FS3 Project: The Road Less Traveled
Robert Frost once wrote,
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Those words came to me today as I skimmed through several books about computer programming at Barnes & Noble. The reason for looking at the books was to give my brain some food for thought regarding what people and talents are needed for the FireSeed Streaming Supercomputer (FS3) project. It's challenging enough to merely be figuring out how to write the code to efficiently parallel program twelve or fifty or a thousand clustered GPUs, each with 128 cores. But then to add the twist that the programming will be done as part of an ad hoc tech project with members of the project scattered around the world...
Suffice it to say this is definitely the road less traveled.
In my mind, the FS3 project alternates between a fun project, a challenging exploration of what's possible, a worthy exploration of new frontiers and an impossibly complex feat. MIT is working on the issue of an efficient parallel programming paradigm for multiple-core computers. Stanford and Berkeley have some pretty smart people attacking the many-core programming problem and developing their solutions. And the FS3 project, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will be developing yet another alternative way to connect and efficiently program twelve or more high end consumer video cards to deliver low-cost supercomputing resources.
There are no doubt other good, maybe better, books out there which give some good ideas regarding successful implementation of a project like FS3. However, of the books I saw at Barnes & Noble today, three books which appear to offer much to the FS3 project are:
If you want to join us on the trip, contact me. If you have suggestions for other books which are applicable to the FS3 project, suggest them in the blog comments.
We're looking forward to this particular section of the Journey, even though we can't predict what the trip will be like. In the end, though, as Frost said, taking the road less traveled "...has made all the difference."