MIT researchers claim they have a way to make faster chips

A team of MIT researchers have discovered a possible way to make multicore chips a whole lot faster than they currently are, according to a recently published research paper.

The researchers’ work involves the creation of a scheduling technique called CDCS, which refers to computation and data co-scheduling. This technique can distribute both data and computations throughout a chip in such a way that the researchers claim that in a 64-core chip, computational speeds saw a 46 percent increase while power consumption decreased by 36 percent. This boost in speed is important because multicore chips are becoming more prevalent in data centers and supercomputers as a way to increase performance.

The basic premise behind the new scheduling technique is that data has to be near the computation that uses it, and the best way to do so is with a combination of hardware and software that distributes both the data and computations throughout the chip more easily than before.

Although current techniques like nonuniform cache access (NUCA) — which basically involves storing cached data near the computations — have worked so far, these techniques don’t take in account the placement of the computations themselves.

The new research touts the use of an algorithm that optimally places the data and the compute together as opposed to only the data itself. This algorithm allows the researchers to anticipate where the data needs to be located.

“Now that the way to improve performance is to add more cores and move to larger-scale parallel systems, we’ve really seen that the key bottleneck is communication and memory accesses,” said MIT professor and author of the paper Daniel Sanchez in a statement. “A large part of what we did in the previous project was to place data close to computation. But what we’ve seen is that how you place that computation has a significant effect on how well you can place data nearby.”

While the CDCS-related hardware loaded on the chip accounts for 1 percent of the chip’s available space, the researchers believe that it’s worth it when it comes to the performance increase.

Betty almost cracks scheduling meetings

I stumbled upon Betty, perhaps  the most minimal and easy-to-use meeting scheduling solution I’ve ever seen. It is a Google Chrome Plugin and a service that connects to Google Calendar (and others in the future).

Here’s how it works. I create an email where I want to propose some times for a meeting. In the email compose window Betty shows up as a tool bar at the bottom.

Screenshot 2014-03-08 16.26.05

I click to open it, and after setting length and location, I click on ‘select times’, and i am taken to a calendar like view where I can select dates and times, much like Magneto (see Magneto tackles the five things that are broken in calendars):

Screenshot 2014-03-08 16.16.50

Then, I click the ‘Insert Times Into Email’ button, which does as it says:

Screenshot 2014-03-08 16.17.06

And then, once I send the email, the recipient can pick a time, and then we are both sent calendar invitations for that time:

Screenshot 2014-03-08 16.20.24

So this approach does not require the other party to sign up for an account, or to even select alternatives on a calendar-like webpage. All they have to do is click on a link in an email. Easy.

Before you start saying hallelujah, there is a catch: this version only supports meetings between one sender and one recipient. And the real headache is meetings with multiple people, as we all know.

But I got this email from the founder of Betty, and I am sure that he will sketch out a roadmap that includes scheduling for multiple recipients:

Screenshot 2014-03-07 21.48.59

Solving an age-old problem, Acompli integrates calendar with email

I have yet to see a demo of Acompli, a new mobile email startup, but one feature in the iOS 7 app hit me right between the eyes: sharing availability for calls or meetings. This has got to be one of the greatest time sinks across the board.
Consider what I believe Acompli offers, based on reading about it from a write up by Liz Gannes:

In an in-person meeting this week, Soltero demonstrated some of Acompli’s features in a forthcoming iPhone app, which include all sorts of shortcuts to help people schedule appointments and do other productive things within the context of an inbox, rather than switching to another app.
So, for instance, if you wanted to reply to a scheduling email within Acompli, you could select a little calendar icon next to the message, and tap on windows of availability you want to show to the other person. If you receive a formal invite email, Acompli will show within the inbox that you have a conflict, and you can long tap to deal with it directly.

Yes, this could be considered ‘just’ a feature, and one that could be knocked off by others, but one of the largest headaches I have — and one universally shared — is sharing availability with others in order to schedule a call or meeting.
I was talking about this by email yesterday with the Michael Galpert, the CEO of Super.cc, and I suggested this scenario:

[Super.cc could] Come up with a better way to schedule meetings with multiple people, or multiple meetings in the same timeframe. As just one use case: imagine I would like to schedule meetings for a several day trip to SF, and I would like to set up meetings on (let’s say) Tu, We, and Th for companies X, Y, Z, A, B, and C. I’d like a system where I could hand this over to a bot that would do the following:
1. Would read the emails I create suggesting possible meetings, and note that there is possible contention. 2. Would read emails proposing times, and would ‘pencil’ them into the calendar (perhaps a ¿ and ? at the start and end).
3. As I start to accept proposed dates/times, it would convert penciled to ink, and send emails under my name to others who had not yet responded updating them on now-unavailable times. 4. If two or more parties request the same time, I could pick one, and the others would be informed that the time was no longer available, along with information about other available/unavailable times.

Looks like Acompli is offering up one fragment of that: Someone asks for my availability on a certain date, and I can pull that into an email reply with one click. A good starting point, at least.
Screenshot 2014-02-20 13.05.08
Acompli was founded by CEO Javier Soltero, whose SpringSource was acquired by VMWare. They have announced $7.3 million in funding led by Redpoint Ventures, with Harrison Metal and Felicis Ventures joining the round. Former Zimbra CEO Satish Dharmaraj is the lead investor at Redpoint, where Soltero was entrepreneur-in-residence, and the two and others pulled together the ideas that led to Acompli.

Buffer bucks the startup secrecy trend as it finds growth

It might be a marketing tactic, but it’s certainly a refreshing one: Buffer, the app best known for scheduling your tweets and Facebook status updates, candidly explains how they’ve been profitable so far and why they aren’t necessarily looking for more fundraising right now.

10 tips for respectful — and effective — shared calendaring

More than email and even shared documents, shared calendars can feel a bit intrusive. These 10 tips will help you make sure your coworkers respect your time when they schedule you for meetings, and they may even make those meetings more efficient.

Scheduling Tool Tom’s Planner Now iPad and iPhone Compatible

Tom’s Planner, a simple drag-and-drop, Gantt-chart-based, online planning tool has received a couple of useful updates: the website is now compatible with the iPad and iPhone (no app required), and it can also now import Excel and MS Project files.

5 Common Collaborative Scheduling Faux Pas

I’ve heard mounting complaints about the Google-centric focus of web workers from those using other scheduling tools, but the fact is that the plethora of tools designed to make scheduling easy can actually make it more difficult. Are you guilty of these scheduling faux pas?

12 Ways to Find More Time

The return of daylight savings time often brings with it a flurry of complaints about losing something web workers treasure most: time. Here are twelve ways to claw some if it back: