2007-08-20

FIFO flow control

Having my spirit fly around the 2-week ILPHO summer camp in Technion and working for VM at the same time is not an easy task. On that day I was at N**** (a subcontractor) trying to help them debug the overrunning FIFO queues, which got overflooded with data of a DMA transfer.

At this time, AL calls me with horror, saying too many of the previous year's team guys have arrived, and he has a total of 10 people to manage and he doesn't know what to do. So I advised him to use the workforce to finally clean out the 601 room.

For those who don't know, the history of this room is, by itself, remarkable. We got it in 2004, to be one of the HQ offices of the physics olympiad. Yoav was the first to enter it. He noticed quite a strange phenomenon, which was later referred to as a "chemical attack". It seemed like the people have worked there, at some point went out for lunch and never returned again for 3 years. Open papers on the tables, bottles of water, food, working fridges with milk, all with expiry days of 2001. Notes on the walls with urgent stuff to do that dates back in 2001. A 2cm layer of dust on the floor. Right during a workday, people left, the site was locked for 3 years and now it was reopened again by Yoav.

We made the office useful by creating huge piles of garbage in the corners, piles of really enormous size. Then over the years we threw 1/2 of what's left, and what was supposed to be 1/8th looked just like the original. Today, under AL's command, still 4 more years later, the piles were supposed to face an end.

Then I got back to exploding FIFOs debugging and flow control. Several hours later I was talking to Igor over the phone. I asked him about cleaning of the 601, so he said that a great job was done. They threw out half of the garbage, but then the effort was stopped, he said. "It had to stop, because all garbage cans in the neighborhood were full". I had to explain what caused me roll on the floor when I heard this.

P.S. It was figured out what kind of disaster happened to the previous inhabitants of the office 601. During Rabin's rule, there was an edu budget increase disaster, during which some random money flowed in even more random directions. This created a huge series of useless projects. During the 2001 downfall they were searched for and destroyed. The guys working on this project named [censored] were called up for a meeting and told "you are all fired". So they didn't care to return to the office to switch off the lights, and so it stayed for 3 years.

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