Multicore 2014 in Orcland

Currently attending MulticoreWorld 2014, a small but important annual international conference held in New Zealand which I have contributed as MC since the first event three year ago. The conference deals with the inevitable change and issues relating to multicore computing, ranging from the massive HPC systems to embedded systems, and the related subject of parallel programming. Although the conference inevitably has less than 75 people in attendance, the quality of speakers and subject matter is superb.

The keynote was delivered by John Gustafson, a person whom I have a great deal of respect for. especially for the development of the earliest clusters and his simple but clever overcoming of Amdahl's Law on the limitations from parallelisation of code. His presentation did not disappoint; in noting the power costs of HPC systems he associated this with memory overhead, and then went on to develop a new numerical notation system free from the typical computational errors (rounding, underflow, overflow etc) (a development from a presentation last year's to the IEEE). Other speakers of course presented well with interesting topics, but nothing surpassed the keynote in terms of revelation on the first day.

As the title indicates I am not a great fan of the city of the conference location; Auckland. I can understand that it a financial and business centre for New Zealand, and indeed the south Pacific. This is my fourth visit here, but it still strikes me as a relatively brash, sprawling, and souless place. I am staying in the north shore suburb of Northcote which prides itself in being "the cultural capital of Auckland", by which they presumably mean in terms of having the most ethnically diverse population. It is hard to describe the rotting couch on the verge, the abandoned shopping trolley in the local park, and the multitude of ageing muscle cars as being high culture.

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" This is my fourth visit here, but it still strikes me as a relatively brash, sprawling, and souless place. "

I think that's how many New Zealanders who live outside of Auckland also might admit they sometimes think of Auckland. Brash, sprawling... bad traffic and bad roading setups. I have no doubt there are parts of Auckland with Soul, but finding them may be a challenge for an outsider.
Like all places I've encountered a few ageing buildings with charm, and of course harboursides are a pleasant place. I've managed to mark out a small journey that includs AUT, Auckland University, Albert Park, and Vulcan Lane that seems quite pleasant. But of course, this is a tiny corner of the region as a whole.

Anyway, I'm not here as a tourist, I'm here for a conference - and the conference facilities are superb.