"Advanced Java® EE Development with WildFly" released by Packt (I was one of the reviewers!)

For the past months I had the honour and pleasure of being one of the reviewers of "Advanced Java® EE Development with WildFly" by Deepak Vohra. Today, I'm pleased to announce that the book has just been released by Packt:

https://www.packtpub.com/application-development/advanced-java-ee-development-wildfly

It was my first time being a reviewer and it was a very interesting experience. I would like to thank the two Project Coordinators from Packt, Aboli Ambardekar and Suzanne Coutinho, who guided me with the reviewing process, so that my review would be as accurate as possible and only related to technical aspect of the book. Looking at the process retrospectively I now begin to understand the complication of achieving a balance between the author's vision for the book and the scrutiny of the (many) reviewers.

And of course I would like to thank the author, Deepak Vohra, for writing the book in the first place, I'm looking forward to reading the actual physical book :)

New owner/maintainer for CSVChart Drupal module

Back in ~2008, I had created a small Drupal module that used CustomFilter and Google Chart Tools: Image Charts, called CSV Chart. It was a simple module that took embedded CSV data and presented them as Google charts. It was very handy for what I wanted -and still want- to do, present benchmarks for my work on Altivec (and now in general SIMD).

However, I don't really code in PHP anymore -haven't coded PHP since 2010- so the module was left to bitrot. I did some minor adjustment to run with the current D7-based site, but that was it.

Thankfully, others found the module useful to use and adopt and the result has been that in the last days I transfered ownership of the CSV Chart to Pierre Vriens, so that he can continue development and maintenance of this tiny module. I would like to publicly thank Pierre for his work!

And that's the beauty of Free Software!

SIMD on javascript, MHO

Just read the Mozilla announcement on SIMD.js and I can say I got mixed feelings about this.

I don't really comment other news/blogs/announcements, but this is an exception.

On one hand, I definitely welcome more SIMD use everywhere, being a SIMD advocate and enthusiast for many years (since 2004 actually). So seeing more of it and by someone such as Mozilla, that's even better! On the other hand, wait, that's SIMD in Javascript?!? Really? Why? As if we already covered native coverage of SIMD in every other part, including the browser itself (No browser uses SIMD extensively in its core, though that would prove to be of actual benefit, the only SIMD code I know of is in the media playback code, which is usually some external library like ffmpeg/x264/etc that already has SIMD optimized parts anyway.

So, instead of using resources to optimize the core browser with SIMD -I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities in the codebase for such optimizations- so that every web application, including Javascript ones will be optimized, or even the JS JITs themselves, yet Mozilla wants to push the effort to the web app developer to use their SIMD.js to do the equivalent of what SIMD coders have been doing to native apps for a long time now, only for JS apps.

Ok, so what's the gain? I read the PDF presentation that shows mandebrot.js to go from 9 FPS to 37FPS using SIMD.js. Admittedly that's impressive. But it also proves that the whole buzz about lower energy footprint computers, power efficiency is just useless. Why is that? For comparison running Xaos (fractal/mandelbrot program) on my very low end PC (2-core Athlon X2, AM2 socket, so DDR2) gives me ~250FPS, and I'm not even sure it's using SSE at all (from a simple check it doesn't). Zooming is realtime and at full detail. In the same talk, there was a benchmark of LLVM Javascript being as fast as C++ or 1.5x the native running time. I admit haven't tried the tests listed, but the mandelbrot test was using asm.js and 9 is definetely not 250/1.5. But I guess I'm just picky.

So, the latest trend of moving everything to the browser and JS,means that instead of optimizing my apps to run great on native, instead of making stuff running faster on my 5Wt big.Little 8-core ARM SoC, I have to get a much more power-hungry CPU to see the same performance. I'm totally against that. I want my newer CPUs, who are more energy-efficient and faster to actually feel like THAT. I don't want to upgrade just to experience the performance of a 486 20 years ago!

The talk mentioned HTML5 (and hence javascript) overtaking all other platforms for application development everywhere, including the smartphones. I certainly hope that's not the case, and I know of many people who also don't feel that way. We're not buying the "Everything on the web/cloud" paradigm, but I guess we're just a minority.

I could go on for a long time, but I have an actual SIMD-related bug to fix, cheers.

Note: I used to have comments enabled on my blog, but moderating spam was too time consuming, even with CAPTCHAs, so I disabled them entirely, if anyone could suggest of a better method, I'd gladly take advice -have been thinking about disqus, not sure if it's actually a good solution).

Eigen NEON port extended to ARMv8!

SIMD optimizations, cont.

A friend of mine told me that I should advertise my passion and know-how about SIMD more, and I decided to follow his advice. Though I am terrible at marketing and even more at personal marketing, I've made an attempt to do just that, advertise the fact that I'm offering SIMD Optimization Services (with emphasis on PowerPC AltiVec/VMX/VSX, and ARM NEON, but I'm ok with SSE as well, the logic is pretty much the same, though the difference(s) are in the details). For this reason I'm offering a free evaluation of your performance critical code (open/closed, able to sign NDAs if needed) to let you know if it's worth optimizing it, what kind of a performance gain you would get and how much it would cost you to get that result.
You can read more here.

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