High Performance Computing
and friends /#hpc
This is a crosspost from   Computing – thinking out loud works in progress and scattered thoughts, often about computers. See the original post here.

Adam’s weekly update, 2022-12-04

What’s new

This week was really intense from a work perspective. Not “bad intense”, but the kind of week where every day was spent with such a level of focus, that at 5 PM or so I found myself staring off into space and forgetting words. I think I got some good things accomplished, but my brain also felt like mush by the time the weekend came.

This week I’m traveling to San Jose for work (I just checked into my hotel a little while ago!), so I fully expect this week to also be eaten by work. So I don’t promise anything terribly interesting for next week’s post…

However, I did take advantage of a Sunday in San Jose to visit the Computer History Museum in Mountain View! I try to visit the museum every few years, and while a lot of the exhibits are the same, enough things change that I always get something new from the visit. Also, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about hardware development and the history thereof lately, so it was interesting to examine the museum through that new lens.

I may write more about my visit later this week — it definitely sparked some thoughts — but in the mean time, here are a few photos I took while wandering around the museum.

A mechanical computer built mostly of brass, with various numerical dials. A small placard labels this as a replica of the Babbage Difference Engine No. 1 Demonstration Piece.
The Babbage Difference Engine, and other mechanical computers, have always fascinated me.
The Cray-1, a round computer with its own built-in seating attached.
Can’t visit the museum without visiting the Cray-1.
The Connection Machine 1, a large black cube divided in eight sections.
I would have loved to have seen a CM-1 in operation, with its red LEDs showing the operation of its many single-bit CPUs.
The front panel of an Altair 8800 computer, with an array of LEDs and switches controlling the state of individual bits.
Having recently read Charles Petzold’s “Code”, I was struck by how closely the front panel of the Altair 8800 resembles the fictional front panel of the computer that Petzold constructs from logic gates up.
A Dell PowerEdge R710 lays on a white plastic table, top cover off, surrounded by instructions on how to disassemble it.
The CHM Learning Lab now includes a back room with a couple of Dell PowerEdge R710 servers, complete with instructions for how to disassemble and reassemble them. Anyone who wants can wander in and take them apart. It was great fun watching a 5-year-old kid pulling components out of one of these… As well as feeling a little weird, as I think I’ve run these in production!

What I’m reading

I don’t have a ton to share this week — honestly, the whole week feels like a blur — but here are two books that I recommend.

Recent recipes

Pet photos

Phyrne the calico cat stares down into the camera from a stairway
Close-up on the face of Percy the gray tabby cat
Benny the golden doodle curled up on a dog bed