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The incoming pictures and videos from the civil war in Srilanka is making a mockery of what human lives and values should be. We are in 21st century and belong to what is perceived as a modern society. Yet, millions of people are caught between two ethnic ideologies in a small country in the foot hills of India, the largest multicultural, democratic country in the planet. What an irony! Well, I am not suggesting that India is freed of problems, but looking at the magnitude of the ethnic problem to its total size bemuses me. The LTTE who have used various despicable methods of terrorism over more than a quarter century in the name of a seemingly improbable Tamil Ealem goal has made the life of poor people, nothing less than hell furnace. The Sri Lankan government on the other hand seems to be in no mood to stop the bloody battle before they see the end of the Veluppillai Prabhakaran.
War has never solved any problem,irrespective of the goal it ever aspired to achieve. What it leaves instead is the loss of millions of innocent lives and an unrepairable, long lasting trauma. Children who are caught between ethnic rivalry and stupid power struggle are denied of a life. It is easy to blame one another for this mass misfortune of innocents. The LTTE, now in the brink of being annihilated are wounded and are further exploiting poor peopleas human shields to counter attack the more powerful army force. It is a battle of loss. Sadly, the loss is imposed on to their own people for no genuine fault of theirs. What kind of doctrine is it? People are forced to flee from their dear land in desperation, hoping against hope. Clearly, their supposed leaders and power points have made life hell than the promised dream land.
What (and still is) needed was a political solution, not war. It is a shame that such a tiny country couldn’t arrive at a political situation. If that had happened, we could have avoided one of the most shameful refugee crisis in modern era. LTTE is a terrorist organization which caused havoc not only in SriLanka, but they also made a mess in India by killing a promising youth leader Rajiv Gandhi. In the name of achieving a mirage, they let the downtrodden Tamils in the northern Srilanka to suffer. It is easy to promulgate an ideology of creating a dreamland, but the price you pay is in the form of innocent lives. It would have been far better to become part of the existing political system to put forward their demands. It might sound so silly, but in a country as big as India, it worked. Millions of religions and sub castes with varied social classes lives without a civil crsis as big as the one faced in a tiny SriLanka. I hope Kashmir too learn from this hard lessons from SriLanka and get to a more peaceful dialogue path than weapon confrontation.
I may be a little naive to comment on this SriLankan struggle, since I am not really aware of the intricate issues between these ethnic groups. No matter what the extend of enmity exist, as an outsider I find it hard to chew these gross deaths and massive refugee crisis. Seeing the pictures of millions of refugees walking away from their little homes, children and old people included, make me sad. We cant do this in a modern society. What is worse is that, the actual ground realities may be much more heinous and gruesome than the few aired videos and pictures. Oh! God, if only we learned to live in harmony!
Now, when the war end, what next? Will those refugees get a life back? A generation is in danger. What is the UN doing? War! no more of that beasts please. We have had enough of trauma.
Here are two video documentary on this unfortunate ethnic trouble in the naturally beautiful island nation.
…and it is Oracle! Quite a surprise! Thats the least I felt, when the news broke out stating that Oracle is buying Sun Microsystems. The once great and proud maker of some of the best servers and computing power houses is now leading to the hands of a software giant, largely focused on database solutions. There is no natural connection to the obvious eye But who knows? Oracle may be eying something big! I cant see a justification of spending 7.4Billion $ to get hold of Java and MySQL alone. These are the big software solutions from Sun, apart from Solaris. Anyway both these are open source software too. Afterall Sun is known for its champion make of servers right? Is it that Oracle feared an imminent acquisition by some other competitor, which might have distracted their lead? For a good amount of time the speculation was on whether IBM would still buy Sun. Then it was the Cisco, and the HP taking rounds as potential buyers. None of these materialized, but Oracle, the one choice with maximum entropy!
Would it be that, Oracle saw something big with Solaris? Are they eying on a solid operating system market? In any case, a decision to buy a company for 7.4Billion cant be for fun. Surely there got to be a plan, at least in theory!As someone opined in some article recently about possible consolidation of SAP and a possible buy over by one of he bigger fishes like IBM or HP. Now, that would take some shape too. Nothing can be ruled out at the moment. This is the sort of indication floating around.
