About Lev Lafayette

Crocodile Logo

Lev Lafayette has an MHEd from Otago University, an MSc (Information Systems) from Salford University, and an MBA (Technology Management) from the Chifley Business School, where he was on the Dean's List. He also has a Graduate Certificate in Project Management from the same institution, and an honours degree from Murdoch University in Politics, Philosophy and Sociology which is commented upon by the Vice-Chancellor of the time. Many years later he completed a Graduate Certificate in Adult and Tertiary Education at the same institution. He also has a Graduate Diploma in Applied Psychology at the University of Auckland, and has recently finished a Master of Climate Change Science and Policy at the Victoria University of Wellington.

He is a certified PRINCE2 Practioner, and an Adult and Workplace Trainer. Clearly not satisfied with three masters degrees, he's started a fourth, this time a Master Climate Change Science and Policy at the Victoria University of Wellington. With an interdisciplinary approach, Lev's interests include the political implementation of universal pragmatics, the relationship between communications technology and society, and comparative economic systems. On again and off again, he plods his way through completing a PhD in Social Theory as well.

Professionally however, Lev is an experienced systems administrator, specialising in the Linux operating system and scientific applications, a project manager, systems engineer, and quality management systems coordinator, specifically for ISO 9001 (Quality assurance) and ISO 270001 (Information Technology Security). He also does a lot of training for researchers and technical staff in Linux, High Performance Computing, mathematical programming, Postgresql, and related subjects, with graduates and post-doctoral researchers from a variety of organisations including: RMIT, La Trobe University, the University of Melbourne, Deakin University, Swinburne University, Victoria University of Technology, Monash University, the Australian Synchrotron, the Department of Environment and Primary Industries, the University of Sydney, Macquarie University, the University of New South Wales, the University of Western Australia, the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, the Westmead Millennium Institute, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, and the Australian Institution of Marine Science.

Previous employment and clients include several years working as a computer systems trainer and database management for the Parliamentary Labor Party in Victoria. Following this he worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Timor Leste (East Timor) managing their computer network and providing training and technical expertise to that Ministry in their first year of self-governance. Dr. Ramos-Horta provided the following comments on his work.

Lev works for the Research Computing Services group at the University of Melbourne as the Senior High Performance Computing Development and Operations Engineer, and prior to that Victorian Partnership for Advanced Computing, as a systems administrator for Linux clusters and as the Quality Management Coordinator. As per those roles, this site is mostly dedicated to issues concerning High Performance Computing, Scientific Computing and Supercomputing. Lev is involved in Linux Users of Victoria, having spent four years as President, two years as Public Officer, two years as Vice-President, a year as Treasurer and is now in his third year as an ordinary committee member. He is has a coordinating role in the annual Multicore World conference and typically take the role of MC.

The crocodile logo was designed by Victoria Jankowski. It was first used on the cover of Neon-komputadór, the first IT training manual for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in East Timor which was printed and translated by the United Nations Development Programme. The crocodile represents the Timorese people and is the emblem of their land. The integrated circuit represents their independent connectivity to the wider world.

You can also find a political site that Lev subscribes to, The Isocracy Network, a synthesis of several progressive political orientations, and RPG Review which covers his interests in roleplaying and simulation games, including as editor of the namesake journal. This includes being the author of one very ironic RPG (Papers & Paychecks) and supplement (Cow-Orkers in the Scary Devil Monastery), a co-author of another (Fox Magic, author a supplement, Rolemaster Companion VI), as well as plot and character development in the computer game Cargo. He has also been a playtester for RuneQuest, Traveller, Basic Role Playing, and Eclipse Phase.

As a naturalistic pantheist with an interfaith perspective, he manages and contributes to the Lightbringers website which includes various addresses and essays on philosophy and religion. Recently he has taken up the role of University Outreach Officer for the International Society for Philosophers.

Finally, he also has a livejournalDreamwidth account, which will probably be quite boring to anyone who doesn't know him personally.

That's enough of me talking about myself in the third person like Cerebus The Aardvark.

