[OT?] Best Practices for Scientific Computing
Eray Ozkural (exa)
erayo at cs.bilkent.edu.tr
Tue Aug 14 14:59:59 PDT 2001
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On Tuesday 14 August 2001 11:10 pm, Jakob Østergaard wrote:
> Ok, I suppose you don't know about the first worm that took down a
> considerable portion of the Internet - the Morris worm.
:) Yes, I know that story. My point was that today POSIX implementations seem
to have more robust network software. I think you could make that point, and
one could also say that it's in the tradition of UNIX and Internet to achieve
robust systems by following good software practice. (ie open standards/code).
For the specific discussion one might point out better performance and
reliability which are also important for scientific work.
I cannot emphasize the importance of the tradition of "openness" enough: in
research especially you should be able to have a tight grip on the code that
you are running. Having alternatives is a good thing, too.
I believe I mentioned the advantage coming from the availability of tools on
UNIX. This is an important point I guess. For software development, UNIX is a
lot more friendly environment.
On my debian box, I find pretty much everything that I need to write complex
software. That's a very important point and this means that research division
will save both time and money.
You can make the point that windows software is generally _not_ geared
towards high-end research/programming work. And one could say that there is a
great tradition of research/programming on UNIX side. That is beyond the
differences in the OS. It's a matter of tradition; one readily uses a lot of
concrete experience the moment he gets a shell prompt and starts writing a
Furthermore, the new GUI environments in UNIX are definitely superb. I had
never thought that a good desktop could improve my performance, however I
must admit that the new version of KDE is a very solid UI, and it does aid
the developer in many ways.
When you're on windows, you are almost completely helpless when you want to
do something slightly complex: you'll have to rewrite the whole world or
spill money in obscure companies to get the most basic jobs done, you'll
suffer from the lack of even most basic documentation, etc.
I'm not arguing for the quality of particular codes, but it seems that we all
benefit from the underlying philosophy: to get things to work well. :)
Eray Ozkural (exa) <erayo at cs.bilkent.edu.tr>
Comp. Sci. Dept., Bilkent University, Ankara
GPG public key fingerprint: 360C 852F 88B0 A745 F31B EA0F 7C07 AE16 874D 539C
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