Today, during the evening chat, Emmanuel Abbe threw an interesting question: Whether the sum of square roots of consecutive binomial coefficients converge to some closed form! That is, . We tried a few known combinatorics tweak, but no meaningful solution arrived. We were also wondering whether this has some asymptotic limit, but that too did not yield anything. A quick check on Mathematica wasn’t helpful either. Now the question is: Does this sum yield some closed form expression.
While playing with this sum in Mathematica, I found that for the sum of squares of binomial coefficients, there is a nice simple closed form.
I was toying with a proof. It turns out that, the proof is extremely simple and is a one line tweak of the Vandermonde identity . Simply substitute and we have the results on table. The natural question then would be: Is there a generalization for for any . Ofcourse now for it is trivial.
Apparently, it turns out that, there is no closed form expression for a general (all) . There are some interesting divisibility properties of these sums. An interesting account of that is addressed by Neil Calkin (Factors of sums of powers of binomial coefficients).
At the moment, I get a feeling that sum of fractional powers of binomial coefficients is not trivial. May be there is no closed form. May be not!
It was almost unthinkable that a single company would rule the EDA world. At least this is what I strongly perceived, a few years ago. Now, put the present dishes on the table and I see that, Synopsys is giving nightmares to all other EDA shops. While working with Synopsys, we always saw Cadence as the rival company to get floored on. All of that, was in the wish list and not many of us thought we could do that, ever so easily. Cadence was the obvious leader of EDA for many years and Synopsys strongly stood at the second position. Then there were the Mentors and the Magmas, at a fair distance down. Magma was the emerging company with a strong future predicted by many pundits within and outside the EDA world. It was imminent that Magma one day would give a stronger competition to both the big brothers Synopsys and Cadence. They may still be a force to reckon, but sadly they tried to act over smart and it all triggered a downfall. I am not sure whether their, rather peculiar sue attempt on Synopsys was wholly responsible for their slide. Definitely that may have had a role.
Now it appears that, the discounts offered by the EDA big fellows are giving more aches to smaller players. It is well known that the EDA tools are phenomenally expensive and the marketing always revolved around giving deals for bulk purchase of tools. What is more colourful is that the buyers offer to make the deal public in exchange of more discounts. The concept of primary EDA vendor was not that prevalent a few years ago. However, the trend these days is to grab that extra mileage by roping with leading semiconductor houses. It is a big win for both the buyer and seller. Synopsys for sure is going to enjoy this. First they are among the very few making profit even in these difficult economy. They are perhaps the only one from EDA. Considering that the EDA market itself is only about 4 or 5Billion dollar market, the impact of a near 1.5billion dollar Synopsys doing too well is going to give more headache to other little fellows, in the coming days.
Cadence is literally having a plate of their own problems and now with the whole semiconductor market trying to minimize their R&D spending, it is double advantage for Synopsys; That too with newer friends adding to their primary EDA friends list. Magma is becoming more or less a prospective buying target than a rival. A few years ago, Synopsys had worries about a growing Magma. Now I wouldnt rule out a potential buy over by Synopsys itself, may be Cadence or Mentor Graphics!
Some people say that Synopsys is going to be the next Microsoft in EDA. Aart perhaps rightly said they want to be the Apple of EDA. I would prefer Aarts view here. Not just because Synopsys was my breadwinner for a while and not because I attended the same grad school as De geus, nor because of the well known fact that yours truly is an ardent fan of Aart de Geus. But because Synopsys is well managed by a great management team with great work ethics. When the ratable (subscription) revenue/ licensing model was announced there were lot of eyebrows, but it was a long term vision and Synopsys is really reaping the fruits now.
Having said all these, like many of you, I am too worried by this single monopoly trend in EDA. We need smaller players in every market and we need more innovation. From Synopsys standpoint having less competition would yield relaxed days ahead, but for the market we need better products and superior innovation. We need Cadence to revive and at the same time companies to emerge to take position for the next Magma. At this stage, I am worried about Magma. Is Magma to follow the Avant! route to get merged with Synopsys?
Aart has aptly mentioned that “I understand that the entire world is under economic pressure,” he said. “When that happens, some will do better than others”. One thing for sure. Among all the EDA executives, Synopsys folks must be getting better sleep these days.