Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Voluntary action - and computers

I’ve been thinking for the last few days about supporting the local community. Although it’s not apparent, I’m sure there are people who need help and we in the Parish are in a position to do something. There have been a number of triggers: Mike has suggested group to provide support to people who are in difficulty in the current crisis; Rosie, prompted by another set of suggestions, has asked whether we should step back and think whether we are putting our energy in the right place.

I’ve also been concerned that much of our Church-supported activity is inward looking. At a Parish Weekend last Autumn, we spent lots of time understanding our gifts and skills - but these were focussed on supporting Church activities. OK, many of these activities are for the community, but it still seems narrow to me. So I think the opportunity - the challenge - of looking a little broader is good news.

So why can’t we sponsor a wide range of activities, both within the Church an in the community? And why can’t we draw resources from the community, too?
Resources: people, time. One of the challenges is to be able to find the people and the time to respond. Everyone is very busy. Lots of people already give their time. The risk is we’ll get the same people, putting them under more pressure. Perhaps we need to reset our priorities. But if we can we can engage the wider community, too, maybe we can do more. How does
Missenden Action sound?


And now for something entirely different. A week or so ago I referred to the changes I’d seen in my time with IBM. I spotted a news item this evening - IBM unveils world's fastest supercomputer. The IBM Sequoia is not available yet - it is to be delivered by 2012. It is reported to operate at 20 times the speed of the previous record holder: 20 petaflops, that’s 20 quadrillion operations per second, equivalent to more than 2 million laptops. As comparison, the first IBM PC operated at about 50 to 100 kiloflops. Not delivered yet? Did you see the news yesterday about delayed IT projects? We’ll see!

Link: IBM unveils world's fastest supercomputer

1 comment:

Ian said...

The advance in computer speeds over the last 40 years IS impresive. I think it has been enabled by technical change. However even without a radical change improvement is possible. In the same 40 years family car fuel consumption has probably increased from, say, 30 miles per gallon to around 55 mpg with the car being really quite similar. In my own trade, papermaking, the machine speed in those 40 years have gone from 34 miles per hour to 67 mph. I am ashamed to admit that the man who invented the papermachine in 1810 would still recognise it, and could probably run one. Just because we can't revolutionise something dosen't mean we can't tweak!