First days back in Bton

Hmm, I made it. It was not easy though. I was stuck for 6 hours at the Chicago Airport because all flights to Indy have been cancelled. Anyway, I made it! It took me only 24 hours to travel here, and I went out for a nice 45 minute run at 11pm in -18° C *brrr*. The temperature was actually not bad (I dressed up warm), but everything was frozen and slippery and the winter service in Bton seems to be non existent. Anyway, I’m alive and I was able to meet many old friends here. I’ve been invited to Chinese New year yesterday and made delicious chinese dumplings with Peiwei and friends :) . Thanks to you all (but Marina :-) ) for providing me such a warm welcome (see picture).

CHiC’n Run

I’m leaving tomorrow for the states again. The CHiC cluster project at TU Chemnitz that I have been involved in has been finished so far. We spent 2.64 Mio EUR (+ 1.5 Mio for the room construction) and got a 538 Node Dual Opteron (Dual Core, 2152 cores) system with a full bisectional bandwidth InfiniBand network. It reaches 8 TFLOPS Linpack and 11 Peak (this would make No. 82 in the top500, but we missed the deadline) and has 60 TByte disk space with 3.5 GB/s. It is also interesting to mention that the whole system is water cooled with a micro-climate inside every single rack. Many people have been involved in the design and construction of this system. Prof. Rehm was chair of the committee, Jens was mainly involved in the call for bids and Jochen … hmm, nobody knows what he did. I’ve been a member of the technical design team that consisted of Frank, Torsten (another one) and me. Frank and Torsten held the main resposibility for the whole system and the construction work. I was mainly involved in the design (meetings, discussions) and I was responsible for the IB network.

We made some group photos of us to keep the rememberance (note our corporate identity chic T-shirts – all credits for this go to Frank (holds the copyright of the image ;) ) and Torsten!).

Torsten, me and Frank in front of the racks.

Me trying to destroy the core switch ;) . Note the 288 InfiniBand cables that Frank had to fight with regularly.

It’s not too tidy ;) . More than 5000 cables have been deployed in this system.

The compute nodes.

Me – still trying to destroy the core switch ;)

our group

posing with a rack (yes, that’s my hair getting sucked in)!

Cooking the second

Yes, I went back to do some relaxation cooking :) . I cooked “Blueberry orange chicken” with a friend, and I think we had lots of fun.

1. Grated orange peel and pressed oranges:

2. Cooking it with honey and Blueberries:

The end result:

CHIC, KiCC and lots of fun

So, the CHiC Symposium and the KiCC workshop are over. I’ve been involved in the core organization of both and they stressed me a lot. But I would say they’ve both been a success (especially the KiCC workshop seems to gain more and more attention from all over Germany).

The funniest part was a simulation video in the opening talk. OK, assume you sit in the middle of a talk about supercomputing and you see this simulation without any explanation (klick image):

What do YOU think? Yes, exactly this – the whole auditorium was *amused*. And now image the speaker saying: “this is a simulation of the red tower”. Ok, that’s how you could call it probably *grin*. I had hard problems not to laugh. The “Red Tower” is a building in Chemnitz, but I assume that the guests from all over Germany did not know this :-) .

The KiCC workshop went really fine (thanks again to our main sponsor Knuerr and the last minute sponsor Megware). The next workshop will be in Aachen at the 2007/12/12.

I think I will miss the Comedy aehem Computer Architecture Group in Chemnitz!

US Visa issued

Hui, I got my US visa today. That was really fast – I applied on Friday in Berlin and found my passport this morning in the mail. And the visa is even longer valid than my new passport is :) . My only criticism is that they destroyed my passport by stapling the I-20 *through* the front!

