JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success™
No. 46 : June 10, 2001

Business, marketing & futures commentary.
New attitudes, no platitudes.
Stay e-tuned....

  • P2P - distributed super-computing
  • Webcast : David Gerlernter on "Lifestreams"
  • Interview with Andy Grove of Intel
  • InTech - Pinto's Points
  • Rockwell in trouble
  • eFeedback
    • Can Siemens really buy Rockwell?
    • Neo-luddites - Bill Joy fear-mongering
    • Free-on-line science information - Response
    • Cerasoli-poems : Like finding money in an old suit

P2P super-computing

You probably know that your desktop computer (like most others) is only utilized about 95% - most of the time, the CPU stays idle. Peer-to-peer (P2P) or distributed computing links many machines together to perform mammoth tasks that only super-computers can do. The whole area of distributed computing is a hot bed of significant development, that is expected to generate amazing advances in the next few years. And the first big applications are already here.

United Technologies, the $26b manufacturing conglomerate, is equipping more than 100,000 Wintel computers with its own peer-to-peer software to do scientific calculations and solves complex modeling problems during off hours. The project is an expansion of what the company's Pratt & Whitney aircraft engine division has done to phase out a Cray supercomputer with 5,000 Sun Unix workstations, to perform design simulations for aircraft parts. The result: 85 percent utilization for each workstation.

With 20,000 PCs in Pratt & Whitney, the P2P project is expected to cut in half the time and money it takes to develop turbine engines and other aircraft parts, mainly by eliminating multimillion-dollar prototypes. Previously, it could take $1 billion and five years between the time an engine is developed and certified.

Universities and research organizations have used similar peer-processing approaches to solve complex scientific problems. The most famous is a project called SETI@home, which uses the computers of volunteers across the globe to search for life on other planets.

An Intel philanthropic P2P Program helps to combat life-threatening illnesses by linking millions of PCs into what is predicted to be the largest and fastest computing resource in history. This "virtual supercomputer" uses P2P technology to make unprecedented amounts of processing power available to medical researchers to accelerate the development of improved treatments and drugs that could potentially cure diseases.

Click Internet Week article : United Technologies P2P

Click Intel Philanthropic P2P website

Click The SETI@home project

Click P2P Working Group
The P2P Working Group is organized to facilitate and accelerate the advancement of infrastructure best-known practices for P2P computing.

David Gerlernter - webcast

In an interview at the Yale television studio last March, Yale professor and visionary David Gelernter introduced a technology that unlocks the pent-up power that comes from an abundance of bandwidth and data storage - what George Gilder terms "storewdith".

At the Gilder Storewidth 2001 conference recently (April 2001), edited excerpts from a videotaped interview with David Gelernter were shown to a receptive audience. In the video, Gelernter describes the revolutionary “Scopeware” software developed by his startup company, Mirror Worlds Technologies. Scopeware exploits what Gerlernter calls "lifestreams" - ALL the multifaceted data in our lives (emails, fax messages, computer documents and presentations, digital photographs, web-browsed links) will be available anywhere, anytime, on any data-link through a “no-learning” search engine and browse interface.

You can watch the Gerlernter webcast yourself, via the Gilder website. You'll need RealNetworks RealPlayer; if you don't have it on your computer, it will download quite easily.

Click Gerlernter Webcast

Click Gelernter's new company, Mirror Worlds Technologies

Wired Interview : Andy Grove of Intel

The phrase "new economy" makes Andy Grove of Intel emit a low groan, screw up his face, and scrape his fingers down an imaginary chalkboard. He growls: "What the hell is new about it?" While Grove objects to the term, he actually believes passionately in most of its principles, and remains an Internet bull.

In his four decades in Silicon Valley, Grove is famous as a scientist and a strategist, an operations wizard and a management guru, an empire builder and a captain of industry. To each of these roles, Grove brought two common qualities: the self-advertised paranoia (his famous book) and skepticism that stings.

This article is on the web, and a MUST-READ !

Click Wired article: Andy Grove's Rational Exuberance

ISA INTECH: Pinto's Points

InTech, the ISA magazine, publishes a regular (weekly) eNews, which includes a link to a brief Pinto Point.

