Larry Smarr Comes to Friday Harbor

One of the great things about summer in this location is the occasional visit by some of the great figures in computing and communications.  Among my favorite folk in this world is Larry Smarr, current director (and founder) of the CalIT2 lab, and longtime leader in supercomputing, supervisualization, and all things similar.

Every year for the last few years, we have had the distinct pleasure at FiRe of being given a private view of the results of Larry’s team’s hard work for the year.  These visits are invariably popular with the participants, and include such wide-ranging demonstrations as virtual tours of Mars, new robots run on mesh nets, finding new daVinci artwork under prior paintings, hosting the MS Worldtelescope rollout, looking at protein folding and brain wiring in detail, watching the oceanic floor and its creatures by remote vehicle in real time.

The chance to talk with Larry for a couple of days was as much fun as I thought it would be, and our time together included not only some great discussions on general relativity, black holes, Chinese history, global liquidity, US economics, broadband promised vs. delivered, and genetics; but also provided us a chance to enjoy the annual Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center program at Roche Harbor, a fine road trip in the “M” down the Sound, and a delightful visit with Sidney and Yulin Rittenberg – followed by a delicious dinner at University of Washington computer maven Ed Lazowska’s house.

At one point, having talked about the dark ages, I turned to Larry as we drove and asked him if he thought we had ever retaken or exceeded the peak civilization the Greeks had attained.

Maybe visits like this would help one answer in the affirmative.