Monthly Archives: June 2013

Top500.org, June 13, the supply chain geopolitics

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The supercomputers ranking (Top500.org) of June has just been released and we will proceed to the Supply Chain geopolitics analysis of the Top10 ranking. The Supply Chain analysis relies on the industrial components and organisations studies in the field of procurement, manufacturing and technological performance (Peak performance, architecture, …) . The geopolitics lighting on the subject will provide the value added to the point of view of nations (nations building).

The Top500 of June 13 is available at this address: http://top500.org/lists/2013/06/ and we will begin with some statistics. Let’s first notice that the first place is owned by a China supercomputer from the National University of Defense Technology.  Let’s also notice that there are five US computers in the Top 10, and as we remember in 2004, when we also followed the Top500.org ranking, there is always a vast majority of US computers in the ranking.

If we made the procurement analysis of the Chinese supercomputer which desserve the first place, we notice that the architecture of the system is a chinese manufacturing. This means that China succeeded to ride the Supply Chain procurement and manufacturing up to the microprocessor, a USA provided part, the intel Xeon microprocessor. But we know that China has already a microprocessor industry meaning that in ten years, the supercomputer will be a complete chinese technology.

If we examine the original providers of the top 10, we notice that seven of the supercomputers are provided by USA suppliers (Cray, IBM, Dell) and the others are Japanese (Fujitsu) or Chinese (NUDT).

Now let’s examine the European supercomputer in the top ten which are german at the 7th and 9th place. The 7th place is an IBM provided computer, this mean that it was designed, built, assemblated, tested in USA before being sold to European countries. The 9th place is also an IBM provided supercomputer.

The first french provided supercomputer is at the 15th place, a Bull technology based on USA electronic components providers (Microprocessors, chips, …) and we notice at the 11th place another french supercomputer from the Total company provided by SGI, a USA company.

Now let’s examine why Europe is still buying USA technology ten years after having entered in the ranking with companies like Bull.

We know that in 2007, the main issue to produce artificial intelligence automates (Supercomputer, Flying drones, …) is the huge amount of data that comes from the sensors aimed at orientation, vision, …, or the huge amount of data transiting the supercomputer nodes. This huge amount of data is something that is count in Gigabyte per seconds (Gb/s), and this is only in 2012 that we saw in commercial electronic shops foreign motherboard that could process gigabyte of information per second. This means that now in 2013, France does not build long range drones, because in 2007 France was not able to master IT hardware technology behind the server, the brain of the drone. And we explain it by the fact that France did not succeed in riding the supply chain up to the microprocessor. France stayed at the system assemblier level and stopped its progress at the electronic motherboard production, and this since 2004, where the situation was approximately the same as today.

We have just seen the strategical interests of USA for Supercomputer technology, interests that are implemented since the beginning of 1980’s, and that today lead to the USA domination in the field of Information technology, in the field of the software (Google, Facebook, Twitter), but also in the field of the hardware (Dell, IBM, Cray, SGI, …). The investment return for USA are today some cash that comes from all the world by selling electronic component world wide but not only. There is also a cultural influence served by software such as Google, Twitter or Facebook that lead to consolidation of USA nation and its powerfull presence world wide. We shall also mention the competitive advantage of the mastering of IT technology in the field of business but also in the field of military power.

Comments on French Philosophy exams at Bacalaureat (High school exams)


Today is the first day of french national exams called Bacalaureat. This general exam begins with Philosophy exams and as we are surprised by the level of some of the subjects (very high, the elite) we will wonder which eighteen years old Frenchy student could answer to those subjects.

So from the literary branch of the students we have these subjects:

“Le langage n’est-il qu’un outil ?”, is language just a tool ?

From artificial intelligence and cognitive sciences background, we should answer yes, language is a tool used to give instructions in computer science and there is a field of linguistics sciences aimed at produce computer aided language acquisition and translation. We are surprised from the contradiction which came from the query, because thinking to the language as a tool is precisely usefull to build information technology on the subject. Why should we wonder that language is not just a tool whereas thinking to language as a tool could produce innovative technology. For us the formulating of the question leads for young men or a young women to very confuse state of mind on the subject. This is not a question which is a motor to action, that seems rather be an inhibitor for action and learning.

“La science se limite-t-elle à constater les faits ?”, Is science limited to the facts notice ?

Ironically when we read free available thesis on the hal.archives-ouvertes.fr repository in the social sciences fields, asking this question would be very embarasting for the author, especially in sociology. Sociology is something that always put political power in embarasting situation due to its closeness with criminology. Answering to this subject will surely lead to the under estimation of observation for a young student. That seems also be an inhibitor to society observation.