Each point is an item that I think will stimulate your thinking - technical trends, market musings, sales solutions, and business briefs. Take a look!

Click Links to the ISA archives on Pinto's Points

Rockwell in trouble

I'm not picking on Rockwell Automation (Allen-Bradley & Reliance) but it is in the news again - bad news.

This past week, Rockwell slashed earnings estimates, said it would eliminate 1,000 jobs and take $50 million in pretax charges due to a "sharper-than-expected drop in demand for automation products". Fiscal third-quarter automation revenue will fall 15% below last year's third quarter, the next three quarters are forecasted to be at similar levels and a revenue rebound is not expected until spring 2002.

"People keep talking about how we don't have a recession going on and, as measured by GDP, that may be the case," Chairman & CEO Don Davis told analysts in a conference call. "But I'll tell you one damn thing: That does not apply to the manufacturing sector of this economy." Frankly, he seemed rattled. In announcing the layoffs, he did not mention any pay cuts for himself (his salary is $ 2.2m) or the other highly paid executives who must take responsibility for the debacle.

The truth is that Rockwell is in a world of hurt, and losing market share big time in all segments of the industrial automation market. PLC's are being replaced by more powerful, easier to apply and more operator friendly scalable DCS applications. For Rockwell this reality is compounded by the fact that the discrete manufacturing and I/O market price levels are being driven down by the Europeans, Schneider and Siemens, who seem to be running a give-away contest!

On the New York Stock Exchange, Rockwell International stock ended the week at $41.60 - a drop of about 15%. Is Siemens tuned in? You bet!

Click Forbes.com: Rockwell's Don Davis slashes jobs

Click Yahoo: Rockwell Profile
- all kinds of good information (including key-people salaries)


In response to the story on Rockwell, Jake Brodsky [jbrodsk@wsscwater.com] e-wrote on the Automation List:

    "Siemens purchase Rockwell Automation??? I'd like to see THAT get past the FTC. It's not that Siemens isn't salivating over this market, but they're so big that one has to wonder what they'd do with Allen-Bradley.

    "I fear that they would do for AB what they did with Texas Instruments: Take all the really cool stuff and push it to the side while they force square pegs in round holes, "merging" their product lines in to this market.

    "I wish Siemens would simply try to win this market on merit alone. I think they could do it. They don't need other product lines to die for them to do well."

Jake Brodsky continued on the "neo-luddite" Bill Joy:

    "As for Bill Joy, I have two words: fear-mongering. When humanity learns to modify genetic codes, it will change the very nature of what it means to be human. It IS frightening. But we have no alternative but to move forward.

    "If Bill Joy is so concerned about these developments, why doesn't he work toward making better political structures so that it won't be caught flat-footed when this technology becomes available? Fear Mongering is a tactic of the demagogue. Bill Joy can do better. He can lead."

In a previous e-feedback, Doug Bailey wondered whether the freedom of the Internet needs intermediaries, such as scientific journals, to validate content. Lou Heavner [Lou.Heavner@EmersonProcess.com] e-responded:

    "This whole issue of Internet content and intellectual property rights may be on the verge of becoming self-regulating. Idiots will always do what idiots do, but more and more people may begin to see value in paying for legitimate information as opposed to judging the value of Internet content by it ease of accessibility. Similarly, imagine what would happen to Napster if it propagated a particularly nasty virus hidden away in a "free" music file. Hopefully that won't happen, but prudent people may soon begin to think twice about what free over the Internet really means. How many people already tell you to believe less than x% (where x is small) of what is out there? Please, let's not even think about external restrictions or censoring of the Internet. Who among us, especially in government, is wise enough or knowledgeable enough to even think of controlling Internet content. Better - user beware! "

Frank Williams [FrankW@actionio.com] was delighted to see Phil Cerasoli's poems:
    "I have always enjoyed Phil's poetic and song writing intellect. Re-visiting some of his poems, at this stage in my life, was like finding forgotten money in an old suit - unexpected, delightful and rewarding."

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