Sunday, January 21, 2007

Too Many People Have Way Too Much Money

Icelandic business is thriving, and Icelandic businessmen are buying companies, football teams, supermarket chains etc. all over the place. There is a new breed of very wealthy people out here, who are not particularly bothered by the fact that, e.g., food is 65% more expensive than the European average here.

I just heard that the director of Samskip, one of the local new rich man, has just turned 50. For his birthday, he had Elton John sing for his guests. Cost: over 100 million ISK (about 1,110,789 euros)! This is one sixth of the annual budget of the Icelandic research council. I estimate that, with that money, I could hire at least 11 visiting professors for a year, changing the face of my department.

Life is not fair.


Anonymous said...

Here's a question from a a rather clueless outsider:

What's the state of the art for specifying and verifying non-deadlock for protocols with "arbitrary but finite" (or even large but finite, say in the tens) numbers of players. Say they are doing something like cache coherency.

I know that in industrial practice they assume that there are 3 or 4 players and run the thing through spin. That seems horrible to me for a host of reasons I'm sure that you share... so what's the cool way to do it?

Hopefully that takes the sting off from not being invited to that party with Elton John....

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Anonymous said...

anonymous: Back in 1995 Roscoe et al. published "Hierarchical compression for model-checking CSP, or How to check 10^20 dining philosophers for deadlock" (available as a pdf at Hardly "state of the art", since it's over 10 years old. But even then, they were dealing with far more than tens of players. More recently, one of Roscoe's students, Sadie Creese, developed a technique known as "Data Independent Induction" (, which permits verification of arbitrarily large networks.