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A Congressman Who Can Code Assembly

apsmith Hey, I did that! (421 comments)

My one experience "coding assembly" was 20 years ago as an undergrad visiting one of the experiments at Fermilab. They had electronic detectors triggered various ways sending data to an old Digital PHP system that was supposed to analyze each event as quickly as possible, decide whether it was interesting enough to save to magnetic tape, and then go on to the next event a few microseconds later. The data acquisition code was, naturally, in assembly - and boy they had that pared down to the absolute essentials, not a wasted instruction. My job was to try to, instead of recording to tape, to send the data over a wire to a new VAX machine that had just arrived.

Not sure I ever ran into Foster though - I wonder what experiments he was on? Actually, I have met him since then, but that's another story...

more than 6 years ago

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DoD NSSO on Space Based Solar Power

apsmith apsmith writes  |  more than 6 years ago

apsmith writes "About a year ago some of the people at the US National Security Space Office began looking into space-based solar power (SBSP) as a technology in the near-term strategic interests of the United States. At first the participants were skeptical, and the "phase 0 study" went along with no official funding. In a rather innovative move, they organized the study as a series of internet-based (bulletin-board and email) discussions, with the wordpress site open to the public, and a closed experts-only discussion using Google Groups. Initially expecting only a dozen or so interested parties, the discussion grew to include over 170 people with past expertise and interest in the issues. The final report was released Wednesday morning; it provides an excellent broad-brush review of the status of SBSP, showing immense potential, but also a number of challenges that appear only surmountable with a strong government commitment to the project. The big question is where it goes from here — NASA? DARPA? The new ARPA-E? Or something new? I was able to attend the press conference, which included Buzz Aldrin in an announcement of a new alliance to push for implementing the recommendations of the report."
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