Mac4Lin featured in Linux Magazine  

Posted by Anirudh Acharya in ,

Mac4Lin has been featured in the January 2009 issue of Linux Magazine. It has been included under title "Projects under move" alongwith AWN and pdfsam. Here is the link to the write-up.

The whole article can be found in PDF format here or you can always buy the print version and read it there ;)

Meanwhile, the Mac4Lin downloads page at has been updated with a new archive. This contains new themes and scripts. The themes fix the infamous "Engine Error" in the newest version of GNOME. The pack includes an updated installation script which does not attempt to set the GDM theme automatically. Also, a user contributed Mac4Lin uninstall script is now included in the pack.

Feel free to drop in any complaints/suggestions.

Edit: The link seems to be down. The PDF can be viewed here.

nVidia CUDA  

Posted by Anirudh Acharya in , ,

A lot of you folks must haf heard about GPGPU (General-Purpose computation on GPUs). GPGPU is the term associated with using GPUs for general purpose computing. Today's CPUs are approaching the theoretical "speed" limit. A single core maxes out at about 3 Ghz. Going anything above does not give proportional performance gain. Its more of a liability since it involves more power, more components and hence costs more. Of corz, multi-cores is the solution which the industry has adopted; but then according to industry analysts, if there is no break-through in fundamental design of the processor then multi-cores will not scale beyond 8 cores.

So, how do we satisfy all those number hungry programs like Folding@Home? Use the shamelessly powerful GPUs as co-processors to the present-day CPUs! This idea was explored way back in the '90s. The first public project was BrookGPU which exploited the GPU for general purpose computing. But since the guys who developed it were not the ones who designed the GPU, they had little knowledge about its internals.

When they teamed up with the "GPU guys" they came out with toolkits like nVidia CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) and AMD CTM (Close To Metal or AMD Stream Computing). These toolkits enable the programmer to explicitly use the GPU for general purpose computational tasks.

nVidia CUDA can be thought as an extension to the C Programming Language. It provides the user with functions which allow interaction of the host (CPU) and the device (GPU) and its memory units. The beauty of graphic processors is that they focus little on cache etc. and instead concentrate more on processing thousands of threads simultaneously since thats what the graphics of today demand. This approach makes them ideal for scientific computing which heavily depend on pristine number crunching. Till recently nVidia did not haf a Folding@Home client, but now they do. AMD (ATi) had once since long. With these toolkits, almost anybody can now code such clients. All nVidia G8x and above GPUs are supported by the CUDA toolkit.

Our current assignment is to develop and implement a sorting algorithm in CUDA. Being completely new to CUDA, it sure is a challenging assignment.

For more information on CUDA, I'd suggest the following articles:
1) nVidia CUDA Programming Guide
2) GPGPU/CUDA Tutorials
3) CUDA Introduction
4) CUDA: Supercomputing for the masses
5) nVidia CUDA Explained - DigitLife

If you own one of the current generation nVidia Geforce cards (G8x and/or up) and know C Programming, I'd suggest you try out nVidia CUDA. The CUDA toolkit and SDK can be downloaded from nVidia CUDA Zone. Get yourself some home brewed supercomputing! :)

Birthday Boy!  

Posted by Anirudh Acharya in , ,

Being away from home you mostly don't feel like celebrating (unless of corz, you were "caged" at home! :P ), but then birthdays are something which get you in the mood; especially after getting your face painted with the cream!

About 10 of my friends were part of my birthday celebrations this year. Very thoughtfully they'd got a chocolate cake with my name "engraved" on it! The cake was looking just yummy. Poor cake.. if only it'd know its fate ;) After cutting the cake my face was "decorated" with the delicious cream, smeared all over!

We all had a ball on my birthday. The photos, as usual, are on my Picasa Album.

Being away from home I couldn't visit the orphanage this time on my birthday, unlike last year. But my wonderful mum went to the orphanage and spent time with the kids. Some simple things in life sure give us a lot of satisfaction :)