And the masked marvel is ... Prof (?!)

by Uche Ogbuji

Related link: http://www.electoral-vote.com/info/votemaster-faq.html



Many compulsive nail-biters about this election, including me, have the Electoral Vote Predictor Web site on lock. It is an amazing example of cramming a titanic amount of information in to a clean, clear and easily digestible package.



Well, today, The Votemaster, the previously anonymous person who runs the site, revealed his identity. It is none other than Professor Andrew Tannenbaum. Yes, that Andrew Tannenbaum, creator of one of the most important little operating systems ever (MINIX, which was the inspiration for Linux), who engaged with Linus Torvalds in one of the more important debates regarding OS design. Some may know him better as the gentleman who played bemused host to a recent, intrepid anti-Linux hatchet man.



I did have a lot of trouble reaching the site today, and The Votemaster has posted about numerous malicious attacks on the site infrastructure (Stakes is high f'real). Just in case, I'd like to post an important excerpt from today's notes from the site.



In the event of another attack on the Website, please try www.electoral-vote3.com, www.electoral-vote4.com,
www.electoral-vote4.com, etc.
But stick with the main site if it works. After an update, half a dozen 60-MB files get shipped all over the
country and it takes a while to get there, so the main site is always more up to date.
I just upgraded each of the main servers to 2 GB each. They should be able to
handle 500-1000 requests/sec each now.


So when some grizzled prof like, say Tannenbaum, tells kids in that CS orientation course that they can use their soon-to-be computer expertise to better society and blah blah blah, the academ can always point to the Electoral Vote Predictor as a concrete example of such major bonum at work.




Were you as pleasantly surprised as I was?


2 Comments

adamsj
2004-11-01 08:56:48
One creepy note in Tannenbaum's FAQ
It's not so much what he says, as the matter-of-fact tone in which he says it:
Many people have told me that if [insert name of candidate] wins or there is a draft, they are going to leave the country. If you really mean it and are interested in getting a Masters degree in Computer Systems, you might consider a Masters program I am running. It focuses on operating systems, networks, distributed computing, parallel computing, grids, multiagent systems and other systems areas. Knowledgeable observers consider my group to be one of the top three systems groups in Europe....

Any other physics or history buffs feel a chill wind at reading that?
uche
2004-11-01 09:38:10
One creepy note in Tannenbaum's FAQ
I must say I have discussed with my wife that if my preferred candidate is not elected, I will feel it to be a deep enough ideological divorce from the reality of America that I would look to move to the UK. I'm a relatively newly-minted US citizen, and extremely worried about the ideals I ostensibly signed up to.


Of course I'm pretty confident my preferred candidate will win, so I don't expect it to come to that; but yes, my own personal reactions, and the fact that I share them with so many has an ominous feel. There is clearly a terrific abount of tension in this country, and I do wonder whether it won't be relevied with some sort of a bang.


I don't know what we can do about it, but I'm grateful for sources that at least attempt to provide objective data on politics, such as the Electoral Vote Predictor and factcheck.org. I believe information is the only tool for defusing the situation over time.