USA plans to spend at least $1,000,000,000,000 on preparations for nuclear war over the next 30 years

According to Jon B. Wolfsthal, Jeffrey Lewis and Marc Quint in “The trillion dollar nuclear triad: US strategic nuclear modernization over the next thirty years”

The United States maintains a robust nuclear arsenal deployed on a triad of strategic delivery systems, including land- and submarine-based long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear-capable bombers. In addition, it also has a significant number of nonstrategic and nondeployed warheads not constrained by US-Russian arms control treaties. Over the next thirty years, the United States plans to spend approximately $1 trillion maintaining the current arsenal, buying replacement systems, and upgrading existing nuclear bombs and warheads.

and

The United States is on course to spend approximately $1 trillion dollars over the next thirty years to maintain its current nuclear arsenal and procure a new generation of nuclear-armed or nuclear-capable bombers, submarines, SLBMs, and ICBMs. While to some these costs may seem large, previous efforts to build the triad have been similarly expensive. In almost all cases, we have chosen to leave out categories of costs that could not be accurately identified, but that clearly exist and are part of the nuclear deterrent. In addition, the estimates above do not include the cost increases over the current projections provided by the DOD or DOE, Congressional Budget Office, or Government Accountability Office, even though military procurement programs often experience budget increases — sometimes significant increases over 50 percent of the original estimated cost. Most significantly, the estimate omits “legacy” costs associated with dismantling retired weapon systems and supporting retired workers and veterans — including long-term pension and healthcare costs — because these costs are not readily identifiable in budget documents.

According to USA President Dwight D. Eisenhower half a century ago

What can the world, or any nation in it, hope for if no turning is found on this dread road?

The worst to be feared and the best to be expected can be simply stated.

The worst is atomic war.

The best would be this: a life of perpetual fear and tension; a burden of arms draining the wealth and the labor of all peoples; a wasting of strength that defies the American system or the Soviet system or any system to achieve true abundance and happiness for the peoples of this earth.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. These plain and cruel truths define the peril and point to the hope that comes with this spring of 1953.

This is one of those times in the affairs of nations when the gravest choices must be made, if there is to be a turning toward a just and lasting peace. It is a moment that calls upon the governments of the world to speak their intentions with simplicity and with honesty. It calls upon them to answer the questions that stirs the hearts of all sane men: is there no other way the world may live?

At best it’s a grotesque waste of “the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children”. At worst it’s a “ton of graveyard earth”.

According to Bright Star Sound

Few people know of him … yet conceivably hundreds of millions of people are alive because of him. Stanislav Petrov, a retired Soviet military officer, is credited with preventing the start of World War III and the nuclear devastation of much of the Earth.

That’s why in 1984 the Soviet Union built a doomsday machine called Perimeter, to prevent launch on false warning.

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Deferring architecture choice in SystemVerilog

One size may not fit all instances of a design component. For example, depending on the timing context, a fast and expensive implementation may be justified for one instance, but be overkill for another. You could try to figure out all those details, and lock them down with configurations, but it would be better to defer these choices to the tools, letting them adapt fluidly to changes in context.

In SystemVerilog one way to describe alternative implementations is with nested modules (23.4). For example, suppose the module has an output port “out” of type “T”. Then for each alternative implementation, you could declare a nested module with only one port — an output port of that same type “T” — but pick up the inputs from the surrounding module scope instead of using port connections. Suppose further that there are three nested modules named “fast”, “little” and “medium”.

T Impls[3];

fast fast(Impls[0]);
little little(Impls[1]);
medium medium(Impls[2]); always @(posedge clk) begin assert final ($size(Impls.unique) == 1); out <= Impls[0]; end

The simulator (via the assertion) would check that indeed the implementations do yield the same results, and an intelligent synthesis tool would understand this implication of the assertion and preserve all implementation options until there is enough contextual information to make an optimal choice.

Functional programming in C++14, instead of templates

According to Christoph Kohlhepp (tip o’ the hat to Greg Jaxon)

C++14 generic lambdas enable a degree of functional programming that has, until now, been impossible in C++.

and

They make C++ constructs more concise.

and

They eliminate many use cases of template syntax that has been a hallmark of C++ since the introduction of the STL.

and

When the C++ standard introduced template, an entire coding style of generic programming unfolded on this which made “<>” as ubiquitous as the pointer symbol “*” had been in C land. With the introduction of generic lambdas to the C++ standard, a genuine functional coding style is about to unfold and perhaps make the keyword auto just as ubiquitous.

 

Using Skype like a professional

IEEE-USA Today’s Engineer published a practical article by John R. Platt , “Tips for Effective Skype Job Interviews“, which is worth reading by anyone who needs to videoconference with a laptop or mobile device for professional reasons. Three takeaway messages are

  1. Practice and fine-tune your Skype setup and manner with a friend until you look professional and can hear and be heard clearly.
  2. Sit no more than an arm’s length away from the camera with your face centered on the screen and the camera at eye level in front of an uncluttered background.
  3. There’s more delay than on a voice-only phone call and it may be made worse by bandwidth issues.

Here are some excerpts from Platt’s article

The first challenge is to think about where … It should be a nice, quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted or bothered … If your house has the potential to be noisy, make sure that people know you need a good hour of quiet and privacy.
 
Take a few minutes to make sure the room has good lighting and lacks visual distractions. You don’t want the person on the other end of the Skype call to struggle to see your face if it is shrouded in darkness. … Bare walls or an office-like setting are best … “If nothing else, buy a screen and put it behind you,” …
 
Next, think about how you’re actually going to set up your device. Whether you’re calling from a desktop computer, laptop or other mobile device, you want to make sure that your camera is set up at eye level. This ensures that the video feed is captured at a natural angle (not pointing up your nose) …
 
Also, make sure the camera isn’t too close to you or too far away from where you’ll be sitting. … You should sit no more than an arm’s length away from the webcam … and then be centered on the screen.
 
