tasking engine

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tasking engine

Post by dalehileman » Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:20 pm

Is this another name for algorithm
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Post by Alton » Thu Jul 07, 2005 1:57 am

Dale,
To my knowledge this is an example of that dreadful and habit lazy people have of making up words. It shows lazinessin that the person was not willing to learn the correct word, or ignorance of speaking corectly. The person who crafted this clumsy phrase has tried to turn a perfectly good noun, i.e. task, into a verb which it is not, "to task". In my humble opinion this is simply wrong and vile.I cannot answer your question Dale. We can only wonder why, if they meant algorithm,they didn't just use that word. Maybe it was too many letters for them.

Dale Thank you for giving me the opportunity to rant and excercise my high horse.
Alton
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tasking engine

Post by Phil White » Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:35 am

Dale,
The term has a very specific meaning in software engineering. It is the part of a piece of software that distributes the number crunching over several different processors or processing units efficiently in a multitasking environment. It's more commonly called a "multitasking engine" or "multi-tasking engine". I have to say that I prefer "tasking engine". It says more precisely what the module does.

Robert,
The verb "to task" meaning to assign a task to somebody has been around for a very long time. The first citation in Webster is from John Dryden (1631 - 1700). It seems to me to have experienced a renaissance in the past few years in the speech of politicians and management executives: "Committee tasked with clarifying judicial process" (just one of the 1 million plus Google hits for "tasked with").
Please be careful not to injure yourself when you dismount.
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Post by Ken Greenwald » Thu Jul 07, 2005 3:12 pm

Alton, A few words on terminology. As I have always used the expression in math, physics, and programming (mostly Fortran in my case), an ALGORITHM is a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps, as for example, the method of finding the greatest common divisors (called the Euclidean algorithm) or the primitive method of finding all prime numbers from 1 to N, known as the Sieve of Eratosthenes. Algorithms existed far before the invention of computers and computer programs, and an algorithm isn’t necessarily a program unless someone writes it up in a programming language to make it a COMPUTER ALGORITHM. A computer algorithm is a specified step by step procedure the result of which only depends on the input. And if it is an ‘effective’ computer algorithm it will terminate in a finite number of steps (algorithms that get caught in infinite loops, for example, are not ‘effective’) always giving the same result for the same input. A COMPUTER PROGRAM is often an algorithm that is specified in some programming language. But note that not all programs are algorithms – they may not eventually terminate with a specific result. So a ‘program’ isn’t necessarily an algorithm, unless it gets programmed (a computer algorithm) in some language, and it terminates in a finite number of steps giving the same result for the same input. And an algorithm isn’t necessarily a program unless it is written up in some language as a computer algorithm. Consider for a moment an ‘operating system.’ It is program that isn’t considered a computer algorithm – an operating system is not designed to terminate and spit out a specific answer in a finite number of steps – that’s not its function.

And now we may ask, what is an ‘engine’ or a ‘search engine?’ The OED defined SEARCH ENGINE as follows:
<“‘Computing,’ a piece of hardware or software designed for searching, especially a program that searches for and identifies items in a database that correspond to one or more keywords specified by the user; specifically such a program used to search for information available over the Internet, using its own previously compiled database of Internet files and documents.”>
So a ‘search engine’ is a search program, but it is also an algorithm since it will always terminate in a finite number of steps with the same result for a given input. Now that Phil has defined what a ‘tasking engine’ does the question arises, is it an algorithm? Well, I would say that like an operating system it is a program that is not an algorithm. Its function is not to terminate with a definite answer in a finite number of steps but instead it “distributes the number crunching over several different processors or processing units efficiently in a multitasking environment.”

So, in response to your: “We can only wonder why, if they meant algorithm [[for TASKING ENGINE]], they didn't just use that word. Maybe it was too many letters for them,” I would comment that the reason a ‘tasking engine’ is not called an algorithm is because in the world of computers it does not function as such.
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Ken G – July 7, 2005
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tasking engine

Post by dalehileman » Thu Jul 07, 2005 4:20 pm

Thanks guys most kindly
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Post by dalehileman » Thu Jul 07, 2005 4:42 pm

Having said that, I need your opinion. Would you judge the term in wide enough use that the average PC user would be familiar with it--thanks once more
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tasking engine

Post by Alton » Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:19 pm

Ouch !
Alton
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Post by Ken Greenwald » Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:31 pm

“Not I!” said the average PC user.

Ken – July 7, 2005
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Post by Phil White » Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:48 pm

I don't reckon that the term would be used in texts aimed at average PC users (average PCs only have one CPU anyway). It's a term used by geeks for geeks. On the other hand, it's not difficult to guess the meaning if you understand terms such as "task" or "multitasking" in the context of computer design.
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Post by Phil White » Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:05 pm

Ken,
Not an algorithm?
I have x number-crunching operations to carry out.
I have y processing units to do it.
I have n other programs competing for the resources.
I require t1 amount of time to break down the problem into chunks.
I require t2 amount of time to reassemble and route the results.

Is the expenditure of t1+t2 worth the benefit of distributing the task?

How do I break the problem down into y chunks?
....


But you are right, the engine is not the algorithm. The engine implements an algorithm or several algorithms which calculate the most efficient distribution strategy. It also (probably) has an executive part which actually performs the distribution, reassembly and routing of results.
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tasking engine

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:34 am

I infer from the above discussion that a faulty heart pacemaker may result in cardiac algorhythmia.
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tasking engine

Post by Bobinwales » Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:38 am

I infer from the above discussion that if I press this button / something interesting will happen.
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tasking engine

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:42 am

Excellent, Bob! It worked!!!!!
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