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Daniel Lemire's blog



Daniel Lemire is a computer science professor at the University of Quebec (Canada). His research is focused on software performance and data engineering. He is a techno-optimist.



Last Build Date: Fri, 24 Nov 2017 20:54:09 +0000

 



Science and Technology links (November 24th, 2017)

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 20:54:09 +0000

Women earned majority of doctoral degrees in 2016 for 8th straight year and outnumber men in grad school 135 to 100. Materialists use Facebook more frequently, because they compare themselves to others, they objectify and instrumentalize others, and they accumulate friends. The modern office chair, with wheels, was invented by Charles Darwin. Or so says … Continue reading Science and Technology links (November 24th, 2017)



How often do superior alternatives fail to catch on?

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 17:42:18 +0000

Many of us rely on a Qwerty keyboard, at least when we are typing at a laptop. It is often said that the Qwerty keyboard is inferior to clearly better alternatives like the Dvorak keyboard. However, this appears to be largely a myth backed by dubious science. There is the similarly often repeated story of … Continue reading How often do superior alternatives fail to catch on?



You are your tools

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 18:42:52 +0000

I believe that there are no miracle people. When others get the same work done as you do, only much faster, they are almost surely using better tools. Tools are not always physical objects. In fact, most tools are not physical per se. For example, mathematics is a great tool. Word processors are another tool. … Continue reading You are your tools



Do relational databases evolve toward rigidity?

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 20:49:29 +0000

The Hanson law of computing states that: Any software system, including advanced intelligence, is bound to decline over time. It becomes less flexible and more fragile. I have argued at length that Hanson is wrong. My main argument is empirical: we build much of our civilization on old software, including a lot of open-source software. … Continue reading Do relational databases evolve toward rigidity?



Science and Technology links (November 17th, 2017)

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:06:50 +0000

Josiah Zayner, a biochemist who once worked for NASA, became the first person known to have edited his own genes (…) During a lecture about human genetic engineering that was streamed live on Facebook, Zayner whipped out a vial and a syringe, then injected himself. Now, following in his footsteps, other biohackers are getting ready … Continue reading Science and Technology links (November 17th, 2017)



Fast exact integer divisions using floating-point operations (ARM edition)

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:19:39 +0000

In my latest post, I explained how you could accelerate 32-bit integer divisions by transforming them into 64-bit floating-point divisions. Indeed, 64-bit floating-point numbers can represent accurately all 32-bit integers on most processors. It is a strange result: Intel processors seem to do a lot better with floating-point divisions than integer divisions. Recall the numbers … Continue reading Fast exact integer divisions using floating-point operations (ARM edition)



Fast exact integer divisions using floating-point operations

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 17:03:04 +0000

On current processors, integer division is slow. If you need to compute many quotients or remainders, you can be in trouble. You potentially need divisions when programming a circular buffer, a hash table, generating random numbers, shuffling data randomly, sampling from a set, and so forth. There are many tricks to avoid performance penalties: You … Continue reading Fast exact integer divisions using floating-point operations



Fast software is a discipline, not a purpose

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 02:00:28 +0000

When people train, they usually don’t try to actually run faster or lift heavier weights. As a relatively healthy computer science professor, how fast I run or how much I can lift is of no practical relevance. However, whether I can walk the stairs without falling apart is a metric. I am not an actor … Continue reading Fast software is a discipline, not a purpose



China is catching to the USA, while Japan is being left behind

Sun, 12 Nov 2017 15:17:15 +0000

I have previously reported that there has been a silent revolution in science where countries like China, India, South Korea… that previously contributed few research articles… have started to catch up and even exceed the productivity of the western world. The National Science Foundation (NSF) in the US has published a report on Science and … Continue reading China is catching to the USA, while Japan is being left behind



Science and Technology links (November 11th, 2017)

Sat, 11 Nov 2017 19:22:02 +0000

Read the following quote from the New York Times: Business is taking an interest in artificial intelligence, or A.I., and some professors, are forming or joining companies to capitalize on the expected boom. But the new move toward commercialization is disrupting the academic community and provoking fears that university research will be hurt. Some researchers … Continue reading Science and Technology links (November 11th, 2017)