Google Compute Engine 推出 Custom Machine Type

Google Compute Engine 推出了可以自己設定 CPU 與 RAM 的機器種類:「Custom Machine Types - Compute Engine — Google Cloud Platform」。

可以從 1 個 vCPU 到 32 個 vCPU,而記憶體最多是 6.5GB * vCPU 數,所以理論上最高是 208GB?

Create a machine type with as little as 1 vCPU and up to 32 vCPUs, or any even number of vCPUs in between. Memory can be configured up to 6.5 GB of RAM per vCPU.

計價方式就是 vCPU 算一份,記憶體算一份。記得以前有比較小的 Cloud Service 有提供過類似的計價方式,後來都收掉了...

最近電腦圍棋的兩個突破...

昨天先看到 Mark Zuckerberg 丟出來的資訊,比較完整的資料可以在「Better Computer Go Player with Neural Network and Long-term Prediction」這邊看到。

Facebook 這邊的成就在於用 DCNN-based model 改善效率,可以用一台電腦 (包括 GPU) 維持在 KGS 5d (業餘五段),跟 Zen19 差不多的棋力,跟目前最好的電腦圍棋軟體棋力差不多:

darkfmcts3now holds a stable KGS 5d level, on par with the top Go AIs, has beaten Zen19 onceand hold 1win/1lose against a Korean 6p professional player with 4 handicaps.

The distributed version, named darkfmcts3in KGS Go Server, use darkfores2 as the underlying DCNN model, runs 75,000 rollouts on 2048 threads and produces a move every 13 seconds with one Intel Xeon E5-2680 v2 at 2.80GHz and 44 NVidia K40m GPUs.

In this paper, we have substantially improved the performance of DCNN-based Go AI, extensively evaluated it against both open source engines and strong amateur human players, and shown its potentials if combined with Monte-Carlo Tree Search (MCTS).

而隔壁棚的 Google 也丟出對應的研究成果「AlphaGo: Mastering the ancient game of Go with Machine Learning」,直接往 Nature 上丟:「Mastering the game of Go with deep neural networks and tree search」。

Google 不是跑在單機上,而是跑在 Google Cloud Platform 上,分散式的版本大約是職業五段的水準:

Of course, all of this requires a huge amount of compute power, so we made extensive use of Google Cloud Platform, which enables researchers working on AI and Machine Learning to access elastic compute, storage and networking capacity on demand.

實際對樊麾 (職業二段) 的成績也是五比零的大獲全勝:

So we invited the reigning 3-time European Go champion Fan Hui — an elite professional player who has devoted his life to Go since the age of 12 — to our London office for a challenge match. The match was played behind closed doors between October 5-9 last year. AlphaGo won by 5 games to 0 -- the first time a computer program has ever beaten a professional Go player.

而今年預定要去打大魔王,目前韓國圍棋第一人李世乭

AlphaGo’s next challenge will be to play the top Go player in the world over the last decade, Lee Sedol. The match will take place this March in Seoul, South Korea. Lee Sedol is excited to take on the challenge saying, "I am privileged to be the one to play, but I am confident that I can win." It should prove to be a fascinating contest!

到時候中國那邊的圍棋節目應該會有網路直播可以看吧,再來盯...

Google Cloud Platform 也推出了類似 Spot Instance 的產品

Google Cloud Platform 推出了類似於 Amazon EC2 的 Spot Instance 的產品,叫做 Preemptible VM:「Introducing Preemptible VMs, a new class of compute available at 70% off standard pricing」。

不同的是,沒有引入競價系統,而是固定的 discount。另外有一些限制,像是最多持續 24 小時:

The tradeoff is that Preemptible VMs are limited to a 24 hour runtime, and will sometimes be preempted (shut down) earlier than that.

而停機通知時間比 Spot Instance 短,只有 30 秒 (相較於 Spot Instance 有兩分鐘):

When Preemptible VMs are terminated, they'll receive a 30 second notice allowing you to shutdown cleanly (including saving work, if applicable).

CloudFlare 與 Google Cloud Platform 的合作

在「CloudFlare is now a Google Cloud Platform Technology Partner」這邊提到了 CloudFlareGoogle Cloud Platform 的合作,應該只有這段比較重要 (有實質意義):

Also, CloudFlare peers with Google in strategic locations globally, improving response times for Google Cloud Platform services.

也就是會多拉一些 peering 讓 CloudFlare 與 Google Cloud Platform 之間變順?不過更重要的部份,也就是 CloudFlare 對 client (到使用者這端) 之間的品質一直都不太好,大多數人都只是當作免費頻寬在用...

VLC 的跨平台支援...

二月底的老新聞了,VLC 首次全平台釋出 (包括了桌機與行動平台):「VLC Gets First Major Cross-Platform Release」,引用的新聞是:「VLC gets first major release across Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows RT, and Android TV」。

經典的播放軟體,雖然平常在 Linux 上還是用 SMPlayer 比較習慣...

維基基金會選用 Phabricator 當作工作的協作平台

維基基金會選擇了 Phabricator 當作協作平台:「Welcome to Phabricator, Wikimedia’s new collaboration platform」。

維基維基基金會已經使用 Bugzilla 管理很多事情,這次的導入也在文章裡說明了不少好處以及已知的問題。

看起來後面幾個月會把一些既有的工具轉移上去。

另外也因為是開放的系統,要研究 Phabricator 怎麼運作的人也可以上去看看?

CloudFlare 的速度...

CloudFlare 是一種 CDN 服務,相較於其他 CDN 會被歸類到 AkamaiDynamic Site AcceleratorLimelight NetworksDynamic Site Platform,或是 EdgeCastApplication Delivery Network

這類型的 CDN 加速服務,如果用在完全沒有考慮最佳化的網站上,效果應該會很明顯。但如果拿到 WordPress 或是其他 open source 軟體上,反而會因為軟體已經做了不少處理,上了 CloudFlare 反而因為多了一層而變慢。

不過會變慢多少呢?有人跳下去測試寫報告了:「Cloudflare Showdown」,如果懶得看中間的數據,可以看最後的結論「Conclusion」。

如果用在已經最佳化過的網站上,用 CloudFlare 會慢不少,如果是 WordPress 及其他 open source 軟體,最好的情況是快一點點,但最差的情況會慢個幾倍... 作者下的結論是「不要用」。

跟預期差不多,動態資料的加速基本上是個商業包裝而已,真正需要加速還是得自己把可以 cache 的部份切割出來。