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I have been traveling in Europe on work for 2 weeks.

I first attended the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) 2007 in Dresden, Germany. I helped man the Cisco booth and talked to anyone who would listen (and many who did not ;-) ) about Open MPI. I talked to many other vendors and academics at the show and generally continued to spread the Good Word about Open MPI.

Rainer K. and I co-hosted a Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) session about Open MPI as well. There were probably 30+ attendees, and I kept everyone 20+ minutes after my assigned time (no one left and no one complained, so I considered that a good sign).

Cisco is doing many, many Good Things in the Open MPI project (e.g., I have run 2.9 million regression tests of Open MPI at Cisco in the past 30 days; I’m likely to increase this by quite a bit). Other organizations also contribute heavily as well; I continue to be amazed at how well Open MPI works as an open source project. W00t!

Over the weekend, thanks to Google Alerts, I noticed that Debian had refreshed their interest in Open MPI and upgraded their included version to the latest stable release. They also included some man pages that we were missing. We contacted them and asked if they’d be willing to contribute the man pages back upstream to Open MPI. They were astonished: “I think that’s a first for an upstream team to notice the packaging :)” said Dirk E. to me in an e-mail. W00t w00t!

I’m staying in Europe after ISC to conduct some IB and Open MPI training for some European Cisco partners, so two Cisco guys and I went exploring over the weekend. We hopped on a train from Dresden to Prague and tooled around the city for the day (seriously; we walked for miles). Very cool/fun city. We had some excellent food and local brews (Pilsner Urquel and Budwar). Yum.

The next morning we hopped a train from Prague to Vienna. Traveling by train is just so civilized and relaxing. Prague to Vienna is a ~4 hour train ride with beautiful scenery, quiet traveling, spacious seating, walkable aisles, food and drink available upon demand, and a power outlet next to every seat for your laptop. What more could you ask for? We could have flown from Prague to Vienna, but this is soooo much more relaxing and enjoyable.

Vienna was fun, but we had less time there than we had in Prague, so we didn’t get to see as much. There was a huge gay rights parade going on that day which was quite the spectacle. We ended up taking a bus tour around the city so that we could feel like we at least saw the major sights. We ended the day by having dinner in a rooftop restuarant with a great view of the city.

The next day, we took an 8-hour train ride from Vienna to Mainz, Germany. Agai — very relaxing. Soooo much less hassle than flying.

We conducted the training in Mainz and then flew to London on the 4th of July (which I found quite ironic). More Cisco guys joined us, and I got to see the London Cisco office (right next to Heathrow, actually). On Friday, a Roy K. and I went to downtown London to see all the classic sights (he’d never been out of North America before) and caught the opening ceremony of the Tour De France in Trafalgar Square. Cool stuff. I texted a picture of me standing in front of Big Ben to my wife (who was in the middle of her work day); luckily she found it very amusing. ☺

We topped off the night by having a so-so dinner in a disappointing restaurant, waiting 45 minutes to get a cab back to our hotel, and then finding out that our hotel wouldn’t let us into a colleague’s room to get our bags (despite the fact that he explicitly left keys for us). Blah. So it was a yukky ending to an otherwise good day.

Overall, the trip was good but tiring. It will be good to get home…


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