A new future

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Since the beginning of this year, I was trying to figure out what to do in my future. I’m still doing my PhD, but what could I do after that ?

Before

My current job is to find a model for datasets.

A lot of datasets can be explained by a small number of parameters. For instance identity photos of a single person can be explained by 3 translations and 3 rotations. So my algorithms did that: find the parameters (or something that is close enough) and create a mapping between the parameters and the original space.

During this research, I learnt what is scientific computing. I did not explore everything in this field, but I covered the basics. That’s where I found about Python, but also C++ (which is the first language I really used). My thirst for information lead me to read a lot of books on several matters (architectural design, process, but also parallel computing and its different flavors). This led me to search for a job that would interest me the most.

After

So starting from September I’ll move to Pau, a town in the South of France. This is where the biggest research center of Total S.A. is located. I will work on oil exploration.

Although the theory behind this are well known (acoustic wave propagation and inverse problem), this does not mean that research in this field is over. For instance, the power needed for solving these problems are enormous. So their implementation must be well thought. And even if you managed to find a solution to your problem, you are not done. Total’s goal is not to be able to see if acoustic waves propagate fast in some places and slowly in others. Its goal is to find oil and gas. So now that one has an acoustic model, one must see with the geologists if there are some odds that there is oil or gas. And that’s also a big interesting challenge.

Meanwhile

For those who were interested in manifold learning, don’t worry, I’m not finished in exposing my research. I will go on with some new posts about the mapping between the two spaces and how it can be used to test new samples. The scikit is now almost available. I still have to finish the tutorial and test if everything is OK.

I hope I will be able to continue with other subjects on this blog, there is no reason I cannot do this. Although what I’ll be doing at Total is secret, there are a lot of fields I’d like to talk about.

After Advanced Computer Architecture and Parallel Processing, I’m going to review another book from the same serie. As the title hints it, the goal of this book is to introduce the tools that may be used in parallel, grid and distributed computing. This is the layer above the architecture the last book presented.

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In March 2008 issue, IEEE Computers published a case study on large-scale parallel scientific code development. I’d like to comment this article, a very good one in my mind.

Five research centers were analyzed, or more precisely their development tool and process. Each center did a research in a peculiar domain, but they seem share some Computational Fluid Dynamics basis.

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This week, I’ve updated my blog engine and I’m using WordPress now.

Why ? Because it is a real blog engine, there is a huge community that writes a lot of useful plugins (syntax highlighters, sitemaps, …) but mainly, it allows me to specify multiple categories when I’m posting, and this was needed for some blog aggregators (O’ Reilly, planet.scipy.org, …).

The theme is almost the same as the last one, everything is not yet available (like everything that was on my blogroll), but it will be back soon 🙂

In my lab, we frequently process huge amounts of data, each process can take hours or days. The problem is that we don’t have a usable tool to do this.

Our legacy software is in C and we plan on moving to Python in the next weeks. We could use some commercial software, but it is not optimal.

This is where P2P comes into the game. We have a lot of unused computers or dual cores that are not used even at 50% because we are not trained in parallel computing (and we won’t in the near future). By “we”, I mainly mean PhD students. Our background is signal or image processing, not Computer Science and even less parallel computing. Those unused computers could be used for our computations, but this implies that the computer is only used if nobody works on it, that we only use what is available at a precise moment, and that some computers may get used during the computations. That’s why P2P seems an elegant idea, as a grid computing tool.

P2P computation is not new in the lab (we developed P2P-MPI in Java for instance), but for our team, it is. For the time being, I did not find much about the tools that we could use, but the JXTA protocol seems a good start. I hope I will be able to talk more about this subject in the near future.

Today ships my first book on Python for the scientists. Although IT people can learn a lot of Python with it (mainly if they are working in labs are research centers), scientists will be more interested as it presents a viable alternative to Matlab : fast, efficient, a real language with a large standard library.

After an introduction, the Python language is exposed as well as some main modules. The three central chapters are dedicated to Numpy, Scipy and Matplotlib. Each library tackles a specific problem, storing data, using it or display it. Finally, the last chapter exposes ways of speeding up Python with the use of C or C++.

The link to my publisher : here

Welcome !

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After some thoughts, I’ve decided to create my new English blog. I already have a French one, on http://blog.developpez.com/index.php?blog=92, but now I feel I need to have an English one.

Currently, I’ve doing a PhD thesis in Strasbourg, France, with the Python language mainly, although some work is done in C++. It tackles the complicated problem of manifold learning, I hope I will have some concrete results soon !

My passions, besides CS (I’m a geek :()) is music (I’m a trumpet player, a drummer and a bassist) playing or playing with music. That is, I love mixing music, creating new tools for music or acoustics, …

I hope you will enjoy this blog 😉