Blog Archives

cpu+FPGA: applications can soon have bespoke instructions

March 21, 2016
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Compiler writers are always frustrated that the cpu they are currently targeting does not contain the one instruction that would enable them to generate really efficient code. If only it were possible to add new instructions to the cpu. Well, it looks like this will soon be possible; Intel have added an on chip FPGA

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Workshop on survival and time series analysis in empirical SE

February 12, 2016
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In January the material in my book on Empirical software engineering using R had its first exposure to professional software developers at a one day workshop (there was a rerun last week; slides here). The sessions were both fully booked, but as often happens on half turned up, around 15 at each workshop. A couple

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subset vs array indexing: which will cause the least grief in R?

January 3, 2016
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The comments on my post outlining recommended R usage for professional developers were universally scornful, with my proposal recommending subset receiving the greatest wrath. The main argument against using subset appeared to be that it went against existing practice, one comment linked to Hadley Wickham suggesting it was useful in an interactive session (and by

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R recommended usage for professional developers

December 29, 2015
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R is not one of those languages where there is only one way of doing something, the language is blessed/cursed with lots of ways of doing the same thing. Teaching R to professional developers is easy in the sense that their fluency with other languages will enable them to soak up this small language like

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R is now important enought to have a paid for PR make-over

July 5, 2015
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With the creation of the R consortium R has moved up a rung on the ladder of commercial importance. R has captured the early adopters and has picked up a fair few of the early majority (I’m following the technology adoption life-cycle model made popular by the book Crossing the Chasm), i.e., it is starting

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Aggregate player preference for the first 20 building created in Illyriad

June 6, 2015
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I was at the Microsoft Gaming data hackathon today. Gaming is very big business and companies rarely publish detailed game data. Through contacts one of the organizers was able to obtain two gaming datasets, both containing just under 300M of compressed of data. Illyriad supplied a random snapshot of anonymised data on 50,000 users and

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R’s plot function, the 1970′s retro look is not cool any more

April 22, 2015
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Casual users of a system want to learn a few simple rules that enable them to get most things done. Many languages have a design principle of only providing one way of doing things. Members of one language family are known for providing umpteen different ways of doing something and R is no exception. R

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Extracting the original data from a heatmap image

March 4, 2015
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Extracting the original data from a heatmap image

The paper Analysis of the Linux Kernel Evolution Using Code Clone Coverage analysed 136 versions of Linux (from 1.0 to 2.6.18.3) and calculated the amount of source code that was shared, going forward, between each pair of these versions. When I saw the heatmap at the end of the paper (see below) I knew it

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XSLT, yacc and Yorick

December 23, 2014
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XSLT, yacc and Yorick

X and Y are for XSLT, yacc and Yorick. XSLT is the tree climbing Kangaroo of the programming language world. Eating your own dog food is good practice for implementors, but users should not be forced to endure it. Anyway, people only use XML, rather than JSON, to increase the size of their files so

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Ratfor, R, RUNOFF, RPG and Ruby

December 17, 2014
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R is for Ratfor, R, RUNOFF, RPG and Ruby Ratfor is a structured form of Fortran from the days when structured programming was the in-thing and Fortran did not have much of it (lots got added in later revisions). I think its success came from allowing users to claim a degree of respectability that Fortran

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