Category Archives: Half-Crazed Visigoth

The Visigoths were seen by the Romans as an existential threat: very much the Barbarians at the Gate, whose victory would mean the collapse of everything that was civilised. Funnily enough the Visigoths didn’t see it that way and now we can see them as the disruptive innovation at the final collapse of an ossified Roman Empire that had outlived its time. The “Half-Crazed” bit is pure Hitchhiker’s Guide and definitely sums up the mental attitude needed to be a serial inventor.

So this blog is about innovation, particularly the dynamics, process and cultures that engender and promote innovation, whether in start-ups or established enterprises who don’t want to end up like the Romans.

Days of Futures Past

The picture above is ASCI Red, the world’s fastest supercomputer in 1999-2000. It was about the size of a large tennis court, sucked a couple of MW and cost around $55M (it went through various incarnations). And that’s not to mention the staff of acolytes and air-conditioned buildings required to make it work. Its delivered performance was about 2.4 TFlops (Thousand Billion Floating Point Operations per second), with a theoretical maximum of around 3.2TFlops, delivered by an array of nearly 10,000 processors, all chuntering away in parallel.

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AI and the Naming of Names

AI (that’s Artificial Intelligence – I have to be clear here as I live in a farming community and conversations have been known to take a strange turn) is a flavour of the moment and is riding high on the arm-waving curve of the hype cycle. We’ve been here before though – as a notion, AI has been through more loops of the hype cycle than most technologies, with successive waves of mutually reinforcing innovation and fiction conspiring to promise more than contemporary understanding could deliver.

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New World, New Ways…


Rewind: Sixteen years or so ago, I was interested in how we use software to help us solve the compound, iterative and ever-changing problems we face every day: juggling complex trip schedules, working out where we need to be and when to co-ordinate with our friends or colleagues and, of course, how we find out about stuff that we’d want if only we knew to ask for it. I’m still thinking about it.

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