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Category: Nebula Wolf

XPRT collaborations: North Carolina State University

For those of us who work on the BenchmarkXPRT tools, a core goal is involving new contributors and interested parties in the benchmark development process. Adding voices to the discussion fosters the collaboration and innovation that lead to powerful benchmark tools with lasting relevance.

One vehicle for outreach that we especially enjoy is sponsoring a student project through North Carolina State University. Each semester, the Senior Design Center in the university’s Department of Computer Science partners with external companies and organizations to provide student teams with an opportunity to work on real-world programming projects. If you’ve followed the XPRTs for a while, you may remember previous student projects such as Nebula Wolf, a mini-game that shows how well different devices handle games, and VR Demo, a virtual reality prototype workload based on a room escape scenario.

This fall, a team of NC State students is developing a software console for automating machine learning tests. Ideally, the tool will let future testers specify custom workload combinations, compute a performance metric, and upload results to our database. The project will also assess the impact of the framework on performance scores. In fact, the console will perform many of the same functions we plan to implement with AIXPRT.

The students have worked very hard on the project, and have learned quite a bit about benchmarking practices and several new software tools. The project will wrap up in the next couple of weeks, and we’ll share additional details as soon as possible. Early next year, we’ll publish a video about the experience.

If you’d like to join the NC State students and hundreds of other XPRT community members in the future of benchmark development, please let us know!

Justin

Reflecting on 2016

The beginning of a new year is a good time to look back on the previous 12 months and take stock of everything that happened. Here’s a quick recap of a very busy year:

In 2016, the XPRTs travelled quite a bit. Eric went to CES in Las Vegas, Mark attended MWC in Barcelona, and Bill flew out to IDF16 in Shenzhen.

We also sent a team to Seattle for the first XPRT Women Code-A-Thon, an event we’re very proud to have sponsored and co-hosted along with ChickTech, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the number of women in tech-related fields. The Code-a-thon also served as inspiration for an eight-part video series entitled Women Coding for Change. The series explains the motivation behind the Code-a-thon and profiles several of the participants. If you haven’t watched the videos, check them out. They’re well worth the time.

Speaking of videos, we also published one about Nebula Wolf, the mini-game workload produced through our first collaboration with the North Carolina State Senior Design Center. That experience was promising enough for us to partner with another student team this past fall, which resulted in a virtual reality app that we hope to share with the community in the near future.

Of course, we also continued work on our suite of benchmark tools and related resources. We released TouchXPRT 2016 to the public, published the Exploring TouchXPRT 2016 white paper, and released the TouchXPRT 2016 source code to community members.

In 2016, we unveiled the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight, a new way for device vendors and manufacturers to share verified test results with buyers around the world. We put 46 devices in the spotlight throughout the year and published Back-to-School, Black Friday, and Holiday device showcases.

In the last quarter of 2016, we celebrated our most widely-used benchmark, WebXPRT, passing the 100,000-run milestone. WebXPRT is still going strong and is as useful and relevant as ever!

Finally, we ended the year with the exciting news that we’re moving forward with efforts to develop a machine-learning performance evaluation tool. We look forward to engaging with the community in the coming year as we tackle this challenge!

As always, we’re grateful for everyone who’s helped to make the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community a strong, vibrant, and relevant resource for people all around the world. Here’s to a great 2017!

Justin

Watching students become masters

As you know, last year, PT sponsored a senior project at the Senior Design Center of North Carolina State University (NCSU). The students created Nebula Wolf, a mini game that might evolve into a future benchmark test. It was a valuable collaboration for us and a very educational experience for the students involved.

I’ve talked before about the emerging technologies we’re considering for new benchmarks. Today, I met with the folks at the NCSU Senior Design Center to discuss a possible future project. We’re hoping to harness the immense energy of these students by having them explore one of these new technologies, and then build on what they discover. Nothing is set yet, but we will, as always, keep you informed as things develop.

We’ll be sharing some exciting news about the XPRT Women Code-a-Thon tomorrow. Check back to find out more!  Meanwhile, we hope you enjoy as much as we did the University of Washington Tacoma article on student Viveret, the first place winner of the XPRT Women Code-a-Thon.

Eric

Quarterly review

It’s been one of our busiest quarters ever! Here’s a quick review of what’s been happening:

The XPRTs were on the road a lot!

 
While I was at CES, I was lucky enough to be able to sit down and talk on-the-record with a couple of community members:

 
Many thanks to them for being so generous with their time and their insights.

We also gave folks a lot to look at:

 
That is a great start to the year, but we’re going to top it – Next week, we’ll kick off Q2 with one of our biggest announcements ever!

Eric

There’s a lot going on!

We recently released TouchXPRT 2016 CP3 to the community. Testing has been going well, so we are releasing TouchXPRT 2016 to the general public on Monday. Thanks to everyone who tried out the previews!

Back in December, we told you about Nebula Wolf, a game-based workload developed by students at North Carolina State University. Now we have a new video that talks about the project and why efforts such as this one matter for the XPRTs. It’s a gorgeous video. I think it’s one of our best!

We’ve also created a page that talks about the Nebula Wolf project. And, of course, the page has links for the community members to see the game in action and check out the source code. If you’re not a member, it’s easy to join!

Our next community outreach effort will be the XPRT Women Code-a-Thon March 12-13 in Seattle. It’s a great chance to contribute to the XPRTs, hang with other coders, and maybe even win some prize money!

Later this month, Mark will be at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. If you’d like to chat with him, just let us know.

Finally, the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight shines on the Google Pixel C this week.

That’s a lot, and there’s more to come!

Eric

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