Blog Fiasco

June 18, 2013

Extending rivalries to HPC

Filed under: HPC/HTC — Tags: , , , , — bcotton @ 8:12 am

In October, Indiana University announced it would purchase a Cray XK7 named “Big Red II”. With a theoretical peak of just over 1 petaFLOPS, it would be the fastest University-owned (not associated with a national center) cluster. Of course, in state rivals would never let that stand. In the latest Top 500 list, unveiled at at the International Supercomputing Conference, Big Red II ranks a very respectable 46th. Unfortunately for them, Purdue University’s new Conte cluster checked in at 28. Oops! Let’s compare:

Cluster Cost Theoretical performance LINPACK performance Cost per benchmarked TFLOPS
Big Red II $7.5 million 1000.6 TFLOPS 597.4 TFLOPS $12.55k / TFLOPS
Conte $4.3 million 1341.1 TFLOPS 943.4 TFLOPS $4.56k / TFLOPS
Comparison 57.33% 134.03% 157.92% 36.33%

It’s clear that Conte is the winner in performance and cost. But what about value? Both of these clusters have accelerators, Big Red II uses Nvidia GPUs and Conte uses Intel’s Phi (which also powers China’s new Tianhe-2, far and away the fastest cluster in the world). Using the GPU requires writing code in the CUDA language, whereas Phi will run native x86 code. This lowers the barrier to entry for users on Phi, but GPUs seem to win in most benchmarks. This would seem to increase the cost of providing user support, but it may be that IU’s users are already prepared to run on the GPU. All of the performance numbers in the world won’t matter if the clusters aren’t used, and only time will tell which cluster provides a better value. What may end up being a more interesting result is the political ramifications. Will the statehouse be okay with the two main state universities both running expensive high performance computing resources? If not, who will get to carry on? Both institutions have a record of success. Indiana ranked as high as #23 on the June 2006 list, but Big Red II is the first Top 500 system there since November 2009. Meanwhile, Purdue has had at least one system (and as many as three) on every list since November 2008. With Conte and the additional clusters in operation, Purdue has much greater capacity, but that doesn’t mean that IU’s system is a waste. I suspect that as long as both universities are bringing in enough grant money to justify the cost of their clusters, nobody in Indianapolis will care to put a stop to this rivalry. In the meantime, it appears that Purdue will remain the dominant HPC power in the state, as on the football field.

November 25, 2012

Purdue fires Danny Hope

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , — bcotton @ 10:09 pm

It’s hardly news at this point (it’s been hours since Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke made the official announcement), and I don’t often write about sports here (frankly, I don’t often write here any more), but I wanted to assemble my thoughts about Danny Hope’s new-found unemployment.

I’ve been critical of Hope for a while, and was publicly in favor of firing him last year. My undergrad years mostly lined up with Kyle Orton’s time at quarterback and the last years of Joe Tiller’s successful period, so maybe my expectations were unrealistic. Or maybe not.

Danny Hope had four years as head coach (and a year before that to focus entirely on recruiting as the coach-in-waiting) to build the program. In some ways, he did just that: he improved recruiting from the end of the Tiller era, and player GPAs went up during his time as coach. The statistic that ended up mattering most was the fifth consecutive year of declining attendance.

I’ll readily admit that I’ve skipped purchasing football tickets the past two years for a variety of reasons. Time commitments and personal finances may have been the most compelling, but the on-field product did little to convince me to make the necessary arrangements. It’s not that the players lack talent or effort, although there have been occasions where the players made maddening errors (the 2011 team, in particular, was far more penalized than a veteran team should be). For the most part the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the coaches. Week after week, the team appeared unprepared. Week after week, halftime seemed to consist of an all-you-can-eat pasta buffet (how else can you explain the struggles that Hope’s teams routinely had in the third quarter? They certainly weren’t using that time to adjust to the way the game was going).

Under Danny Hope, Purdue could take two unbeaten teams down to the wire on the road or lose at home to MAC schools. Purdue could beat an Ohio State University or get embarrassed by Minnesota. Hope’s “best team” — a team with the talent and the schedule to win the B1G Leaders division — opened conference play with five straight losses. If not for the sanctions against aOSU and Penn State this year, Purdue’s 6-6 record would result in yet another Detroit bowl game. While any bowl game is better than no bowl game, it would be nice to see Purdue beat teams with a winning record from time-to-time.