YouTube and Advertisements

Several months ago, YouTube began "a global effort" to prevent users from blocking advertisements. This process included allowing users with an adblocker, once detected, a few videos, then a warning, and then outright prevention. There was an implicit suggestion that one could receive the desired ad-free service from a Premium subscription. Methods employed by YouTube to implement these blocks include embedding advertisements in the video itself, serving advertisements from the same domain as the video, or using browser fingerprinting to detect ad-blocking extensions.

Supercomputing Asia 2024 Summary

Supercomputing Asia 2024 was held in Sydney from the 19th to 23rd of February with over 1,000 attendees, most of whom were from Australia, the United States, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, and Aotearoa New Zealand, with a notable exception from the conference was China given their importance to both supercomputing and Asia, and one speaker noted wryly that "Australia is now apparently part of Asia". The program consisted of plenary sessions in the morning and multiple streams in the afternoon of each day.

Another Year in Supercomputing

Since late in 2007 I have been involved in the field of high performance computing. Initially, this was at the Victorian Partnership for Advanced Computing, but just before that organisation closed its doors in December 2015 I accepted a similar role at the University of Melbourne. The end of the year provides a reason for reflection, an annual report if one likes, and whilst activities not related to my vocation and profession will be dealt with in a subsequent entry, the opportunity is taken here to review workplace activities and in particular, changes in the environment for the University's general HPC system, Spartan. Spartan now has 6159 accounts across 2109 projects in diverse disciplines in the life sciences, engineering, economics, mathematics, and more and has been cited in 62 papers in the past year.

The2023 International Conference on Green and Innovation-Driven Urban Development

Following the successful first conference last year, this year’s 2023 International Conference on Green and Innovation-driven Development in Cities and Towns was hosted in Suzhou with proceedings held at the recently opened Suzhou International Conference Hotel. The lead host of the conference was the Foreign Affairs Office of the Jiangsu Provincial People’s Government, and the main organiser was the Xiangcheng District People’s Government of Suzhou City.

Spartan Finally Receives Its Laurels

Spartan HPC certificateWay back in 2015 the University of Melbourne had a general-purpose high performance computer system called "Edward", which itself replaced an even smaller system called "Alfred", both named after the Kings of Wessex. Edward was a fairly typical machine for its vintage and, as is normal, when a system is being retired the main researchers were asked what should be different in the new system. What was also normal was their answers; more cores, faster CPUs, etc.

The Voice and Set Theory

The expression "Not all members of set N have characteristic r, but all elements with characteristic r are in set N" can be represented with standard set notation as follows.

1. There exist some elements in N that do not have characteristic r. Using the "∃" symbol, to denote "there exists", and the "∉" symbol, which denotes "not an element of."

∃x ∈ N : x ∉ R

This reads as "There exists an element x in N such that x is not an element of R."

2. For the second part, all elements with characteristic r are in set N:

COMP90024: Cluster and Cloud Computing For 2023

For the past few years, I have delivered some guest lectures and training for the University of Melbourne master's level course Cluster and Cloud Computing. This year's contribution has been expanded, which is not surprising as the course is apparently required for data science students as well as computer science students. Thus, for 2023 four presentations were given, with the workshop repeated three times!

2022 HPC Training Utilisation and Results

Unique identifiers for 263 users who received HPC training in 2022 was determined from collected attendee records. Note that users may enrol in multiple courses (e.g., Introduction to Spartan, Advanced Spartan, Parallel Processing, etc) and may return for revision. All these users are counted once only.

From the unique users a total of 212 usernames could be determined from email addresses. When enrolling for training users do not include their Spartan usernmae or their university ID; sometimes they don't even use a university email address, despite requests.

The Importance of Supercomputing

Most people use their computers (which includes mobile phones) for communication, social media, games, entertainment, office applications, and the like. Most of the time these activities are not particularly onerous in terms of computing as such or do not lead to enormous benefits in productivity, inventions, and discovery. There is one field, however, rarely discussed, that does do this - and that is supercomputing.