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Javier Delgado :: Blog

June 17, 2011

 Yesterday there was a 2 hour event celebrating IBM's centeniel anniversary. There were several nice presentations broadcasted highlighting some of IBMs major achievements throughout this time. Employees from labs across the world came to celebrate the event. There was also a panel at then end discussing the future of IBM. Some of the topics being worked on by several research groups here at TJW, such as cloud computing, were mentioned as key areas for the future. The concept of "smarter planets" and the "world is our laboratory" were also mentioned. One of the interesting facts mentioned is that IBM is the only technology company started more than 50 years or so ago that is still in business. It makes you wonder if some of the current, seemingly invincible big technology corporations will also go under. Overall, all who spoke painted a similar picture to what we see in their commercials about innovation and broader impacts. 

Some pictures of the tasty "souveniers" given at the event. 

ibm100 

ibm100

Keywords: anniversary, ibm

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July 30, 2010

As I sit here waiting for the IBM shuttle, which mysteriously disappeared today, I realized I haven't updated my blog in a while. Come to think of it, it didn't appear a few mornings ago either. Hmm. Anyway, what better time to create an entry? Unfortunately progress has been pretty slow. As open source projects go, documentation is lacking with the Openflow and NOX components we're trying to figure out. We still have mysteries we are trying to figure out, while also just working around some issues in order to get results. Amazingly, 3 weeks have passed already! 

This week there was a poster session for the interns, so I got a chance to get a better idea of the projects being worked on over here. I was surprised to see there were a lot of social applications. Since I came so recently, I couldn't create a poster about our IRL project. Not wanting to lose the opportunity to participate, I created a poster for the VM scheduling project I worked on at Watson to share with the audience.

International experience has been nice, despite a few issues (see also: shuttle issue in previous paragraph). All of our local colleagues are helpful and friendly. We've been able to visit some nice areas and landmarks. The food, while good, is starting to wear on me. One of the nice side effects of the diversity of the US means more food variety. 

Jaipur, which we visited the weekend before last, was particularly revealing in terms of Indian culture. I don't know if its the fact that more tourists visit there or if they are just more traditional, but the culture there seemed more like what I was expecting (e.g. more Namaste's ). 

(To be continued) 

So I had to rush out and couldn't post the above story until today. Anyway, its now Friday and we figured out a frustrating problem earlier, so hopefully we will be able to get some results soon. Below are some recent pictures.
 
 
 
The Lotus Temple -    
 
 
 
City Palace - (Jaipur) 
 
View from CIty Palace -  
 
Performer in Jaipur -  
 

 

Keywords: 2010, india, irl, jaipur, lotus temple, pire

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July 16, 2010

Its been about 10 days of interesting, tasty, and inexpensive food and not-as-pleasant climate. Everything has been going pretty well so far. I’m getting acquainted with my new project and also working on my other project from T.J. Watson. The locals have proven very hospitable and friendly.

 

As for adventures, we made the trip to Agra last week via a travel agency. Here we saw India’s prized attraction, the Taj Mahal, as well as Agra Fort. On the way back, we stopped by Mathura, the birth place of Krishna. 

 

There were no cameras (or any electronic devices for that matter) allowed in the temple (next to Krishna’s birthplace), due to terrorist attacks that occurred some time back, so I have no photos to share of Mathura. I can say that it was  a very nice place and an equally nice experience. I had never been to a Hindu temple, so it was interesting to see the devotion of its members.

 

The Taj Mahal is hard to put in words, so I’ll let the photos do the talking. We happened to go on the anniversary of Shah Jahan, so entrance was free, which meant there were a lot of people. 

 

- From the Agra Fort 

- wild monkeys! 

- The Taj Mahal

- no shoes allowed on the marble floors

 

Keywords: 2010, agra, india, krishna, pire, taj mahal

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July 11, 2010

After two weeks back in the magic city, my Indian journey began this week on Monday morning. A 7-hour layover, 15 hour flight, 
10 hour time difference, and a few hours of sleep later it was Wednesday. On the bright side, I arrived just in time for an Intern social event that consisted of `Indian Chinese food’ and ``mocktails’’.  I met several interns and senior IBM IRL people at the event, so I’m glad I was able to make it. The next day I had to spend most of the day at the IBM Noida office taking care of the paperwork. The ride was long, but nice in the sense that I was able to see quite a bit of the city. Photos of this are attached. Fortunately I have had time to get some work done in spite of all this. Vijay described a couple of projects to me, one of which seems particularly interesting. 

IRL in Delhi is in a nice, fairly modern building. Its interesting to note the distinctions with the T.J. Watson, the only U.S. based location I've been to. First, the Delhi locations seems to have tighter security policies. For example, laptops need to be checked in. The cafeteria also uses a different system, and of course the food is different (even compared to "Indian Day") at the Watson cafeteria.
 
