Friday, May 23, 2008

Haskell, HPC and Crypto Get Together 22nd May 2008

Last night's get together was attended by about 15 men (women in technology take note) from a variety of backgrounds (students, cryptographers, investment bank staff.) Beers were consumed and nonsense talked - then we toddled off to Kurz and Lang for some bratwurst around eight as is our tradition (from our days in Zurich with a well known Swiss bank.)

The conclusion of the evening was that there is a place for Haskell in the city - why? Well here's two extracts from and article on Haskell and Performance on Planet Haskell written by Neil Mitchell:

Haskell's multi-threaded performance is amazing

A lot of clever people have done a lot of clever work on making multi-threaded programming in Haskell both simple and fast. While low-level speed matters for general programming, for multi-threaded programming there are lots of much higher-level performance considerations. Haskell supports better abstraction, and can better optimise at this level, outperforming C.

The trend is for higher-level optimisation

As time goes buy, higher-level programs keep getting faster and faster. The ByteString work allows programmers to write high-level programs that are competitive with C. Performance enhancements are being made to the compiler regularly, pointer tagging, constructor specialisation etc. are all helping to improve things. More long term projects such as Supero and NDP are showing some nice results. Optimisation is a difficult problem, but progress is being made, allowing programs to be written in a higher-level.

and that it would be a good idea to form a Functional Programming get together on a reasonably regular basis - so watch this space.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Financial Data Infrastructure with HDF5

Presentation given to the FITE Club in 2004.

Crisis Resilient Architecture

I gave this presentation at IISyG in 2005 to an audience of Infosec specialists. The talk was inspired by Dr Sally Leivesly of Newrisk Ltd who regularly appears on the BBC after terrorist incidents. She outlined combinatorial threat and area denial scenarios.

Another influence was the amount of fuel required to power centralised data centers which, in times of crisis, may be hard to supply regularly. Then there is the strange notion that staff will have the desire and ability to travel to some remote data center regularly which frankly beggars belief. The whole BCP/DR scenario is, sadly, driven by regulators, auditors and policy wonks.

So my take on the answer is that we need fabric/cloud computing, micro data centers and UWB MAN networks which can be up and running in an instant. Combined with the "crisis desktop", a bootable OS on a memory stick which can form a secure platform to access your virtual desktop. The parts are all there - all we need is the strategists to catch up...