Each day you interact with thousands upon thousands of processors, servers, storage systems and high-speed networks. You don't see them, and you don't physically touch them, but they are there, making everything happen behind the scenes. Everything is powered by advanced computing, from your morning news, movie and video streams, phone conversations, currency, financial markets, pharmaceuticals, navigation, traffic, weather, email and of course all of our social media updates. Each of us consumes vast amounts of data and computation on a daily basis. We also continue to push the boundaries of our science and discovery. Using ever more complex computer models to peer into the darkness of space or to understanding the genetic basis as to why were are human. All of this needs computing for it to work correctly, and it also needs advanced infrastructure and distributed computing architectures to work quickly. James Cuff is the Assistant Dean for Research Computing here at Harvard. His group runs more than sixty thousand high performance computing processors and more than fourteen petabytes of storage for science. On a global scale, this system is tiny. However, he will show you real world examples of the advances in computation science, physical infrastructure and distributed computing systems we are using each day, whether you are a particle physicist trying to reverse engineer the very fabric of the universe – or maybe you are just updating your selfie... So what will you learn from this seminar? You are all designing software for your final project. Facebook for example, was originally designed as a small single server PHP application. In order to make it scale to today’s hundreds of thousands of servers and billions of users took years. James will explain how both datacenter and systems architectures that now surpass electrical power usage of 10-20 megawatts – (enough to power more than 20,000 houses, nearly half of the City of Cambridge) enable today’s applications to scale. Each computation, be it add, subtract, multiply, divide, strcmp(), grep or memory hash lookup you make in your application now matters. You will be shown not only how distributed computing factors into your applications, but also how the actual energy efficiency of your algorithms matters. Designing, and thinking about how your application will scale from the beginning to potentially manage 10,000’s of page impressions a second is now the new normal.
George Washington Carver (January 1864 -- January 5, 1943), was an American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor. The exact day and year of his birth are unknown; he is believed to have been born into slavery in Missouri in January 1864. Carver's reputation is based on his research into and promotion of alternative crops to cotton, such as peanuts, soybeans and sweet potatoes, which also aided nutrition for farm families. He wanted poor farmers to grow alternative crops both as a source of their own food and as a source of other products to improve their quality of life. The most popular of his 44 practical bulletins for farmers contained 105 food recipes using peanuts. He also developed and promoted about 100 products made from peanuts that were useful for the house and farm, including cosmetics, dyes, paints, plastics, gasoline, and nitroglycerin. He received numerous honors for his work, including the Spingarn Medal of the NAACP. During the Reconstruction-era South, monoculture of cotton depleted the soil in many areas. In the early 20th century, the boll weevil destroyed much of the cotton crop, and planters and farm workers suffered. Carver's work on peanuts was intended to provide an alternative crop. He was recognized for his many achievements and talents. In 1941, Time magazine dubbed Carver a "Black Leonardo". George Washington Carver reputedly discovered three hundred uses for peanuts and hundreds more for soybeans, pecans and sweet potatoes. Among the listed items that he suggested to southern farmers to help them economically were adhesives, axle grease, bleach, buttermilk, chili sauce, fuel briquettes (a biofuel), ink, instant coffee, linoleum, mayonnaise, meat tenderizer, metal polish, paper, plastic, pavement, shaving cream, shoe polish, synthetic rubber, talcum powder and wood stain. Three patents (one for cosmetics; patent number 1,522,176, and two for paints and stains; patent numbers 1,541,478 and 1,632,365) were issued to George Washington Carver in the years 1925 to 1927; however, they were not commercially successful. Aside from these patents and some recipes for food, Carver left no records of formulae or procedures for making his products. He did not keep a laboratory notebook. Carver's research was intended to provide replacements for commercial products, which were generally beyond the budget of the small one-horse farmer. A misconception grew that his research on products for subsistence farmers were developed by others commercially to change Southern agriculture. Carver's work to provide them with resources for more independence from the cash economy foreshadowed the "appropriate technology" work of E.F. Schumacher. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_washington_carver
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