+ Post New Thread
Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 16 to 30 of 53
MIS Systems Thread, Sims Discover in Technical; Originally Posted by pcstru .. all this power is being used to display ... a ... a ... a ... ...
  1. #16
    superfletch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    South
    Posts
    437
    Thank Post
    153
    Thanked 77 Times in 61 Posts
    Rep Power
    31
    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    .. all this power is being used to display ... a ... a ... a ... pie chart. How fantastic is that!
    I liked this post, hence the thanks but to be fair it isn't being used just to display the pie chart, it's being used to calculate it and then display it.

  2. #17

    LosOjos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    West Midlands
    Posts
    5,498
    Thank Post
    1,456
    Thanked 1,201 Times in 814 Posts
    Rep Power
    712
    Quote Originally Posted by superfletch View Post
    I liked this post, hence the thanks but to be fair it isn't being used just to display the pie chart, it's being used to calculate it and then display it.
    Excel runs on my 300mhz pentium 2 laptop and can do that... the power required to run Discover is absolutely ridiculous, but then it should be no shock as SIMS is a memory hungry SOB too...

    Aside from that, I do think Discover has lots of potential, but right now it feels like a beta product, I'm frankly amazed some of the flaws made it through to a public release, most notably for me the fact that all filters are added with the "and" operator, with no option to change to "or"; want to show male and female breakdown on a graph? No chance unless they are male AND female students...

    EDIT: and just to pre-empt the "well it is free" comment I'm expecting, I appreciate the fact that Capita have provided us with a new free tool for SIMS, but most end users will just see a poorly functioning bit of software and add it to the "SIMS sucks" list of excuses not to use it

  3. #18


    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,136
    Thank Post
    276
    Thanked 849 Times in 637 Posts
    Rep Power
    334
    Quote Originally Posted by superfletch View Post
    I liked this post, hence the thanks but to be fair it isn't being used just to display the pie chart, it's being used to calculate it and then display it.
    Very true!

    Quite, nay ... totally unfair!!

    I imagine actually calculating the data for the pie chart really eats into a modest modern processors performance of around 10,000,000,000 instructions per second. All those ... err ... um ... well probably attendance records or something. They could soon build up into tens, or even hundreds of thousands or records. Being able to process a few hundred thousand numbers is going to tie that processor up for ... ooooh (fx attempts to calculate 10^5/10^10) ... ages. And after that, actually displaying it ... well, phew. I think I need a little lie down!

  4. #19

    localzuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Minehead
    Posts
    17,877
    Thank Post
    518
    Thanked 2,486 Times in 1,928 Posts
    Blog Entries
    24
    Rep Power
    838
    Note a key thing here - SIMS.Net is written using the .NET framework, and I'm assuming Discover is too. Your games were written using native languages such as c++. The prior takes a massive amount less effort to develop tools like this, the latter would require a much larger development team to develop the same thing - increasing costs, and therefore, I assume, increasing the price for schools.

    .NET is very memory intensive, regardless of the software you use. A small application I have here opens a web page on launch, and runs a report in a reportviewer control, and displays a few other buttons/dropdowns etc... And it uses 33Mb of RAM. The same thing, if I wrote it in c++ could come in at 1Mb at most. I chose the .NET route because I can adjust my software so easily and quickly, and leverage advanced controls and features in minutes rather than days.

    Its always a trade-off between requirements and development time.

  5. #20

    LosOjos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    West Midlands
    Posts
    5,498
    Thank Post
    1,456
    Thanked 1,201 Times in 814 Posts
    Rep Power
    712
    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Note a key thing here - SIMS.Net is written using the .NET framework, and I'm assuming Discover is too. Your games were written using native languages such as c++. The prior takes a massive amount less effort to develop tools like this, the latter would require a much larger development team to develop the same thing - increasing costs, and therefore, I assume, increasing the price for schools.

    .NET is very memory intensive, regardless of the software you use. A small application I have here opens a web page on launch, and runs a report in a reportviewer control, and displays a few other buttons/dropdowns etc... And it uses 33Mb of RAM. The same thing, if I wrote it in c++ could come in at 1Mb at most. I chose the .NET route because I can adjust my software so easily and quickly, and leverage advanced controls and features in minutes rather than days.

    Its always a trade-off between requirements and development time.
    Very good point and one that lots would fail to appreciate, however I don't think it's unfair to expect a company the size of Capita with contracts from various ventures bringing in billions every year to develop their own system and indeed to have the man-power to do so...

    Of course I'm only speculating as it's not going to change any time soon!

    EDIT: by own system what I really meant was not to rely on the bloated framework that is .NET - I personally don't think any professional and critical piece of software should be based on .NET though, not when it eats up as much memory as it does, not too mention how easy .NET is to de-compile...
    Last edited by LosOjos; 23rd June 2011 at 03:38 PM.