Contrary to what Sally Hope said, I’ve never wished for Danny Hope to lose. I have tremendous respect for him as a person — he’s universally described as being a very friendly man, and the players obviously love him. I’ve always wanted Danny Hope’s time at Purdue to be very successful, but that’s not how it played out. Given the choice between losing cleanly and winning sleazily, I’ll take losing cleanly every time, but I refuse to accept that those are the only two options.

Danny Hope very obviously enjoyed being the head coach of a Big Ten program. His optimism was unflagging, at least until about a month ago. Hope enjoyed his work and he loved being with the players. The problem is that the talented players never seemed to get much better than when they first set foot on campus. In the end, Danny Hope was a great guy who was in way over his head. I wish him the best of luck wherever his next job is.

January 11, 2012

Purdue’s trimester plan

Filed under: Musings — Tags: , , — bcotton @ 9:57 pm

The following is my opinion only. It does not represent the opinion of Purdue University, nor does it reflect any insider information (because I am the last to find out insider information).

Earlier today, Purdue University officially announced a plan to move to a trimester schedule. The summer session would be optional, but encouraged, with the intent of increasing enrollment from 6,000 to 20,000. Making this change, the administration argues, would save students money (because the summer session is cheaper) and allow them to graduate earlier. It would also benefit the University by allowing facilities to be more utilized.

In preparation for an upcoming column, Journal & Courier opinions editor Dave Bangert asked what the area might be like with so many extra students over the summer. Obviously, the addition of an additional 14,000 students would have an impact. My friend Dave at the Silver Dipper might be the most pleased, as he depends on summer sales to support his business and his family year-round. Other local businesses and outdoor events would probably see additional traffic.

It wouldn’t necessarily be great for everyone, though. I can foresee rental properties having some difficulty. Some student-focused apartments offer 9 month leases. During other three months, they do maintenance tasks that are difficult to do when the unit is occupied. Another group that would be negatively impacted is the IT staff in academic departments on campus. Having been in such a role, I know that summers are a critical time to work on large projects and upgrades that aren’t easy to get done. And families who like to spend time on campus might find a busier campus less inviting.

All of this assumes that the plan works and summer enrollment increases. This is by no means a given. Many obstacles will have to be overcome. According to Purdue’s Data Digest, the average salary for all faculty appointments is $93,200. Many faculty are on 10-month appointments, so asking them to teach summer classes would require a considerable increase in payroll. Some faculty may prefer to participate in summer field work instead of teaching classes, and it’s not clear what the plan is if the demand is higher than the available faculty.

The other financial concern is that students won’t be able to fund the summer session. Most financial aid awards are designed around a two-semester-with-summers-off schedule. Although Purdue has set aside several million dollars in financial aid, other funding sources will need to follow suit. Students who rely on summer jobs to save up money for the rest of the year will have to decide between skipping the summer term or taking on additional loan debt.

I’m not convinced that classes that upperclassmen and graduate students need will be any more available with a summer session. In the upper-division meteorology classes, we generally had about 12 students enrolled. This meant that each course was offered once per year. A summer session wouldn’t help with that. Graduate classes can be even more rare, sometimes offered only once every other year. Presumably, undergraduates can opt for summer sessions their first two years and return to a two-semester calendar when they get into more major-specific coursework.

Another issue left unaddressed, at least publicly, is the summer convention schedule. Purdue regularly hosts the state FFA convention, as well as other conferences and conventions. Hosting these events requires meeting space and space in residence halls. Will the campus still be able to support such events with extra students, and will event organizers continue to find Purdue an attractive option?

In the end, it doesn’t particularly matter what my cynical opinion is. Dr. Cordova has announced that the plan will begin this summer, with the intention of building to the 20,000 student goal over several years. I hope the plan works out for the benefit of the University’s students and budget, but I’m not yet convinced that it will.

September 3, 2011

Purdue football predictions — 2011 edition

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , — bcotton @ 8:55 am

I was much more enthusiastic at this time last year. Many people are quick to explain away Purdue’s lousy 2010 season with the inexplicable rash of injuries, and there’s no doubt that the ever-growing list of disabled players was a significant factor. Unlike some, though, I haven’t absolved Danny Hope of blame. There have been too many questionable decisions and failures of fundamentals to think that this season will be as rosy as Hope seems to think. While there are some very talented players on the roster (Ricardo Allen may be the most exciting member of the Purdue secondary since Stu Schweigert), but there are a lot of questions hanging over this team.

Perhaps the largest is one of offensive identity. Despite the loss of Rob Henry to an ACL injury, Hope insists on running a two-quarterback scheme. I just don’t see that big of a difference between Caleb TerBush and Robert Marve that would justify this. Pick the best one and go with him until someone else is better. We’ll see how it plays out, but I have serious concerns and hope that Hope will settle this sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, let’s look at the schedule and see how badly I do. Admittedly, I’m surprised that I came up with six wins here. I figured 4-5 would be more likely.

Vs Middle Tennessee State: MTSU is 0-2 against the Big Ten, including a loss to a comically bad Minnesota squad last year. Still, they did make a bowl game last year, something that Purdue can’t claim. There’s no reason that Purdue should lose this game, but there is a recent pattern of losing at least home game against a team that should have been an easy victory. Purdue should win this one by double digits, but the game will be closer than the scoreboard indicates.

At Rice: A long road trip to hot conditions have some fans scared. Rice is no Texas juggernaut, and if Purdue shows up to play, this should be a win. The big concern is that the team isn’t well-hydrated and everyone falls over from cramps sometime in the 3rd quarter. The large Purdue contingent in Houston should give the Boilers a boost.

Vs Southeast Missouri State: If Purdue loses this game, I’m calling Morgan Burke.

Vs Notre Dame: It pains me to say this, but the Domers may be pretty good this year. Last year in South Bend, the Boilers looked incredibly lackluster, perhaps due in part to the fact that Robert Marve was still getting used to playing football again. Purdue hasn’t lost the Shillelagh four straight years since the mid-’90s, but I don’t have much hope for this game.

Vs Minnesota: Gopher fans have to be pleased with the fact that Tim Brewster is gone. Jerry Kill has beaten Purdue before (as the head coach of Northern Illinois in 2009), but he doesn’t have much to work with. Purdue’s defense might get tested a bit, but this game should be a win.

At Penn State: The first Leaders division game is a doozy. Penn State looks to be competing for the division title (especially if aOSU ends up with a post-season ban from the NCAA), whereas Purdue isn’t. Last year’s Lion squad was a bit of a disappointment, but I like them to be an 8-9 win team this season. It’s not out of the question, but I can’t see Purdue winning this one.

Vs Illinois: You can never tell what the Illini will do. Ron Zook is eternally on the hot seat, only to have his team do well enough to keep him around one more year. Last year, Purdue absolutely crapped the bed in Chambana, and I’d hope the coaching staff will remind them of that. Even in down years, Purdue tends to do well against the Illini at home and especially on homecoming. This will not be an easy win, but I expect it will be a win.

At Michigan: Brady Hoke was a smart hire for the Wolverines, but he still has to clean up from the RichRod era. If Michigan’s not bowl-eligible by the time this game rolls around, this might seal the deal. No matter what may be happening in Ann Arbor, the fact that Purdue has only won there one time in forty years does not bode well for the Boilers.

At Wisconsin: Wisconsin has outscored Purdue 71-13 in the past two years and Bret Bielma has not developed a reputation for mercy. The Badgers will contend for the Big Ten title and potentially be in the national title picture. Coming away from this game without being embarrassed will be about all Purdue fans can ask for.

Vs Ohio State: Last year’s game in Columbus was an atrocity. It was to be expected after the upset Purdue pulled in 2009. Will this year’s game in Ross-Ade be a repeat of said upset? There’s at least a chance, as it remains to be seen how the Buckeyes respond to their off-season drama. No matter what the rest of the country hopes, this won’t be a terrible team. Although Purdue has a chance to win, they probably won’t.

Vs Iowa: According to Jim Delaney, the Hawkeye’s are Purdue’s Most Hated Rival. Without Ricky Stanzi, Iowa is less of a threat. This team won’t be a failure, but assuming Purdue hasn’t all of the skill players again, the Boilers should win this game.

At Indiana: I hate saying anything good about IU, but the fact is they have the Bucket right now. Hoosier fans have good reasons to feel positive. Although they won’t have a great team this year, they seem to be headed in the right direction. They haven’t won the Bucket in two consecutive years since ’93-’94. Purdue will want this game, but here in September, I’m not convinced that Purdue will have enough at the end of November to win in Bloomington. It will be a close game, and either team can win, but I think IU gets this one. I sure hope I’m wrong.

Overall record: 6-6

Conference record: 3-5

Leaders division record: 1-4

 

August 18, 2011

Data breaches suck

Filed under: Linux,Musings,The Internet — Tags: , — bcotton @ 5:44 pm

Despite our best efforts, machines sometimes get compromised. The culprit isn’t always (or even usually) a highly publicized group in it for the laughter. It could be a curious student, or an overzealous admin, or the Russians. Whoever is behind it, when it happens, it sucks. Especially if sensitive data is involved. So I really feel bad for my colleagues in the Math department at Purdue, who had to deal with this recently. According to the University News Service, over 7000 former students have been notified that an attacker potentially accessed their Social Security Number.

I know only as much about this as has been publicized, so I can’t speak to any specifics. What I can say is that stuff like this kept me up at night in my previous job. For years, SSNs were used to “anonymously” distribute grades to students. They’re nice because they’re a unique identifier and nearly everyone has one. Unfortunately, they’re also kind of important elsewhere and protected by state and federal laws. The upshot is that many faculty had files containing SSNs on their desktop or on removable media or on a file server.

In 2006, if memory serves, we were tasked with scanning every machine owned by the department for SSNs. This involved adapting some existing tools (which were basically just really fancy regular expressions to grep for), doing a room-by-room inventory, and then asking users to scan their machines and sift through the output. After the machine owners ran their own scans and cleaned up offending files, we did it again, this time forcing the scans and having the IT staff look for offensive files. It was a many-month project that was not by any means pleasant.

From the article, it sounds like it was similarly awful after this breach. You can’t assume that a SSN will be formatted 000-00-0000, so you have to look for 9-digit strings, which occur with alarming frequency. In this case, it appears that no one’s number was actually divulged, which simultaneously lends relief and futility to the exercise.

September 2, 2010

Beonard’s Losers — 2010, Week 1

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , — bcotton @ 6:51 pm
Due to technical problems, this week’s Beonard’s Losers has not been recorded.  Sorry for the lack of audio, and also the late post.

Howdy, football fans! It’s been a long, crazy off-season. Conference shuffles mean the Big Ten and Big XII are about to get very confusing. Notre Dame continues to insist that the calendar says 1989. At least they’re not USC, which is facing a two year ban from post-season play. Or BYU who just this week hopped on the independent bandwagon.  All-in-all, it’s enough to make you ready for the start of football season. Once again, we’ll be looking at the Big Televen, plus Notre Dame and a selection of top-25 matchups. Now that the introductions are out of the way, let’s take a look at this week’s games.

Marshall at Ohio State

Doc Holliday’s Herd thunders into Columbus on Thursday evening, and will try to give their coach an unblemished start to his career. Jim Tressel’s nuts come into the season ranked number two, and they’d hate to give that up so quickly. The Bucs have a big trip to Miami scheduled for the following weekend, but Ol’ Sweatervest will keep them focused. Beonard’s loser? Marshall.

Towson at Indiana

The Tigers stalk into Memorial Stadium in the hopes of catching the home team playing a game of basketball. Bill Lynch needs his boys to defend the rock early and often if he wants to keep his job much longer. Fortunately for him, Indiana’s been fairly good at starting the season with a few wins. Beonard’s loser? Towson.

Minnesota at Middle Tennessee

It’s a color clash on Thursday night when Tim Brewster brings his gilded rodents into Murfreesboro to take on the Blue Raiders. The pedagogues are no slouches, winning their last six games on 2009, including the New Orleans Bowl. The groundhogs, meanwhile, haven’t won six in a row since 2003. It hardly feels right picking a Sun Belt Conference team to win against the Big Ten, but there you have it. Beonard’s Loser? Minnesota.

Youngstown State at Penn State

Have you ever seen a Penguin try to fight a Lion? Let me tell you, friends, it’s not a pretty sight. With Bobby Bowden out of the way, JoePa can run up the lifetime wins total without having to worry about any competition, including from the visiting team. Beonard’s Loser? Youngstown State.

Western Michigan at Michigan State

The Broncos start the season by taking a ride into East Lansing to take on the green and white warriors. Soldiers traditionally get along pretty well with horses, but these spear-toters would much rather fight on foot. With a fairly agreeable conference schedule, Mark Dantonio hopes to sneak his way atop the conference standings at the end of the season, and feasting on horse meat is a good way to start. Beonard’s Loser? Western Michigan

Eastern Illinois at Iowa

Unlike Youngstown and Penn States, this matchup favors the avian team.  Iowa worked their way into the national championship discussion last season, and you know Kirk Ferentz will have his flock ready.  Kinnick Stadium is just no place for kittens.  Beonard’s Loser? Eastern Illinois.

Illinois versus Missouri

With the Arch Rivalry scheduled to go on hiatus for a few years, it could be Ron Zook’s last chance to win this contest.  Mizzou has gone 5-0 in games played this century and the Chambana tribe ain’t too thrilled about losing again.  Unfortunately for the natives, Zook’s squads have been masters of disappointment, and this hunting trip looks to end in disaster.  Beonard’s Loser? Illinois.

Purdue at Notre Dame

With a new coach at the altar, the Papal pigskin squad will try once again to bring glory back to the Indiana Vatican.  Adjusting to a new system is never easy, though, and the West Lafayette locomotive has already had a year with Danny Hope in the engine.  If the conductor can keep from calling a timeout at the end, the train will roll on through.  Beonard’s Loser?  In an upset, Notre Dame.

Connecticut at Michigan

It’s not often Connecticut is a “must beat” team, but that’s very much the case for RichRod and his Ann Arbor animals.  The winningest program in college football can’t be happy with a third straight losing season, and dropping the season opener at home would not be a good start.  The Hartford pups fared pretty well in the Big East last year, but playing in the Big House is a different game all together.  Beonard’s Loser?  In a close one, Connecticut.

Northwestern at Vanderbilt

Robbie Caldwell had better be an expert deep-sea diver, because Vanderbilt currently sits at the bottom of the ocean.  His salvage efforts will be hampered by Pat Fitzgerald and the purple kittens.  It’s not too often we see the Big Televen and SEC face off, but the Dixie-dwellers would just as soon this game doesn’t happen.  By the end of the day, the Evanston felines will be Nashville cats.  Beonard’s Loser? Vanderbilt

Wisconsin at UNLV

For the second time in four seasons, the cheese-eaters head for the bright lights of the Las Vegas strip.  In 2007, the Badgers only managed to win by 7 points.  This year, the game should be a little more one-sided.  Bret Bielma wants to come into the game against The Ohio State 6-0, and his boys will steamroll anyone who tries to get in the way.  Beonard’s Loser?  UNLV.

Well, friends, that’s about all I’ve got time for this week.  Stay tuned for next week when we have a whole ‘nother crop of losers.

To the Beonard’s Losers main page.

August 28, 2010

Purdue football predictions — 2010 edition

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , — bcotton @ 3:56 pm

Finally, the college football season is almost upon us.  Let’s take a moment and extend our sympathies to my wife, who will effectively be a widow for the next three months of Saturdays.  I’ve got my tickets in hand, my jersey cleaned and ready, and my optimism at full throttle.  Last year was pretty disappointing for Purdue fans, although there were encouraging signs.  A questionable timeout at the end of the Notre Dame game might have been the difference between a bowl game and staying home.  A respectable Oregon team barely managed a win at home, and eventual Big Ten champion The Ohio State got a big shock in West Lafayette.

The Boilers haven’t received much love from the national media (gee, doesn’t that sound familiar?), but that’s okay.  If everyone stays healthy, and no one else ends up academically ineligible,  Purdue could wind up being in the hunt for the Big Ten title at the end of the season.  Of course, many of the games it takes to get there will be close, so the end result could vary quite a bit.  Of course, I’ll be taking a look at each game week-by-week for Beonard’s Losers, but in the meantime, here’s my poorly-researched, quickly-written view of Purdue’s season.

At Notre Dame: The Irish are on their fourth coach (fifth if you count George O’Leary) this decade, and Brian Kelly has his work cut out for him.  Notre Dame has a new quarterback who is recovering from a knee injury, and a new coach to learn.  Notre Dame has some votes in the pre-season polls, but that’s more name recognition than anything else.  South Bend is not normally a friendly location for the Boilers, but they should be able to get a win.

Western Illinois: Directional Illinois isn’t necessarily a guaranteed win, as Northern showed last year.  Fortunately, Western is a less worthy opponent.  There’s no excuse for losing this game.

Ball State: BSU isn’t quite the pushover they were back in 2004 when Kyle Orton and company hung approximately one trillion points on them.  In fact, there was a time not that long ago when I considered the Cardinals the best team in the state.  That time has passed, and I wouldn’t expect to see Ball State do much better than they did last season.  This should be another confidence-builder.

Toledo: The Rockets have been a favorite early-season opponent the past few years, and generally help the Boilers get off to a confident, if overrated, start.  Toledo will be a good final test before conference play starts, but shouldn’t be too challenging.  There’s a reason I consider Purdue to be the MAC champions, and after this game they should be 4-0.

At Northwestern: It doesn’t seem to matter how good Purdue is, Evanston is always a tough place to play.  Since this game is in the first half of the season, the weather shouldn’t be too horrible, but it’s going to take more than a nice fall day to turn this into a win.  If senior quarterback Dan Persa can keep the offense going, Purdue will have a hard time winning this one.

Minnesota: Tim Brewster is the first of several coaches that Purdue may see the last of in 2010.  In three years under Brewster, the Gophers have never gone .500 or better in the Big Ten and their best finish is a tie for 6th.  Adam Weber needs a strong season, but without Eric Decker, I don’t think we’ll see anything better than “fair” from him.  If the Purdue secondary can play at all, the Boilers should win this game.

At Ohio State: Some of the key pieces are back from last year’s matchup, notably Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, who gave Terrelle Prior nightmares.  It’s tempting to pick Purdue to get the upset again, but it’s worth noting that this game is being played in Columbus, not West Lafayette.  Not to mention the fact that the Buckeyes are pissed about last year’s game and will be out for revenge. This won’t be a guaranteed loss for the Boilers, but it’s likely.

At Illinois: Boy, this team is hard to gauge.  Ron Zook has a talent for recruiting good teams that under-perform.  He’s the second coach that may be packing his bags at the end of the season; it’s just hard to imagine that Illinois would be content with another disappointing year.  The Illini schedule is very front-loaded, so it remains to be seen how the team will handle facing Penn State and Ohio State on consecutive weekends.  Frankly, I think it’s more likely that Purdue will lose this game than that Illinois will win it.

Wisconsin: Last year’s 37-0 shellacking in Madison can’t sit well with the Boilers.  Purdue will be worked up for this game, but I’m not sure it’ll be enough.  The Badgers should be good this year and all of the emotion in the world won’t fix that.  This year’s matchup will be closer, but Purdue loses this one, too.

Michigan: Purdue has only beaten Michigan 14 times in the history of the sport, and never three times in a row.  Yet that’s what’s at stake this November.  If the NCAA hasn’t done him in already, a loss in this game pretty much guarantees that the Wolverines bring the RichRod era to an end.  Michigan seems to be improving, but they won’t have enough to win this one, unless the two-game losing streak saps Purdue’s will to live.

At Michigan State: Purdue had the lead through three quarters last year, and, if they’d held on, would have become bowl-eligible.  It seems like (and I’m too lazy to check) Purdue and Michigan State have been very well-matched the past few years, and this year should be no different.  I’m not sure the Boilers will be seasoned enough to take away a win from East Lansing, but it should be a fun game to watch.

Indiana: Indiana has lost the last 2 matchups, and hasn’t won in Ross-Ade Stadium since 1996.  They’ve got a good quarterback, and a few other pieces, but I don’t see much of a team.  Bill Lynch is a pretty lousy football coach, and he may be done after failing again to reclaim the Old Oaken Bucket.

So that’s my look at this season.  We’ll see how horribly wrong I end up being.  If the above predictions hold true, Purdue finishes 7-5 overall, 3-5 in the Big Ten, 6-1 at home, and 7-1 in the state of Indiana.  This would be a big improvement from the past few seasons, and might help bump up the flagging ticket sales.  Boiler up!

March 22, 2010

Who doubted Purdue? Not this guy!

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , , , , — bcotton @ 7:21 am

You’ll have to excuse this post.  It’s one of complete fanboyism, written while still under the influence of a nail-biting win and the 92 fluid ounces of Killian’s I had at Buffalo Wild Wings.  If you don’t want to read my excited babbling, it can all be summed up in two words “Boiler up!”  Remember a week ago when everyone was saying that Siena would be the only 14-seed to be favored in the first round?  Remember how even President Obama had written Purdue off?  Remember how the Big East was God’s gift to college basketball?  It seems things have changed.

Purdue has earned its way back into a second consecutive Sweet 16.  Like I had written last week, the Boilers needed the bench to step up.  D.J. Byrd and Ryne Smith certainly earned their scholarships this weekend, although Patrick Bade made some solid contributions of his own. But it was senior Chris M.F. Kramer who really carried the team through the first two rounds.  Kramer simply refused to let his career be over, and in a repeat of the game at Alabama in December, took the team on his shoulders at the end and carried them to victory.

Let’s be honest, it’s not all beautiful for Purdue.  When JaJuan Johnson is shooting from the perimeter, there’s absolutely no one to get an offensive rebound.  E’Twaun Moore scored 15 points, but was still 7 of 17 from the field. Point guards Lewis Jackson and Kelsey Barlow still make some really poor decisions at times.  Despite all this, Purdue is still one of only 16 teams playing in the NCAA tournament at the end of the week.  Very few people outside of the Purdue locker room and the loyal fans even considered this as a possibility.  You know what?  Some of us still believe that this Purdue team, without Robbie Hummel, could get past Duke and make it into the Elite 8.  How’s that for a big middle finger to the “experts” who figured Purdue would lose in the first round?

While we’re on the subject of disrespect, which conference was supposed to be the best in the country?  All season long we’ve heard about how the Big East is just leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of Division I basketball.  The funny thing about the tournament is that it points out when people are full of crap.  If you look at the teams in the Sweet 16, you’ll notice that there are three from the Big Ten, and only two from the Big East.  Even that pathetic conference called the Pac-10, which we were told was barely worthy to even play basketball at all, has a team in the Sweet 16 (and an 11 seed at that!).  So really, to all the experts out there (who will never read this), I cordially invite you to shut the hell up.

It’s also worth noting that the state of Indiana has two teams represented in the Sweet 16: Butler and Purdue.  Both teams survived close games in the second round, but either or both of them could find themselves in the Elite 8.  Considering how much basketball means to the state of Indiana, that is only fitting.  Although I have a bit of a personal dislike for one of the Butler players, I’d be happy to see them keep progressing through the tournament, and I hope my Boilermakers do as well.  All I know is that the moment Robbie Hummel’s ACL gave way, most of the country was done with Purdue.  But not me, not the other loyal fans, not the coaches, and certainly not the players.  Boiler up, and beat Duke on Friday!

March 15, 2010

A warning about Condor access control lists

Filed under: HPC/HTC,Linux — Tags: , , , , — bcotton @ 9:50 am

Like most sane services, Condor has a notion of access control.  In fact, Condor’s access control lists (ACLs) provide a very granular level of control, allowing you to set a variety of roles based on hostname/IP.  One thing we’re working on at my day job is making it easier for departments across campus to join our Condor pool.  In the face of budget concerns, a recommendation has been drafted which includes having departments choose between running Condor and powering machines off when not in use.  Given the preference for performing backups and system updates overnight, we’re guessing the majority will choose to donate cycles to Condor, so we’re trying to prepare for a large increase in the pool.

Included in that preparation is the switch from default-deny to default-allow-campus-hosts.  Previously, we only allowed specific subdomains on campus, but this means that every time a new department (which effectively means a new subdomain) joins the pool, we have to modify the ACLs.  While this isn’t a big deal, it seems simpler to just allow all of campus except the “scary” subnets (traditionally wireless clients, VPN clients, and the dorms. Especially the dorms.)  Effectively, we’ll end up doing that anyway, and so keeping the file more static should make it easier to maintain.

