about

This site is for talking about hopefully interesting items in technology, science, economy, politics, the world, etc.   Things that get me to think, and want to share these thoughts.  Why should you pay any attention to this site or me?  Good question.  I write as I talk, and as I think.  I try to tease out what is real versus what isn't.  I try to explain what I understand so that others can consume it, or argue against/for it, or explain better so that I (we) may consume it.

That is, I don't believe in narratives.  I am very much against argument-by-authority.  I'll explain more in a moment.  Suffice it to say that strong/good arguments and ideas will likely win support from me, and I will also try to post such things.  Weak argumentation may result in appropriate levels of derision (of the argument) but never ad hominem.  I reject ad hominem as a matter of course, so if you need to attack people as part of your discourse, this isn't the right place for you.

For those who might be interested in me, here are some random facts.  All true.

  • I am a physicist by training, with a Ph.D. in computational condensed matter physics. So if you want to call be Dr. Joe, feel free to, as I've earned that title, though ... I think of myself as "just Joe". I tend to personally reserve the Dr. title for people actively working in scientific and medical fields.

    My thesis advisor was a student of Phil Anderson at Princeton.

  • I've been married for 30 years to my best friend, and have a wonderful (adult) child who, as all dad's think, is just the greatest kid ever. Being a math geek, our wedding day was 8/1/91, or (just the digits) 8191, also known as the 5th Mersenne prime number
  • I do not do physics for a living anymore. I finished my Ph.D. as the Soviet Union was collapsing, and the market for tenure track people, already massively overcrowded, then had to contend with emigres looking to provide a better situation for their families.
  • I've been working in high performance computing (HPC) in one aspect or another since 1989. As a consumer/user of HPC systems until 1995, then at HPC vendors. My most recent transition was away from vendors, moving back to the consumption side of HPC, at a proprietary trading company.
  • I started my own company, Scalable Informatics in 2002, after some stillborn efforts early in 2000, with some people at University of Michigan. Scalable was built to work on designing, delivering and supporting HPC systems and users. My business partner and I had a discussion in his office at my alma mater (he was a professor there), when he'd gotten back from California after a leave of absence. He told me about these many core (remember this is late 2002) digital signal processors he'd been working on. He showed me performance data for various operations.

    I had an epiphany. Why not, I argued, put something like this on a card, with limited software support, say BLAS and LAPACK libraries, so end users could drop this into their code?

    We worked at raising money for this from 2003 until 2007. Very few VC people belived accelerators would be important in HPC.

    SMDH.

  • I wrote white papers as part of Scalable. Still have PDFs around. In the white papers for AMD (one of several customers), I used a term I had used in my VC pitch decks.

    APU, or Accelerated Processing Unit.

    AMD seems to have liked that term.

  • The company was destroyed by our bank at the end of 2016, as they did not think we were going to be able to service our line of credit loan. All my personal "wealth" was tied up in the company.

    Hence, at age 51, I started over with less than 0, saving furiously for retirement.

  • Related to the above, I'd been diagnosed with a depressive syndrome. Turns out the stress of running a company for 15 years, and stress dealing with its forced dissolution, and the aftermath of that, does a number to your psyche. I didn't get this diagnosis until 2 years after this happened. Happened sort of by accident as it turned out. My doctor is a very good doctor. He caught it.

    This is being treated, and I am feeling far better. When you finally face the things you need to, its like veils lift from you. You find yourself able to think more clearly, faster, and avoid emotional stress. This is a good thing.

    Remember to take care of yourself. This is very important.

  • I enjoy writing. I've written short hard sci-fi stories. I have not published them. I think I'm afraid of that for some reason. I could use some encouragement ...
  • I am a second Dan black belt in Isshinryu Karate, currently studying for a third Dan test. Usually, one is tested simultaneously for the Sensei rank. Sensei translates approximately to teacher. It is one of my bucket list items, and I am working very hard on this.
  • I have been learning to play guitar for 25 years or so. What I mean by this, is that I've been trying to learn on my own, but given my (undiagnosed) ADHD (assuming I have this), I've been failing miserably for 25 years. I plan to rectify this soon.