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Keywords: ibm, india, irl, pire

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May 31, 2010

With less than 50 percent of my time here at IBM remaining and a lot work to be done, time has been pretty limited. This Friday, we stayed until 8PM working together on some code. I guess working late on Fridays is not just for students. I've  also realized that I've fallen back on literature review. Fortunately, the group I'm working with knows so much about it and is able to recommend the best papers and clarify certain things so that I can get better acquainted with the research area.

For the memorial day weekend, we made another trip to NYC, which is always an enjoyable experience. We passed by the metropolitan museum of art, which has an impressive collection of historical pieces of art. Yesterday, I went to Orchard Beach in Bronx. Its a nice beach,
but being from Miami it failed to ``wow’’ me. I have a hard time seeing how FIU's own ``Dr. Beach’’ could award a beach in (not too distant) Long Island as the national best I'll try to pass by it sometime to give my own not-so-qualified opinion.
 
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At the MET 

In honor of memorial day, I took a trip to the Westpoint Military Academy museum today. The museum contains a lot of history about battles that have occurred over time. I found the information provided to be interesting and unbiased. Since several people come with interest in applying to the academy, there was also information about the lifestyle of the students.
 
Xabriel and I with skyline over the Hudson River

Keywords: bronx, hudson, ibm, orchard beach, research, scheduling, tj watson, westpoint

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May 24, 2010

Its been four weeks now and I must say that time really flies when you're in an industry research lab. There are a lot of interesting things going on at IBM. Regarding my project, I'm not sure how much I can say due to the confidential nature of the project, but its basically a simulator for a special kind of scheduler. The main complexity of the project stems from the fact that there has been so much research in this area, and a simulator should feature most a lot of the well-known functionality in order to compare new approaches to old ones.

Having focused on my research area itself for quite some time, its been quite a change of pace learning a different (albeit related) research area and  trying to keep up with all the discussions (and trying to ensure that what I am developing is what they actually need). Fortunately, working with everyone in the team has been a good experience. Another nice thing has been the fact that I've spent so much time programming. The nature of my regular research work has not involved such a long, continuous period of programming in a long time.

In the mean time, I've managed to make a few escapes to NYC and some of the local attractions in the Westchester area. The free entrance to the Natural History museum (since IBM is a supporter) has provided some educational experiences beyond HPC scheduling. Below are a photo taken at Central Park and two at the sculpture garden at the Pepsi headquarters. The hills and mountains have provided a nice change of pace from Miami, but I miss the tropical summer weather and warm beaches (wearing a jacket in May feels really weird).

  

Keywords: ibm, industry, new york, nyc, pepsi, research

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September 07, 2009

Due to the hectic nature of the past couple of weeks, I haven't given any updates on the cultural and weekend activities. Now that I am sitting on a plane for a long ride back home, I can give a summary of what I've been doing outside the lab for the past few days. 

First, since I never put any pictures of Piratininga
Beach, here is one that gives a pretty good idea of the things going on there:


people jumping into the ocean


view of the beach


A couple of weekends ago, I went back to the city of Rio, where I visited the \emph{Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas}. This is a huge lake that spans a few klometers. There is a great view here of the ever-present Christ statue and Sugar Loaf. Around the lake, there are several places to eat, a yacht club, a jockey club, and several other things.



Picture of the lake


I also went to Sao Francisco beach. I had been here, but never really walked around through there during the day. By the time I got there, it had gotten cloudy, so it was pretty empty. There were just a few people out at the beach and in the restaurants on the side of the beach and across the street.


Last weekend, I went to Urca. I went there through Botafogo, where I discovered there is an IBM building.


IBM Building at Botafogo

The first thing I did at Urca was hike through the Pista Coutinho. The hiking trail itself is not too challenging, and allows you to explore part of the sugar loaf. For true sports-people, the sugar loaf can actually be climbed. 
the Pao de Azucar (sugar loaf). This is the other famous tourist attraction at Rio. It provides a very nice view of the city. There was  a good view from Corcovado (where the Christ statue is), but from here, some different angles can be seen. I don't know if I just hadn't observed enough last time, or maybe because I came when the sun was setting, but I got more appreciation for the design of the city. The way that it developed is quite impressive. 



Its really cool to be at the same level as the clouds.


Here you can see all the small mountains scattered about the city.


The next day, Esteban set up an adventure to climb the Bico de Papagaio. This was a more challenging hike with a great reward when you get to the top. There is an excellent view of Rio from the top. 

 
View from Bico de Papagaio 


Final Words

My experience at Brazil was an excellent one. Several problems had to be overcome, even while I was still back in Miami trying to get my visa. Since that point in time, Esteban, Gabriel, and I were working together to solve problems. This gave us a helpful head start in working together to solve problems, many more of which were faced while working on the project itself. Working together through the GCB project helped as well. Considering all the challenges that had to be faced, I think we accomplished quite a lot. I'm sure we will keep this collaboration strong, continuing to contribute to conferences as we have already done in the past. I'm grateful to have been able to do all this in a marvelous place in the world, with great people. 

