Thursday, March 01, 2007

If I'm going to screw up, why does it have to be so public?

Grrr. And... Yargh. That's my reaction to seeing a story I wrote get picked up not only by Digg but by ZDNet's "Must Read News Alerts".

Normally that would be a good thing, except the title used for the story was "How to get 66.6 TeraFlops for $600". If you go to the link, it says "How to get 520 GigaFlops for $600". Just a tiny difference.

While the original title was much cooler, it was wrong. I didn't discover the error until about a half hour after hitting the 'Publish' button. The 66.6 TFlops number was based on two sentences in the GeForce 8800 Architecture Technical Brief. The first says:
Teraflops of raw floating-point processing power are combined to deliver unmatched gaming performance, graphics realism, and real-time, film-quality effects.
Teraflops, plural. Later it says that the card has 128 stream processors and that:
Each stream processor on a GeForce 8800 GTX operates at 1.35 GHz and supports the dual issue of a scalar MAD and a scalar MUL operation, for a total of roughly 520 gigaflops of raw shader horsepower.
Hmm, so if each stream processor gets 520 GFlops and there are 128 stream processors that works out to 66.6TFlops, right? Well, that's what it looked like to me. But if you look closely, 1.35 GHz times 3 flops per cycle = 4.05 GFlops per processor, not 520. The 520 number was for the whole card (128 * 4.05 = 518.4).


Since ZDNet's blogging system doesn't let me preview my articles, I do my final editing pass after clicking 'Publish' so I can see the article in context. It was during this pass that I saw the numbers didn't add up and I went back to double-check the figures. I corrected the article, but by then the damage was done. People were starting to comment on it, and it had been dugg. One poster said that a card that delivered 66.6 TFlops "gives new meaning to 'fast as Hell'". Heh.

To make matters worse, when I got the ZDNet email alert several hours later it also had the wrong title. It's really too bad because it would still have been noteworthy with the smaller number. I sent a note to digg's feedback address to see if they could fix it there, but got no response.

Mea culpa. Sometimes, the internet is a little *too* fast.

All I can say is, "The devil made me do it".


At Thursday, March 01, 2007 8:07:00 PM, Blogger Doug Schaefer said...

Dude, you should have checked my blog first ;)


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