Three days this week was pretty much taken up by conducting Linux, HPC, and MPI training courses for a number of postgrads, almost all from RMIT. Another good class who started with zero background in the subjects and who by the third day were working their way through MPI programming. Of some note was the attendance of the first economist in the three years or so that I've been running these courses. I've had a longstanding desire (and it really wouldn't be that hard) to compare local economic development with different council rating systems as a time series - not really requiring HPC but certainly does require a geospatial person, a valuer, an economist, and a programmer to be on the same project.
On another significant IT-related issue is Heartbleed which, hopefully, most people have heard of by now. From a technical perspective a failure in the bounds-checking by some versions of OpenSSL to malformed heartbeat requests allows for an attack vector on server memory of affected systems. From a user's perspective it means that passwords on many major sites have been compromised over the past two years. Whilst Filippo Valsorda has produced a useful tool to check whether a site is currently affected, there is no easy way to check if a certificate have been re-keyed. What can be provided is a handy list of many sites that were compromised last Tuesday, a day after the bug was made public.
Recently a study has been released claiming that the dingo is a separate species. Whilst it looks serious enough the university press release on a certain date, made me think that this could be an "poisson d'avril" as the proposition is so counterintuitive. Certainly species is a complex subject with some interesting edge cases (e.g., hybrids, ring species), but the general principle of species representing a population of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring is true. The paper argues - through morphological analysis of museum examples, not genetics - that the dingo was a separate species some five thousand years ago and is now being threatened by extensive hybrid speciation. Personally, I find their claim highly dubious. Not only is there significant evidence that the dingo's arrival was somewhat earlier, mitochondrial DNA analysis indicates that the dingo has much less differences with the domestic dog than wolves. So whilst morphological analysis is useful for a quick rule of thumb, genetic analysis is a much better determinant.
This entry was originally posted at http://tcpip.dreamwidth.org/174018.html.
- HPC Courses, Heartbleed Bug, Dingo Species