Keywords: brazil, final, leisure, rio, uff

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Activities

 

  • Continuing the porting-process of the SWRAD modules
  • Running benchmarks (of entire WRF simulations) on different resources
  • Working on final presentation

     

 

 

Problems

 

  • To get some results on different systems, Gabriel was able to run the simulations on his home computer, which has an nVidia 250 gt, and an Intel Core2Duo CPU. This configuration actually got worse performance for both the CPU and GPU versions of the test. This is a very bizarre outcome, considering that his computer is more powerful in every observable regard. The operation system distribution being used was the same as well. Furthermore, the GPU results were around 15% slower than the CPU results. He tried running a gprof analysis, but the execution failed.

     

  • Another difficulty that I've found about working with cuda is that, even though blinking on the screen gives an indication that there is a problem with the code that is causing a runtime error, but the location of the runtime error is very vague. For exaple, while using our testing technique in which we only run certain sections of the code, commenting out certain portions causes this ``blink.'' However, this has shown some of the shortcomings of this porting approach that perhaps porting first to C would have helped with. For example, if I have a partial swrad kernel that simply sets one of the output variables to a static variable, the code runs fine. However, if I start modifying other variables, in a subroutine, even if I don't make any changes to the same output variable, the ``blinkage'' occurs and the variable's values are unset. If I set the variable's values to some function of the other variables, the code works fine. This makes the porting process difficult, since we need to modify small sections of code at a time to compare our results to the Fortran results.

     

 

Plans

 

  • Continue with the porting
  • Run tests on Teragrid

     

 

Some Final Pictures

 

Picture during my final presentation

Picture of Gabriel and I working at Esteban's Media Lab

 

Keywords: cuda, uff, weekly report

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August 23, 2009

Activities

 

  • Continuing with port of WRF to CUDA
  • Experimenting with the alternative solution of porting to regular C first.
  • Experimenting with output verification script (for testing)

     

 

Accomplishments

 

  • A rudimentary, partial port has been created, but we have not been able to test it.

 

Problems

 

  • The GPU kernel templates at the NOAA site come with some testing scripts that compare the outputs of the variables on the the GPU and on the CPU. However, we have not gotten this to work. It seems to work fine and give good results. However, the problem is that it always gives good results. To test it, I used a stripped-down version of the WSM-5 module and compared the output to the full, CPU output, and the result from this program is the same. This leads me to believe there is a problem with the testing script.

 

Plans

 

  • Figure out the problem with the testing script
  • On Friday we converted the CUDA kernel to regular C. This required some effort due to the lack of automatically-generated variables that we had by virtue of using Michaelakes' scripts. However, it did reveal some bugs that had not revealed themselves in the CUDA implementation. Theoretically Michaelakes' script should make testing easier, but so far we have not been able to use it successfully. As a result, we are not sure which direction to go (i.e. whether to use regular C first or go straight to CUDA).

     

 

Keywords: cuda, fiu, uff, wrf

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August 17, 2009

Last weekend, Gabriel invited me for lunch at his house on Saturday. There I met his maid and his menagerie of cats and dogs. After that, I went back to Rio for some more exploration and picture-taking. On Sunday, Esteban took me, Gabriel, and another temporary student who was about to leave, to the National Park of Tijuca Corcovado, where the statue of Christ the Redeemer, which I had been seeing from my balcony since day one, is located. The trip to the top is long and fun, as it involves a pretty long drive up the mountain, with several twists in between. The size and construction of the statue is very impressive. The view of Rio from up there is spectacular. After that we went to Praia do Pepe in Rio. This is another very nice beach with plenty of activities going on. There we went to a place with good açai. When we got back to Niteroi, we stopped by the Parque da Cidade in Niteroi, which also gives a very nice view of the city (this time, from the other side of the ocean). To close the afternoon in style, we went to the famous serbet place in Sao Francisco, which has very good sherbet.

 

 

Ipanema at dusk

 

Me in front of the Christ statue

 

 

Gabriel and I at the top of Tijuca Corcovado 

 

 

Praia do Pepe

 

 

View from the Parque da Cidade

 

 

This past Saturday, I went to Piratininga beach. My original intention was to go to Camboinhas, but there is no direct bus stop there and I did not want to venture. As it turns out, Piratininga is very nice. There are mountains and hills to walk up (and to dive down to the Beach, for those who dare). Apart from that, this was more of a relaxation beach. There weren't as many people playing sports as there are in Copacabana and Icarai.

 

Unfortunately, my cultural experience on Sunday involved going to a clinic. Apparently I lost my second battle with Brazilian cuisine, and got a bad virus. Gabriel was extremely helpful in this event, advising me on what to do and with translating for me at the clinic.

Keywords: brazil, christ the redeemer, culture, leisure, weekend

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