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2014-04 Kamo High Open Technology Seminar Print
March 2014

Kamo High / Compucon Open Technology Seminar
Wed 16 April 2014
Kamo High School, Whangarei

2:15pm Reception
2:30pm Iceberg of Computing
3:00pm 4 Pillars of Computing
3:30pm New Zealand High Performance Computing
4:15pm Muffin Break 

We may perceive desktop PC, laptop, tablet, and now smart phone as the face of computing and computer servers in the backroom as the engine of computing.  This is correct and is herewith termed the tip of iceberg of computing which is clearly visible and is only a small part of the computing industry.  Below the water level is the bulk of the iceberg without which the tip would not have existed.  There are 2 major components of this iceberg bulk- a cloud infrastructure and high performance engines among other things.  The cloud infrastructure is the one that connects all people and provides storage and software services amongst others.  USA is presumably a dominant if not the sole provider of the cloud infrastructure with big brands such as Google, Amazon, Yahoo!, and Microsoft.  It is therefore the virtual brain-work factory for the global village whilst most developing countries serve as physical sweat shops.   High performance engines are quite different as there are many of them located in many countries, institutions, and corporations.  They are in a creation and development mode and they create new icebergs and civilisation for the world.  New Zealand however is not yet in the league but this is going to change.   This session will provide more details to explain this picture.

For the cloud infrastructure to support mobile and stationary devices at the receiving end of the Internet, the communication protocols have to be standardised around the world so that bits flow around flawlessly.  TCP/IP is the name of the communication standard and the first pillar of computing.  Big data factories like Google have collected an ever increasing amount of data about people on the globe and Big Data is the 2nd pillar of computing.  Nature exists in parallel, that is, everything in the universe takes place simultaneously in parallel to everything else.   We only knew how to do parallel computing lately and it is the 3rd pillar of computing.  A factory turns inputs into outputs.  Humans turn inputs into outputs.   Computer vision provides the inputs of computing and it is the 4th pillar.   Robotics and astronomy are applications of computer vision. This session will explain what each is and where it is. 

As far as computing is concerned, New Zealand is a follower of other leading countries.  We import all laptops and tablets from overseas, and we make a miniscule quantity of servers, workstations and desktops which are also based on components imported.  An Auckland university professor explained that the scale of New Zealand is too small and cannot support technology innovations from scratch.  Atmost we can do some tip-of-iceberg innovations.  The situation changed when the New Zealand Government subscribed to the biggest science project in the world in this century called SKA, and facilitated a team of New Zealand scientists and engineers to be involved in the development of deep water research and development of high performance computing.  Compucon is a member in this New Zealand contribution effort, and has given a speech in a conference attended by world computing leaders in February.  This session will explain the agenda of New Zealand in developing the high performance pillar of computing.