Give proper consideration to the audio, too. Do you want to just use the microphone and speakers built into your device, or do you want to wear a headset? You want to make sure that the interviewer can hear you and you can hear them. …
 
Of course, all technology is fallible, so test everything out well before you begin your interview. “The biggest challenge I see over and over is candidates do not test their microphones before connecting,” says software engineer Sid Savara. “It is a huge, huge professional mistake in my opinion. …”
 
Savara suggests “showing up” 30 minutes early for the interview and trying a few test calls with a family member or friend to make sure that everything is working properly. This helps to make sure that your broadband connection is working well enough to handle the video. It also gives you a chance to make sure that the audio sounds crisp and clear and that you didn’t miss anything hiding in the background behind you. (We all go a little “blind” when we’re looking at something we see every day, so an outside set of eyes might see something that has become invisible to you.)
 
If you’re not a frequent Skype user, it might take more than 30 minutes of practice. Make sure you know how the chat, screen-sharing and other features work. You don’t want to be stumbling around during the interview. If you can use Skype with confidence, you’ll be more confident in your interview and be better able to showcase your skills. …
 
 
You’ve already spent some time making sure your video and audio work, so now you need to make sure you look good on camera. “Sit up straight, and don’t treat it like a regular, chilled-out Skype call with friends,” …
 
Figuring out exactly when and where to look at the camera can be difficult. In an in-person interview, it’s easy to make eye contact. That’s impossible on a Skype interview. Spend a good portion of your time looking directly at the camera, since that is “the best way to simulate the type of eye contact that happens in a live interview,” … On the other hand, “don’t stare at the camera, because that will make you look weird,” …
 
Posture and body language matter. “Sit forward in your chair so your energy is in your body,” … “Keep your feet planted on the ground to enable gesturing.” Gestures are important because they help bring you to life on the screen. “The animation will be projected into your voice and show your energy and enthusiasm,” …
 
Even though you have practiced, understand the limits of the technology. “You need to take artificially long pauses on Skype interviews … There is always a little more lag than you think.”

 

 

Bromley & Winkelmann’s programmer’s utility library for SystemVerilog

According to Jonathan Bromley and André Winkelmann in “svlib – a programmer’s utility library for SystemVerilog

svlib is a free, open-source library of utility functions for SystemVerilog. It includes file and string manipulation functions, full regular expression search/replace, easy reading and writing of configuration files, access to environment variables and wall-clock time, and much more.

Paper | Presentation | Download

Britain’s glorious war resisters

According to Adam Hochschild about some anti-war heroes from nearly a century ago

It was in Britain that significant numbers of war resisters first acted on their beliefs and paid the price. They did not even come close to stopping the bloodshed, but their strength of conviction remains one of the glories of a dark time. By the conflict’s end, more than 20,000 British men of military age would refuse the draft. Many, on principle, also refused the noncombatant alternative service offered to conscientious objectors, and more than 6,000 served prison terms under harsh conditions: hard labor, a bare-bones diet, and a strict “rule of silence.” This was one of the largest groups ever jailed for political reasons in a Western democracy. War opponents behind bars also included older men—and a few women—as well. If we could time-travel our way into British prisons in late 1917 and early 1918 we would meet the nation’s leading investigative journalist, a future winner of the Nobel Prize, more than half a dozen future members of Parliament, one future cabinet minister, and a former newspaper editor who was now publishing a clandestine journal for his fellow inmates on toilet paper. It would be rare to find a more distinguished array of people ever imprisoned together.

How to slice a SystemVerilog interface

A synthesizable interface coding example connecting a server to 16 clients. The server is passed a large interface with 16 pairs of request and response words, and each client is passed a small interface that gives access to only one pair. This is done by first passing the big interface to each of the small interfaces, and then passing the small interfaces to the clients using a modport that restricts access to just one pair.

localparam type requestType = byte;
localparam type responseType = int;

module testMod#(N=16);

  wire clk, rst;

  allIfc#(N) allInst(clk, rst);
  serverMod#(N) serverInst(allInst.serverMp);

  for (genvar I = 0; I < N; I++) begin:GEN
    sliceIfc#(I) sliceInst(allInst.clientMp);
    clientMod clientInst(sliceInst.clientMp);
  end

endmodule:testMod


interface automatic allIfc#(N=0)(input clk, rst);

  var requestType Requests[N];
  var responseType Responses[N];

  function requestType requestRead(int index);
    return Requests[index];
  endfunction

  function void responseWrite(int index, responseType response);
    Responses[index] <= response;
  endfunction

  modport clientMp(output Requests, input Responses,
                   input clk, rst);

  modport serverMp(input Requests, output Responses,
                   import requestRead, responseWrite,
                   input clk, rst);

endinterface:allIfc


interface automatic sliceIfc#(I=0)(allIfc.clientMp allInst);

  var requestType request;
  var responseType response;

  assign allInst.Requests[I] = request;
  assign response = allInst.Responses[I];

  function void requestWrite(requestType req);
    request <= req;
  endfunction

  function responseType responseRead();
    return response;
  endfunction

  wire clk = allInst.clk;
  wire rst = allInst.rst;

  modport clientMp(output request, input response,
                   import requestWrite, responseRead,
                   input clk, rst);

endinterface:sliceIfc


module clientMod(sliceIfc.clientMp sliceInst);
  // ...
endmodule


module serverMod#(N=0)(allIfc.serverMp allInst);
  // ...
endmodule

Copyright © 2014 Brad Pierce