Walking Randomly

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Academic Benefits of Using git and GitHub

Feel free to discuss and contribute to this article over at the corresponding GitHub repo. Many people suggest that you should use version control as part of your scientifc workflow. This is usually quickly followed up by recommendations to learn git and to put your project on GitHub. Learning and doing all of this for the first time takes a lot of...

Hypot – A story of a ‘simple’ function

My stepchildren are pretty good at mathematics for their age and have recently learned about Pythagora’s theorem $c=\sqrt{a^2+b^2}$ The fact that they have learned about this so early in their mathematical lives is testament to its importance. Pythagoras is everywhere in computational science and it may well be the case that you’ll need to compute...

When numpy.empty is not faster than numpy.zeros

In many introductions to numpy, one gets taught about np.ones, np.zeros and np.empty. The accepted wisdom is that np.empty will be faster than np.ones because it doesn’t have to waste time doing all that initialisation. A quick test in a Jupyter notebook shows that this seems to be true! import numpy as np N = 200 zero_time = %timeit -o some_zeros...

Second Order Cone Programming (SOCP) using the NAG Library for Python

What is Second Order Cone Programming (SOCP)?   Second Order Cone Programming (SOCP) problems are a type of optimisation problem that have applications in many areas of science, finance and engineering. A summary of the type of problems that can make use of SOCP, including things as diverse as designing antenna arrays, finite impulse response (FIR)...

Fixing missing ‘Anaconda Prompt’ start menu shortcut on windows 10

I am a huge user of Anaconda Python and the way I usually get access to the Anaconda Prompt is to start typing ‘Anaconda’ in the Windows search box and click on the link as soon as it pops up. Easy and convenient. Earlier today, however, the Windows 10 menu shortcuts for the Anaconda command line vanished from my machine! I’m not sure exactly what...

High Performance Computing (HPC) – On premise or cloud? The cost question.

HPC! To cloud or not to cloud…. Over the course of my career I have been involved with the provision of High Performance Computing (HPC) at almost every level. As a researcher and research software engineer I have been, and continue to be, a user of many large scale systems.  As a member of research computing support, I was involved in service development...

Adding extra Latex packages to Pandoc

My preferred workflow for writing technical documents these days is to write in Markdown (Or Jupyter Notebooks) and then use Pandoc to convert to PDF, Microsoft Word or whatever format is required by the end client. While working with a markdown file recently, the pandoc conversion to PDF failed with the following error message ! Undefined control...

Fortran Compiler for Sinclair ZX Spectrum rediscovered after 40 years

It started with a tweet While basking in some geek nostalgia on twitter, I discovered that my first ever microcomputer, the Sinclair Spectrum, once had a Fortran compiler However, that compiler was seemingly lost to history and was declared Missing in Action on World of Spectrum. A few of us on Twitter enjoyed reading the 1987 review of this...

Exploiting matrix structure in the solution of linear systems

I recently wrote a blog post for my new employer, The Numerical Algorithms Group, called Exploiting Matrix Structure in the solution of linear systems. It’s a demonstration that shows how choosing the right specialist solver for your problem rather than using a general purpose one can lead to a speed up of well over 100 times!  The example is written...

NVIDIA GPU Hackathon at University of Sheffield

My friends over at the University of Sheffield Research Software Engineering group are running a GPU Hackathon sponsored by Nvidia. The event will be on August 19-23 2019  in Sheffield, United Kingdom.  The call for proposals is at http://gpuhack.shef.ac.uk/ The Sheffield team have this to say about the event: We are looking for teams of 3-5 developers...

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