Microsoft Gets an F from Professor Google for Scale Paper

August 16, 2009

I wrote a short post here about Microsoft’s suggestion that Google has gone off track with its engineering for petascale computing. Since I have two or three readers, no one really paid much attention to my observations. I was surprised to learn from Tom Krazit in his article “Google’s Varian” Search Scale Is Bogus” that Google disagrees with Microsoft. Dr. Varian is a Google wizard, and he teaches at Berkeley. His comments, as I understand them from Mr. Krazit’s article, amount to Microsoft’s getting an F. Yikes. Academic probation and probably a meeting with the dean.

For me the most interesting comment in the article was a comment by Dr. Varian:

So in all of this stuff, the scale arguments are pretty bogus in our view because it’s not the quantity or quality of the ingredients that make a difference, it’s the recipes. We think we’re where we are today because we’ve got better recipes and we have better recipes because we spent 10 years working on search improving the performance of the algorithm. Maybe I’m pushing this metaphor farther than it should go, but I also think we have a better kitchen. We’ve put a lot of effort into building a really powerful infrastructure at Google, the development environment at Google is very good.

Microsoft now has to repeat a class and prove that it can generate revenue from its Web search business. Oh, Microsoft also has to repay prior investment plus interest to make the numbers satisfy this addled goose’s penchant for counting pennies.

Stephen Arnold, August 15, 2009


2 Responses to “Microsoft Gets an F from Professor Google for Scale Paper”

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