• February 2014
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12 Predictions for the Future of Programming

InfoWorld (02/03/14) Peter Wayner 

Forecasting the next hit technology is challenging due to the rapid pace of change, but InfoWorld offers 12 predictions for the future of programming over the next five years. One prediction is that the graphics processing unit (GPU) will take center stage from the central processing unit, as applications are increasingly written to use the parallel architecture of GPUs. In addition, databases are likely to manage increasingly advanced analysis, running more sophisticated algorithms on tables, searching more efficiently for data patterns, and carrying out big data tasks. Javascript and Android will grow more and more dominant in programming. The Internet of Things will increase the number of new programming platforms, with automobiles being the most significant. Open source code will continue to present a challenge in finding the revenue to support development. WordPress Web applications will proliferate, as dominant frameworks offer functionality that makes it unnecessary to create apps from scratch. Plug-ins will increasingly supplant full-fledged programs. The command line will remain relevant because it is too flexible and universal to be replaced, and it will continue to work with modern tools. Both outsourcing and insourcing will continue, as work is outsourced to reduce costs but also performed by new automated tools.


IST Professor, CSE Grad Develop Tools to Access ‘Scholarly Big Data’

Penn State News (01/24/14) Stephanie Koons 

Pennsylvania State University (PSU) researchers have developed recommendation systems for expert and collaborator discovery that enable users to access scholarly big data. “For data-driven research, we have a very good opportunity for big data research because we are one of the few groups that have such a large volume of data,” says PSU’s Hung-Hsuan Chen. The researchers propose CSSeer, a free and publicly available key phrase-based recommendation system for expert discovery based on the CiteSeerX digital library and Wikipedia as an auxiliary resource. The system generates key phrases from the title and the abstract of each document in CiteSeerX, and those key phrases are used to infer the author’s expertise. “The system automatically figures out who are the experts of a given area,” Chen says. CiteSeerX aims to improve the dissemination of scientific literature and to provide improvements in functionality, usability, availability, cost, comprehensiveness, efficiency, and timeliness in the access of scientific and scholarly knowledge. PSU professor C. Lee Giles says the long-term plans for CiteSeer include making the system easier and more efficient to run, improving data-extraction methods, increasing the number of documents, and automating the extraction of tables and figures in documents.


We the Internet: Bitcoin Developers Seed Idea for Bitcloud

Phys.Org (01/27/14) Nancy Owano 

Bitcoin developers want to decentralize the current Internet and replace it with a new Internet. The Bitcloud developer group has proposed a peer-to-peer system for sharing bandwidth, and enabling individual users to complete computing tasks such as routing, storing, or computing in exchange for cash. The Bitcloud approach would enable nodes on a mesh network to be rewarded financially for routing traffic in a brand-new mesh network. The researchers note their cash model would eliminate the need for Internet service providers. The proposal is based on the ideas of Bitcoin, Mediaglobin, and Tor, and the researchers are looking for more developers to assist with the project. They point out that the initiative demands a “massive amount of thought and development in many different parts of the protocol, so we need as many people helping as possible.” Cloudcoins would be the system’s currency, and would operate similar to bitcoins as the currency of the Bitcoin protocol. “If you’re interested in privacy, security, ending Internet censorship, decentralizing the Internet, and creating a new mesh network to replace the Internet, then you should join or support this project,” according to a recent appeal on Reddit.


Researchers Implement HPC-First Cloud Approach

HPC Wire (01/29/14) Tiffany Trader 

North Carolina State University researchers have demonstrated a proof-of-concept for a novel high-performance cloud computing platform by merging a cloud computing environment with a supercomputer. The implementations show that a fully functioning production cloud computing environment can be completely embedded within a supercomputer, allowing users to benefit from the underlying high-performance computing hardware infrastructure. The supercomputer’s hardware provided the foundation for a software-defined system capable of supporting a cloud computing environment. This “novel methodology has the potential to be applied toward complex mixed-load workflow implementations, data-flow oriented workloads, as well as experimentation with new schedulers and operating systems within an HPC environment,” the researchers say. The software utility package, Kittyhawk, serves as a provisioning engine and offers basic low-level computing services within a supercomputing system. Kittyhawk is what allowed the researchers to construct an embedded elastic cloud computing infrastructure within the supercomputer. The HPC-first design approach to cloud computing leverages the “localized homogeneous and uniform HPC supercomputer architecture usually not found in generic cloud computing clusters,” according to the researchers. This type of system has the potential to support multiple workloads, including traditional HPC simulation jobs, workflows that involve both high-performance computing and non-high performance computing analytics, and data-flow orientation work.