From the economical field of studies we have these subjects :

“Que devons-nous à l’Etat ?” What do we owe to governmental state ?

This subject is something to ask to industry CEO, I agree, and often the answer is not a good mark at the end of the exam. Eighteen years old is the age to make mistakes, because mistakes are usefull to learn. Why should eighteen years old students politely lying on the subject or being sacked by the examinator ? We do not need someone who politely lie, we need someone who has convictions, convictions that are helpers for action. And we should add that conviction often comes from experience.

“Interprète-t-on à défaut de connaître ?” Do we do interpretation instead of knowing ?

This subject is the heart of Google Research and Development laboratory ‘s work …

The eighteen years old student who answer to the question will finished millionaire in the silicon valley … (And Inria is doing partnership with Microsoft …)

More seriously, the level of the subject is so high that even cognitive scientists will produce thesis on the subject. This subject seems rather to be a one over hundred thousand students selector. Is it really the age to have this selection ?

In the field of sciences we have these subjects:

“Peut-on agir moralement sans s’intéresser à la politique ?” Could we act morally without being interested in politics ?

A young student who is obliged to have written answer if he should act morally, furthermore if he had not followed the Cahuzac or the Strauss Kahn affair, seems to be in a “grand oral” for some (religious ?) society integration. For me eighteen years old student should know how to behave morally but does not have necessarily to explain it, because he is just eighteen years old and only elite students who had some spiritual master could answer the subject. To my knowledge there is no spiritual masters in french public school …

“Le travail permet-il de prendre conscience de soi ?” Does work allow to be conscious of ourself ?

To answer the subject is to consider ourself and the work, things that are very difficult for eighteen years old student because if work is to be considered as labour, we need to say that child labour is prohibited in France and also, that biochemistry says brain is in transformation until around 25 years old. So being conscious of the self phenomenon for eighteen years old teenager should be very difficult. We really do not see the interest of the subject. Should the subject be able to avoid binge drinking ? Maybe a subject on sport would have been more usefull ?

 

We could be a little teasing at the exams, but if we summarize, we found in the subjects some inhibitors for action, and something like an elite segregation between the eighteen years old student who had experimented spiritual master who has successfully transmitted knowledge that is usefull for experimented adults and the others. This is the kind of challenge faced by our french teenagers …

Note: Subjects have been quoted from this newspaper article: http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/education/20130617.OBS3552/les-sujets-du-bac-philo-2013.html

 

Facebook social urbanization

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We heard in the news since the end of last week some information about the Prism NSA program. This program refer to world wide integrated intelligence monitoring tool for Internet.

We have already heard of such program in 2004 under the name of TIA, Total Information Awareness or Terrorism Information awareness when we were interested in major defence program in the field of Information Technology during our Master thesis work. At the age we found information about this program in economic intelligence reviews.

Our Master thesis work was dealing about the general system from the work of US scientists in the field of systematics. The theory of systems is something that has been described in the first times in France by Jean Louis Lemoigne, engineer from the Ecole Centrale. Thus the general system is built from connected parts such as the information system, the decision system, the memorization system and the imagination, design system.

The general system is an approach to urbanize the society following organisation principles that would be structured by technology, information technology. The urbanization of society is not something new. From history, we know that political power has always wanted to organize the political, economical, cultural, religious and even racial life in the society. We shall say that from urbanization of the city, came the progress as we know today, but this is not without risks. This is not without circumstances that lead for example to caste systems or to world war II nazi criminal activities.

This is why today when political power has get a new world wide tool such as Internet we could be interested to know wether such tools would not endanger state organisations, democracy and the human rights values that lead to the lightning innovations of the end of the twentieth century.

Internet has been built in massively distributed way to be able to survive to some nuclear, conventional, cybernetics, … attack. This was massively distributed to avoid integration and uniqueness that always lead to the exploit that compromised the system. To exploit the information system does not always rely on technology, it could be a social exploit, a political exploit, a military exploit, ….

Information systems are structuring for organisation, they shape organisation, they impose models for society. Social Networks such as Facebook or Twitter impose a society model, a society model that could fail if the structuring information system is exploited by some political minority. This could be because the system is integrated and there is some uniqueness of deciders in the rank of police or military power in charge of monitoring the security.

Social urbanization, Information systems urbanization in cultural, professionnal, religious society is something that should be done while keeping in mind that democracy and human rights values are fragile equilibrium supporting innovation and progress. This is why we recommend the use of Free Softwares and more generally of open source technology to build general systems.