  6. #21
    superfletch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    South
    Posts
    437
    Thank Post
    153
    Thanked 77 Times in 61 Posts
    Rep Power
    31
    @pcstru & @LosOjos

    Both fair comments, I didn't mean to say what it was doing calculating the Pie charts was a massively intensive task, I simply meant to say that it wasn't just displaying the things.

    @localzuk - Kudos for top knowledge, I went to add rep but it wouldn't allow it, must have repped you at some point recently for something else

  7. #22

    localzuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Minehead
    Posts
    17,877
    Thank Post
    518
    Thanked 2,486 Times in 1,928 Posts
    Blog Entries
    24
    Rep Power
    838
    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    Very good point and one that lots would fail to appreciate, however I don't think it's unfair to expect a company the size of Capita with contracts from various ventures bringing in billions every year to develop their own system and indeed to have the man-power to do so...

    Of course I'm only speculating as it's not going to change any time soon!
    The thing is, if I were running the Capita ES division, I'd be making the same decisions about using .NET. Not using .NET would be a really bad business decision now, as the resulting code and programs are easier to maintain, and easier to port to new (microsoft) technologies in the future - such as making web based applications, or Win Mobile 7 applications etc...

    Not developing business systems in managed code now would be silly.

  8. #23

    LosOjos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    West Midlands
    Posts
    5,498
    Thank Post
    1,456
    Thanked 1,201 Times in 814 Posts
    Rep Power
    712
    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    The thing is, if I were running the Capita ES division, I'd be making the same decisions about using .NET. Not using .NET would be a really bad business decision now, as the resulting code and programs are easier to maintain, and easier to port to new (microsoft) technologies in the future - such as making web based applications, or Win Mobile 7 applications etc...

    Not developing business systems in managed code now would be silly.
    I can see the logic from that point of view, and as I said this is all speculation as it's not going to change now, but if I were to be tasked with making an MIS, it wouldn't be on a platform specific framework like .NET, I'd be looking at either having it entirely server based with a web client or built on Java for the sake of portability.

    The problem with using .NET is that it is very memory hungry, it is very inefficient (from a code POV, not a time POV) and it is dependent on a Windows environment... OK they aren't major problems right now, but the path for a competitor to take the market is being left wide open... but maybe that's a topic for the blue skies forum...

  9. #24


    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,136
    Thank Post
    276
    Thanked 849 Times in 637 Posts
    Rep Power
    334
    @localzuk, while there is a performance difference between .NET and C++, we are talking about environments where data from a typical schools database could fit into the memory of an average PC several times over (assuming a modicum of storage efficiency) and where modest processors can perform 10,000,000,000 instructions every second (a core i7 extreme can do nearly 160 billion IPS). The difference between .net and c++ can't really account for the poor performance. And yes, I too would probably choose to code SIMS in .NET not C++, for exactly the reasons you state. But if a developer told me that I then needed a Core i3 with a multicore GPU to draw a pie chart and that was down to coding in .NET, well ... I'd ask them to go away and have a wee think about that.

    My bet would be that the performance is constrained by the database, probably a result of poorly designed schema but probably mostly poorly optimised SQL and poorly thought out transactions between the client and the database. Requiring a multi GPU graphics card that is capable, like the main processor of dealing with billions of (geometric) operations per second, to draw .... a pie chart (!) is nonsense. It is a strategy of throwing hardware at a problem when you are unable (for whatever reason) to address the actual, underlying problem.

  10. #25

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,332
    Thank Post
    36
    Thanked 353 Times in 238 Posts
    Rep Power
    79
    I suppose being on EduGeek you're interested in the technology. I'm interested in what something can do and I've seen enough revelations in schools to know that this is a very powerful tool.

    The development team's brief was not to make it run on a hairdryer; it was to produce a very powerful tool that was really easy to use. You do need to understand assessment result sets to get valuable information out however or you will be reduced to finding out how many Italians eat sandwiches!

    As it happens in will run on fairly ordinary kit but integrated graphics are of variable quality.

  11. Thanks to PhilNeal from:

    superfletch (24th June 2011)

  12. #26
    AyatollahPies's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    900
    Thank Post
    48
    Thanked 105 Times in 95 Posts
    Rep Power
    42
    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    I suppose being on EduGeek you're interested in the technology. I'm interested in what something can do and I've seen enough revelations in schools to know that this is a very powerful tool.

    The development team's brief was not to make it run on a hairdryer; it was to produce a very powerful tool that was really easy to use. You do need to understand assessment result sets to get valuable information out however or you will be reduced to finding out how many Italians eat sandwiches!

    As it happens in will run on fairly ordinary kit but integrated graphics are of variable quality.
    Ah, but did you have everyone's favourite resource hogging Anti-Virus running in the background?


