Thursday, July 26, 2007

Of Dryads and Beowulf

"That thou, light-wingèd Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,

Singest of summer in full-throated ease."
-John Keats (1795-1821)
Ode to a Nightengale

In Greek mythology, a dryad is a female tree spirit, more specifically, the nymph of an oak tree.

"Beowulf" is an Old English epic poem, in which the title character heroically battles three monsters, Grendel, Grendel's mother, and a dragon.

At least, that's what I was taught in college.

Now I find that these words have acquired new meanings in the digital age:
Dryad "is an infrastructure which allows a programmer to use the resources of a computer cluster or a data center for running data-parallel programs. A Dryad programmer can use thousands of machines, each of them with multiple processors or cores, without knowing anything about concurrent programming"
while Beowulf is "a design for high-performance parallel computing clusters on inexpensive personal computer hardware."

Will I ever use this knowledge; do I even need to be aware of these terms? Probably not. But it does remind me that language, society, technology, the world is constantly evolving.

"Change is the only constant. Hanging on is the only sin."
-
Denise McCluggage (b. 1927), U.S. race car driver

1 comment:

dev said...

dryads are of special importanc ein this ode. Dyrads are wood nymphs. We cannot able to get a glimpse of them even we are not sure whether they have any corporal existance but despite of this fact we enjoy to believe their presence, their fairy story.
keats has mentioned this special fairy species to make us aware of the fact that the nightingale's song has also created a magic spell around him that comples him into believing unreal things as real. Further he can only hear the song of the nightingale but cannot be able to get a glimpse of the bird like the afforementioned faries because it is covered by the foliages of the tree.
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