28 June 2022

Deja Vu All Over Again - part the sixth

Here's a quote from a recent AnandTech report on future generations of HPC chip making:
At 700W, H100 already requires liquid cooling; and the story is much the same for the chiplet based Ponte Vecchio from Intel, and AMD's Instinct MI250X. But even traditional liquid cooling has its limits. By the time chips reach a cumulative 1 kW, TSMC envisions that datacenters will need to use immersion liquid cooling systems for such extreme AI and HPC processors. Immersion liquid cooling, in turn, will require rearchitecting datacenters themselves, which will be a major change in design and a major challenge in continuity.
[my emphasis]
The geezers among the readership will likely notice that description. Back when IBM was The Mainframe Segment, it developed what it called the thermal conduction module, which operated much like an immersion device.

And, of course, IBM reverted to liquid cooling more than a decade ago. After only a few years of air cooled mainframes.

And, here's a recent take on cooling.

So, what's the ultimate in cooling tech? For my money, it's fission reactor cooling: liquid sodium.

23 June 2022


Back in 2019, this was the content of a Thought posting:
All you need to know, courtesy Warren Zevon
I'm hiding in [Mar-a-Lago], I'm a desperate man Send lawyers, guns, and money The shit has hit the fan

Send lawyers, guns, and money Send lawyers, guns, and money
I read the NYT in its Dead Trees version, so it was only today that I saw this report
There were at least 433 active shooter attacks — in which one or more shooters killed or attempted to kill multiple unrelated people in a populated place — in the United States from 2000 to 2021.
Of those 433, guess how many were stopped by that Good Guy With a Gun? 12. That's 2.7%. And as the report makes clear, response to a motivated shooter, is almost never in real-time.
Most attacks captured in the data were already over before law enforcement arrived. People at the scene did intervene, sometimes shooting the attackers, but typically physically subduing them. But in about half of all cases, the attackers commited suicide or simply stopped shooting and fled.
Now, of course, the Right Wingnuts of the Supremes have decided that the wild, wild west is not, and has never been, a legacy of times past, but the forever future of the USofA. Great.

22 June 2022

Dee Feat is in Dee Flation - part the forty third

Leave it to Liz to yell at Powell. And, in the process, get him to admit that the core of the current inflation situation is constrained (real or concocted) supply. You have read that here, naturally.
During a Senate Banking Committee hearing Wednesday, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren urged Powell to proceed with rate hikes cautiously and avoid setting off a recession that costs millions of jobs.

Warren asked Powell if Fed rate increases will lower gas prices, which have hit record highs this month.

"I would not think so," Powell said.

Warren asked if grocery prices will go down because of the Fed's war on inflation.

"I wouldn't say so, no," Powell said.
The problem with monetary policy is: that's all it is. There is no theory of money, unlike special relativity or evolution. Yes, Dr. Keynes wrote a book that sort of said that ("The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money"), but its point was general macro. In the Real World, monetary policy is just like any other policy: make rules which favor your tribe and hurt the other tribe.

21 June 2022

The Rabbit Died

It's been mentioned here a few times; some of the more exotic fringe 'scientists' were asserting nearly at the beginning of Covid-19 that it would, inevitably, devolve into another (the fifth) common cold virus. That was soon proven wrong with Covid-ε, Covid-γ, and, ultimately, Covid-δ which were all a tad more virulent, but less contagious. Then along came Covid-ο which proved to be spectacularly contagious, yet much less virulent (geezers excepted, of course).

In today's NYT (dead trees division), we find that the notion of viruses always devolving to more contagious, less virulent, strains to be proven spectacularly wrong.
"There's been this dominant narrative that natural forces are going to solve this pandemic for us," said Aris Katzourakis, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford.

But there is no such natural law.
In the situation reported, it all began with a farmer in Australia who liked to hunt small game and, for reasons not explained, chose rabbits. It happens that rabbits aren't native to Australia, so he imported some for his farm. I suppose he expected to keep their numbers in check by shooting them with sufficient regularity. Turned out, he didn't. They multiplied like rabbits. Turns out, that's not just a meme.
Without natural predators or pathogens to hold them back, they multiplied by the millions, eating enough vegetation to threaten native wildlife and sheep ranches across the continent.
So, the authorities, with scientific assistance, found a virus that infected rabbits (and, so far, only rabbits).

The virus did a bang up job. But virulence began to decline. And then, it didn't.
Newer viral lineages killed more of the lab rabbits. And they often did so in a new way: by shutting down the animals' immune systems. The rabbits' gut bacteria, normally harmless, multiplied and caused lethal infections.
Dum, dah, dum dum.
"We don't know what the next step in evolution will be," Dr. Katzourakis warned. "That chapter in the trajectory of virulence evolution has yet to be written."
The scientists have said to prepare for another Covid Winter. Listen to them.

10 June 2022

The Tyranny of Average Cost - part the nineteenth

With the spectre of inflation, supply chain angst, and the quit rate, here's a NYT report that adds some useful historic perspective. Henry Ford built a soup-to-nuts production process, which is what is described. The point was to keep control of the entire production process, so that meant starting with natural resources and ending with a bunch of Model T's. The olde A&P did something similar in the 50's and 60's with food production.

Yet his management philosophy — and especially his vigilance against getting pinched by suppliers — yields powerful insights about the culprits and lessons of the Great Supply Chain Disruption, which has become a leading source of inflation and product shortages.
What's changed since the making of Rouge, more than anything else, is the Tyranny: the example in the report is computer chips. Put simply, the variety of chips used (800), and the capital equipment needed to make them, makes it infeasible for one customer (Ford Motor Company) to drive down average cost of each chip with such a small output. Which is the reason the number of chip foundaries is down to a handful, with TSMC and Samsung holding about 60%. ASML is the (nearly) sole supplier of lithography machines:
After reporting earnings in July 2021, the company said they had a near monopoly for machines used by TSMC and Samsung Electronics to make the advanced chips. The electronics manufacturers use Extreme ultraviolet lithography equipment to make the latest generations of chips.
Intel, hoping to regain footing, is working with ASML on next-generation machines. The point, kind of obvious, is that neither Ford nor any other end-user of chips can justify so much capital on so little output. That's also the reason that X86 and ARM have become the source of nearly all full spectrum chips. Embedded controller chips, many made on decades old designs and nodes, have a bit more sources.
But chip companies have catered heavily to their investors by limiting their capacity — a strategy to maintain high prices. Shortages of truck drivers and warehouse workers are frequently the result of the downgrading of such jobs, with wages cut as a way to reward shareholders.
Henry was a nasty guy, by today's standards, but he raised blue-collar pay in order to keep them in the building, and the economy running. Oddly, some of today's Tech Titans managed to get away with what Henry was doing until the Dodge brothers, and a court, stopped him: limit dividends and capital dispersion to shareholders. While a white supremacist and anti-Semite, he understood that the macro effects of his business were a Good Thing to much of the rest of the population.

09 June 2022

Thought For The Day - 9 June 2022

One might wonder whether Phil, and his pals, appreciate that their new-found moolah comes courtesy of you folks paying $5 per gallon of gasoline. And a dead journalist or two.

25 May 2022

By The Numbers - part the thirteenth

So, isn't America Great Again??? We lead the world in school shooting deaths. To see the strength of our resolve, here are the numbers. MAGA has 288 kids killed in school by guns (that number may not reflect the latest tally of dead in Uvalde), while Mexico is second with 8. Odd that the originalist Constitutionalists don't assert what is plain in the document, circa 1800: every free white man is allowed, should he be a member of a state militia, to hold a muzzle loading flintlock rifle. That's it.