Zurück in Deutschland

Yes – back in Germany. It was funny to cross the border after one month. The first thing I did was to accelerate to 200 km/h (125 mph) on the autobahn ;) . I like the German autobahn, it makes me feel home and driving produces enough adrenaline to save the rollercoaster. Anyway, some random facts:

  • time to go from Liege to Berlin (688 km/430 miles): 5:30 hrs
  • average fuel consumption: 7.9 l/100km
  • average speed on the autobahn: 160-190 km/h (100-120 mph)
  • top speed: 233 km/h (146 mph, downhill – yes, my speedo stops at 220, but I have a GPS :o )
  • travel time from Berlin to Chemnitz (262 km/164 miles): 1:55 hrs
  • total distance this month: approximately 2500 km / 1560 miles
  • # of loonies who wanted to go faster than me: some ;)
  • # of policecars I chased with 220 km/h (137 mph): 1
  • # of emergency breaks where I lost 2mm rubber from my tires: 1 (behind the chased policecar in a cloud of burned rubber from them)
  • # of trucks passing each other incredibly slowly: infinite
  • # of 120 speed limits I ignored because it seemed so slow: 2
  • # of car breakdowns: 0 (yeah, my Celica rules)

So my Europe roundtrip is finished and everything went fine. My visit at the US embassy seemed also successfull, so I’ll hit the states soon. Ah, and I have to say that Berlin seems to be a very nice city! The centre is nice and most girls are just georgeous – and speak German :) .

The route

Update: some pictures from Berlin are here!

ABINIT Workshop in Liege, Belgium

Yes, I finally made it. The drive from Bruyeres (Paris) to Liege was hell because I decided to avoid the freeway and take the national roads. But I did not know that the French and Belgium signs only indicate the next very small village, and my map had a very very low resolution. So I was mostly doing “hot potato” routing – but it kind of worked. Ok, it took me 5.5 hrs ;) . Anyway, the Belgium specialities are amazing, I tried all kinds of beer yesterday and lots of cheese. And I found the way back to the hotel :) . So Belgium is also nice – I was very surprised by the large variety of cheese they had.

The university looks similar to other Belgium universities that I saw. It looks like an old WW II bunker complex (just the cannons are missing). Pretty interesting, and it’s like a labyrinth inside.

Salut de Liege

Soiree, Soiree, courir at travail

Yes, pretty long time since my last post :) . That does not mean that nothing happened, it means that I did not have time to write anything down. So I’ll just wrap it up.

The last two weekends have been great, I discovered several great places in Paris. The Glaz’art is a rather spooky, but nice techno place, the LaFleche d’Or is really nice. I enqueued 30 minutes in front of it, but it was worth it! The night was tres bien. Last weekend was Erasmus-party weekend. I went to the La Loco on Friday, this was amazing. It’s unfortunately directly next to the Moulin Rouge, so that I searches 40 Minutes for a parking lot *argh*. After enqueuing another 40 minutes (where I met many people and learned about the secret trick to get in free – just bring a printout of the flyer with you – the belgium guy had one spare for me which saved me 10 EUR!), I was inside. And it was amazing, the place is rather huge and not too packed (I don’t understand why we had to wait so long?). But the music was awesome, the best DJ I heard since a long long time. Saturday was another Erasmus party at another place in Paris. So Paris is a great place to club, if you know where. I found the following two sites very helpful: cityvox and tribudenuit ah, and not to forget google.

Besides that I’ve been working at the CEA, which is a clearly amazing place to work -  (randomly ordered) great people, great food, great technology, great boss, great sports.  Yes, great sports. The facility offers different sports for their employees. As I wrote earlier, I went running every second day, for slightly more than an hour with nice company. They did not speak English or German and it was much fun :) .

Yes, that’s it mostly. I’ll depart to Belgium on Sunday – I will miss France and the CEA.

Some photos from Paris

I’ve been in Paris last weekend and I’ve even managed to make photos (even if I don’t like to too much, but I had several requests). Anyway, look at  the photos and enjoy!

And I have proof – the gas is freaking expensive in Europe! It’s about $6.30 per gallon … (with 1.289 EUR/l even slightly more expensive than in Germany – but I have to add that I made a pretty good deal at the gas station near Bruyeres-le-chatel this morning – only 1.169 EUR/l)

Je cours

Yeah! I’ve been able to run today. It was pretty much impossible to run in the last days because the house where I live is only connected to a highway (no lights and too dangerous). But I’ve found the CEA running group! This is great, the institute has its own running group that meets every day at noon. We (approx. 15 frenchmen and me) ran for 1:10 hours ;) . It’s also really nice to have a shower directly next to the office! That made my day.