  13. #27

    LosOjos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    West Midlands
    Posts
    5,498
    Thank Post
    1,456
    Thanked 1,201 Times in 814 Posts
    Rep Power
    712
    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    I suppose being on EduGeek you're interested in the technology. I'm interested in what something can do and I've seen enough revelations in schools to know that this is a very powerful tool.

    The development team's brief was not to make it run on a hairdryer; it was to produce a very powerful tool that was really easy to use. You do need to understand assessment result sets to get valuable information out however or you will be reduced to finding out how many Italians eat sandwiches!

    As it happens in will run on fairly ordinary kit but integrated graphics are of variable quality.
    And a great tool I'm sure it will eventually be Phil once some of the teething problems are sorted, the problem with the performance issue really comes down to how many schools will be able to afford to make the necessary upgrades to run it though, that's where I believe it starts to become an issue for yourself, as if other MIS providers start offering similar tools (which they probably will now you are!) that don't require schools to fork out thousands for new hardware, that could potentially sway the competition...

    [all of course my own opinion!]

  14. #28

    synaesthesia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Northamptonshire
    Posts
    6,066
    Thank Post
    592
    Thanked 1,039 Times in 797 Posts
    Blog Entries
    15
    Rep Power
    469
    I don't think its abilities are being questioned - the input from our SIMS admins has been excellent so far and they've been chomping at the bit to get it. I think in a very vague nutshell, the question is this.

    The same results could be achieved without anywhere near the amount of resources used. It is programmatically (woo is that even a word?) separate from SIMS so there's no need to rely on similar technology (after all, who'd enjoy an addon to FMS that's written in the same language? ) So, as pretty as it looks, why this rather than alternatives? Why not c++ if you want to compare to games directly, referring to an earlier post. Really pushing it a bit, but why not something along the lines of an Excel driven macro-fest? (ala Target Tracker).
    Why not even Flas.... oh yeah, iGroans

  15. Thanks to synaesthesia from:

    PhilNeal (23rd June 2011)

  16. #29

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,332
    Thank Post
    36
    Thanked 353 Times in 238 Posts
    Rep Power
    79
    That's a great reply - thanks synaesthesia!

    .net is pretty fast - we do have some "technical legacy" to deal with which will speed up things again in the autumn release but it isn't bad today and certainly a lot faster than it was when it was on beta.

  17. Thanks to PhilNeal from:

    synaesthesia (23rd June 2011)

  18. #30


    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,136
    Thank Post
    276
    Thanked 849 Times in 637 Posts
    Rep Power
    334
    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    I suppose being on EduGeek you're interested in the technology. I'm interested in what something can do and I've seen enough revelations in schools to know that this is a very powerful tool.

    The development team's brief was not to make it run on a hairdryer; it was to produce a very powerful tool that was really easy to use. You do need to understand assessment result sets to get valuable information out however or you will be reduced to finding out how many Italians eat sandwiches!
    I'm interested in many things. The aim to provide a piece of software that is easy to drive and allows people in schools to easily analyse performance data, is a laudable aim. I think the decision to do that and the subsequent effort to realise it, should be applauded. From what little I have seen, it does look 'powerful' (flexible) and reasonably 'intuitive' (as these things go).

    Having some experience of software development (20+ years), from lone coder to managing reasonably sized multi project development programmes, I'm not aware of ease of use ever having being a bar to system efficiency. More the reverse seems true, good design is sometimes negated by sloppy implementation making the user experience 'clunky' or leading to failure because the user experience is : "it's so advanced it doesn't even work yet!". On the other hand, first releases of products are often compromises and performance problems can be addressed in future versions; providing of course people recognise there is a problem and are able to correctly identify what the actual problem is - rather than (say) just expecting customers to throw more hardware at it.

    As it happens in will run on fairly ordinary kit but integrated graphics are of variable quality.
    Variable quality - enough to struggle to draw a pie chart?!

SHARE:
+ Post New Thread
Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. [SIMS] Discover
    By matt40k in forum MIS Systems
    Replies: 55
    Last Post: 6th May 2011, 08:57 AM
  2. [SIMS] Discover delayed already :(
    By vikpaw in forum MIS Systems
    Replies: 108
    Last Post: 19th March 2011, 12:11 PM
  3. Sims Discover or Medal of Honour?
    By Banjo in forum MIS Systems
    Replies: 37
    Last Post: 3rd November 2010, 06:20 AM
  4. [News] SCIENTISTS DISCOVER NEW ELEMENT
    By laserblazer in forum Jokes/Interweb Things
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 3rd March 2010, 09:30 PM
  5. WDS - Using Discover CDs
    By Lithium in forum Windows
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 12th December 2007, 07:35 PM

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •