Monday, November 28, 2005

Writing the Fastest Code, by Hand, for Fun

Something for all the code monkeys out there to aspire to:

Kazushige Goto's business card says simply "high performance computing."

Mr. Goto, who is 37, might even be called the John Henry of the information age.

But instead of competing against a steam drill, Mr. Goto, a research associate at the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas at Austin, has bested the work of a powerful automated system and entire teams of software developers in producing programs that run the world's fastest supercomputers.

He has done it alone at his keyboard the old-fashioned way - by writing code that reorders, one at a time, the instructions given to microprocessor chips.

At one point recently, Mr. Goto's software - collections of programs called subroutines - dominated the rarefied machines competing for the title of the world's fastest supercomputer. In 2003 his handmade code was used by 7 of the 10 fastest supercomputers

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