February / March 2008


Sun, Spain and supercomputing

Built in the mid 19th century, and rebuilt after the Spanish civil war, the Torre Girona is a stunning neo-romantic chapel that was once the focal point for the spiritual life of the Girona-Agrafel family of Barcelona. In as late as 1960, the chapel still served the Roman Catholic Church, acting as the place of worship for the Collegi de Monges de l’Ascenció school of monks.


Follow the money

When I wrote ‘Getting fisical with phynance’[1], just over a year ago, I made no secret of the fact that in finance I was a stranger in a strange land, surprised by what I found. In fact, that was my brief: to go into a new field with fresh eyes, and report back on how it looked to me at first sight. I didn’t expect that to be more than a one-off visit but, to my surprise, I found myself intrigued.


Beyond the skies

In a forest in southern England, a small astronomical observatory is maintained by the sort of individual love and enthusiasm that too often dies out as we leave childhood. The New Forest Observatory[1] (NFO) is the baby of Greg Parker (researcher in multiple directions, consultant, professor of photonics and head of nanoscale systems integration at Southampton University, company CEO, erector of fingerposts on the road to quantum computing, indefatigable ideas generator…).


Living the vision

For some computer scientists the idea of running a high-performance computer centre is worse than going over to the dark side.

Instead of contemplating deep systems concepts, their time is spent negotiating with power companies and hardware vendors: that is when they are not organising the holiday rota or dealing with a complaint from a powerful user.