So on Wednesday, after the security group blessed our idea, I began the process of making the changes.  Let me point out here that you don’t really appreciate how much IP space an institution like Purdue has until you need to start blocking segments of it.  All of 128.10.0.0/16, 128.46.0.0/16, 128.210.0.0/16 and 128.211.0.0/16.  That’s a lot of public space, and it doesn’t include the private IP addresses in use.  So after combing through the IP space assignments, I finally got the ACLs written, and on Thursday I committed them.  And that’s when all hell broke loose.

Condor uses commas to separate as many hosts as you want, and asterisks can be used to wildcard hosts (Condor does not currently support CIDR notation, but that would be awesome).  The danger here is that if you accidentally put a comma in place of a period, you might end up denying write access to *. Obviously, this causes things to break down.  Once people started complaining about Condor not working, I quickly found my mistake and pushed out a correction.  However, Condor does not give up so quickly.  Once a rule is in DENY_WRITE, it will not stop denying that host until the Condor master has been stopped and re-started.  A simple config update won’t change it.

We had to learn that by experimentation, so I spent most of Friday helping my colleagues re-start the Condor process everywhere and testing the hell out of my changes.  Fortunately, once everything had been cleaned up, it worked as expected, and this gave me a chance to learn more about Condor.  And I also learned a very important lesson: test your changes first, dummy.

All is not lost for Purdue

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , , — bcotton @ 9:19 am

Anyone who pays even the least bit of attention to college basketball has heard about the total blowout that happened in Indianapolis on Saturday. Minnesota earned their way into the NCAA tournament with a 27-point dismantling of Purdue.  With the loss, Purdue dropped to 0-2 against NCAA-bound opponents since Robbie Hummel’s season-ending ACL injury.  There’s a lot to be disappointed about for Purdue fans.  11 first-half points, 14% from beyond the arc, 44% free-throw shooting, being out-rebounded by 25, Lewis Jackson and E’Twaun Moore getting injured.

But not is all lost.  My good friends at Boiled Sports have summed the game up pretty well, but their tone is unsurprisingly deflated.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t crushed after watching the game, but there’s no need to give up yet.  This season isn’t quite what we’d hope it would be. A Final Four run seems nearly impossible, but there’s still a Big Ten title to hang in Mackey.  And who knows what the NCAA tournament will bring?  There’s a reason March is the best month.

For Purdue fans, Saturday’s game does have some positives to take away.  Most notably, the contributions of two key freshmen.  The oft-maligned Patrick Bade has spent most of the year being a liability, but he has stepped up since Hummel’s injury.  At 6’8″, Bade helps fill the gap between JaJuan Johnson and the rest of the team.  In the last five games, Bade has played an average of 9 minutes. Those minutes include 1.8 points and 1.4 rebounds. Those aren’t great numbers, but he’s turning into a solid basketball player, and that’s important for the Boilermakers right now.  Bade still picks up a foul every 5 minutes or so, but his fouls have become fouls of effort, not of clumsiness.  If Patrick Bade continues to improve, Purdue’s chances for success increase dramatically, not only this year, but next.

D.J. Byrd has also received some scorn in his freshman year.  The Mister Basketball candidate had a lot of expectations  and has been fairly underwhelming through most of the schedule.  At 6’5″ and 214 pounds, Byrd could also find a spot on the football team’s depleted secondary, and some of his fouls have resembled tackles. On Saturday, though, Byrd provided what was closest to passing for a spark.  Making his first three-pointers since December 22 (ending a streak of about 13 misses), D.J. Byrd provided nearly a quarter of Purdue’s points against Minnesota.  That was Byrd’s first double-digit scoring since the season opener. For a team that has been relying on Johnson and Moore for most of the points, Byrd’s off-the-bench contributions will be very welcome, and even necessary.

On Friday afternoon, Purdue takes on the Siena Saints in Spokane, Washington. Siena has a losing record against the Big Ten, but includes a first-round upset of Ohio State in last year’s tournament.  Purdue has won its last 11 first-round NCAA tournament games, and has a good chance to extend the streak to 12. It will depend largely on the contribution from the bench, and on Johnson and Moore not having bad games. Even noted optimist and Purdue basketball expert Sara Yelich has said she “might [have] Purdue getting beat (sic) in the first round.”  By Friday evening, we’ll know, but Purdue fans still have reasons to be optimistic.

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