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Ask Slashdot: Scientific Computing Workflow For the Cloud?

EdMcMan Automation (80 comments)

As others have pointed out, deploying EC2 instances automatically is fairly easy using the well-documented EC2 APIs.

The difficult part about distributed computing is synchronizing the work between available instances. For this, you might want to look at RabbitMQ or other queueing servers. One way to do this would be to have one thread (on your computer) generating problem instances, while you spawn spot instances on EC2 as desired, which consume the work and report the results. I suspect you could accomplish something similar using Hadoop/MapReduce.

1 year,20 days

Which Math For Programmers?

EdMcMan Math for computer science (466 comments)

The second class will not be very useful to you. I've heard this rumor propagated time and again, and no one can ever give me a convincing argument why such a class would be useful, other than for graphics and numeric computation.

The first class would be much more useful. Algorithms is the more or less the study of the math of programming. If you are seriously considering programming, you should learn this topic in great detail. Judging by the number of topics covered, I am assuming this is a lower-level course. You should definitely take at least one low-level computer science theory course!

One other area you may want to look at is logic -- look for Dijkstra's book "A Discipline of Programming".

more than 4 years ago

Best Tool For Remembering Passwords?

EdMcMan Clipperz (1007 comments)

I like Clipperz. You don't need to have anything installed, which is nice. They host your passwords in encrypted form.

more than 5 years ago

Bacterial Computer Solves Hamiltonian Path Problem

EdMcMan Cool, but not useful (135 comments)

First, this is pretty cool. Enough said about that.

Unfortunately, I don't think this will be useful for solving NP-complete problems. For those of you who don't know much about algorithms, NP-complete problems are hard to solve because they become much harder as you make the problem "bigger". It is perfectly possible for problems to be solvable in a reasonable amount of time for small problem sizes, like n=3 that the authors of this article solved.

The paper explains that because bacteria can multiply exponentially, they can multiply until they have enough nodes to solve the problem. Well, there's a problem with that thinking. Bacteria, like computers, need resources. Presumably, if you double the bacteria's food/resources, you will not find an exponential growth in the number of bacteria that can be sustained. If this is true, then there is certainly a problem size that will make using bacteria intractable, which negates the benefits of using bacteria.

more than 5 years ago

A Vision For a World Free of CAPTCHAs

EdMcMan Replay attack? (168 comments)

What stops someone from recording a human looking at the page, and then replaying that behavior from a bot?

Also, will humans actually want to send the information needed for this to remote websites? I don't really want a website to know what part of the page I'm looking at.

more than 5 years ago

Slashdot Launches User Achievements

EdMcMan The Comedian (1582 comments)

I knew all of those "... PROFIT!" jokes would count for something one day!

more than 5 years ago

Where to Go After a Lifetime in IT?

EdMcMan Computers and Music (902 comments)

Many "computer people" that I know are often fascinated with music. If you've had an itch to perform or record, now would be a good time to do it.

more than 7 years ago


EdMcMan hasn't submitted any stories.



Moderation Definitions

EdMcMan EdMcMan writes  |  more than 11 years ago

I am growing increasingly annoyed with people not knowing how to moderate. Likewise, appearently a number of people can't meta-moderate either, because the stupid moderators are still being allowed to moderate. And thus, I present definitions of the "big words" that stupid moderators appearently don't understand.


Flamebait is a message posted to an Internet discussion group, such as a newsgroup or a mailing list, with the intent of provoking an angry response (a "flame"). Various motives or explanations can be sought for this puzzling behavior; from a commonsense point of view, the practice seems usually to be a cry for attention.

It should be pointed out that, of course, it is often hard to determine who is really responsible for the degradation of a reasonable discussion into a flamewar. Someone who posts a contrary opinion in a strongly focused discussion forum may be easily labeled a "baiter", "flamer" or "troll". Therefore, it seems especially important to make the rules and focus of a discussion forum public to avoid misconceptions about its accepted use.

The conclusion to a flamewar precipitated by flamebait is usually determined by recourse to Godwin's Law.

Note: That does NOT say "A post that disagrees with the moderator's opinion."


On the Internet, a troll is a person who posts messages that create controversy or an angry response without adding content to the discussion, often intentionally. Though technically different from flaming, which is an unmistakable direct personal attack, trolls often resort to innuendo or misdirection in the pursuit of their objective, which is to create controversy for its own sake, discredit those with whom they disagree, or sabotage discussion by creating an intimidating atmosphere.

Note: That does NOT say "A post that disagrees with the moderator's opinion."


A message in a discussion is off-topic if its topic is different from the main topic in the discussion.

Note: That does NOT say "A post that disagrees with the moderator's opinion."

Now that you understand what slashdot's moderation keywords mean, you hopefully will not misuse them. Don't mod someone down because you don't agree with them. A large part of slashdot's popularity is the (sometimes intense) discussion and difference in opinions. Modding down without reason harms the community, and makes you look like an idiot who can't argue his own cause (you can't comment in the same article that you mod in). And if you still are going to mod someone down just because you don't agree with them, at least use "overrated".

(Definitions from wikipedia. Feel free to link to this journal.)

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