually every computer on the planet). I did not know until today that they invented the laser too (optical systems could be a part of tomorrow's computer: we do not know about the future though). But what were the issues that led to the fall of monolithic yesteryear research giants like AT&T and the XEROX Palo Alto research centers.
Is it because the researchers at those labs were crazy enough to work on their interests rather than the future of the company?
Is it a byproduct of the greatly decreased time to market for a research product (it used to be a time gap of 8 years between when a product was in research and was released commercially)?
Is it that mankind is being aggressive enough to virtually see a new product every three/six months(think cell phones; you have a new architecture/model every 6 months or even under that i guess)?

There might be more questions to ask and a greater number of answers to the above questions but it looks like "change" is the only eternal thing in the world. I believe that people normally change for the good more often than not and am hoping that technology too is changing for the good!

The wrath of Rita

We are still miles away from the eye of the hurricane and already, there have been three significant breaches through the levy in New Orleans. Galveston is already flooded and with Rita expected to fall on land around saturday morning we are already looking at lots of damage. Natural disasters are always very sad irrespective of where it happens in the world. I just hope it affects people very little!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Static Analysis in Compilers

Compilers have advanced tremendously over the last few decades and combines the right ingredients of computer science theory and algorithms to produce practical programs that run on machines. This article is basically an afterthought of a discussion we had in the last program analysis seminar.

Consider the following piece of pseudo-code for any number 'n':

while ( n!=1)
if (n is even)
n=n divided by 2
n= 3*n+1

Watching through the piece of code and employing some static analysis of the inner if loop shows that it 'n' is odd, then the execution path is along the else loop. In the else loop, 'n' (which is odd) is muliplied by 3 and that yields an odd number. Adding one to it always yields an even number. During the next run of the loop, 'n' will be found to be even and will run through the if loop. Careful observation will tell us that we are wasting a set of instructions by running through the compare ( if). Instead the code could be unrolled as,

while (n!=1)
if(n is odd)
n = 3*n+1

n = n divided by 2;

we have now saved one compare set of instructions whenever 'n' is odd. Though the analysis looks pretty simple it cannot be exploited in today's compilers. The reason is that during manual analysis, we looked at the algorithm using the assumption that 'n' was odd. Compilers always assume all possible set of values as inputs to the program and cannot exploit the above optimizations. Though compiler optimizations are advancing at a fair rate, I hope to see more sophisticated compilers in the future!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A triumph of Hope over Despair

This post is dedicated to one of my roommates and friend narsi, who recently( 4 hours apprx.) got a job in Provo, Utah after a seemingly long time. In short, we hope to preserve the moment we savor for him getting the job. After a bad couple of months where he almost landed at a few jobs, hope started turning to despair when none of his offers consummated.
He attended an interview yesterday (to be exact) and was offered a job today ( a pretty small trun around time) and is practically going bananas over the offer! Well, if you wait the "wait" and hold your hopes, it always is the triumph of hope over despair!

So long.

Monday, September 12, 2005

A Season McLaren blew !

I have been following McLaren-Mercedes ever since the days of Mika (Hakkinen) and have been an ardent fan of the technological advances in the sport of Formula-One racing. Right from the aerodynamics employed in the cars to the on-board processors used for electronic control, F1 has always represented the pinnacle of engineering. In this article though, I will try to enumerate why McLaren should have already had the championship in the bag and how both the drivers and the reliability issues blew away the perfect season.

McLaren started the season as one of the favorites to win the championship along with Renault. After the initial set of races, it was pretty clear that McLaren was the fastest car in the field though it came at the cost of reliability concerns. Alonso started off the season in consistent fashion and has kept up to his name by gathering points whenever McLaren failed! Montoya has always been reckless ever since his start on the Williams a couple of years ago and blew away too many team points because of his stupid mistakes; Raikkonen, on the other hand could be considered unlucky to an extent even though he committed a couple of mistakes.

With three races to go and Alonso walking away with the championship mostly, I just hope the McLaren drivers hold their heads to get the constructor's title!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

David Copperfield Show: My impressions

On a recent weekend tour of Las Vegas, I bought myself a pass to watch one of the world's most renowned illusionists in action for 90 minutes. To use the word "dumbstruck" is an understatement after one watches the tricks in action.

The show started with DC appearing in a Harley Davidson out of thin air in the middle of the stage. To add to the amazement, he predicted that he could go to the Phillipines with a technique similar to "appartion" used by wizards in the Harry Potter novel. One by one, a variety of unbelievable illusions were performed to great perfection. cars were magically created out of nowhere and baby were hatched from a woman's womb. And then the final illusion, apparating around 17000 miles to Phillipines from Las Vegas in seconds and back was done!

The man defys science and travelled around the world in seconds! I wonder why I wasted 1400$ for my trip to Chennai, India; a trip shorter than the distance between Phillipines and Las Vegas!