[Beowulf] value of parallel programming experience (was: Checkpointing using flash)

Igor Kozin i.n.kozin at googlemail.com
Tue Sep 25 08:16:12 PDT 2012


It is not so much about parallel programming experience but about
scientific software development career path. Quite often parallel
skills are needed anyway. A former colleague and a good friend of mine
explains it quite nicely here:

http://software.ac.uk/blog/2012-04-23-work-scientific-software-engineers-recognised-academia

Yes, we had a number of long debates about the topic. There is a
feeling that scientific software is much better funded in the US than
elsewhere and respectively software developers are a more valuable
asset there (hence the brain drain). But then again they spend a lot
more on the hardware too. The software spend is still insufficient if
you listen to Jack Dongarra and others.


On 24 September 2012 22:41, Bogdan Costescu <bcostescu at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 6:57 PM, Andrew Holway <andrew.holway at gmail.com> wrote:
>> In Germany, at present, there is I believe a
>> fairly significant net surplus if compute resource as our scientists
>> try to wrap their heads around parallel programming to take advantage
>> of this exponentially increasing resource.
>
> I beg to disagree on both parts of the phrase.
>
> First, Germany has indeed a significant amount of HPC resources, but I
> wouldn't call them "net surplus". If you know of HPC resources which
> are lightly loaded, please let me know and I'll pass the info to the
> people with a chronic lack of compute time :)
>
> Secondly, there are quite a number of scientists in Germany who
> already know parallel programming well. But I've listened to several
> talks and following discussions on what needs to be done to take
> advantage of their skills. Everybody agrees that something needs to be
> done, to make these skills more valuable, but in the end not much is
> felt by those scientists. Somehow adding "parallel programming
> experience" to a CV doesn't seem to increase chances of getting hired
> or a higher income. Other criteria seem much more important... but
> these other criteria are often not correlated with HPC knowledge.
> Which then results in "scientists try to wrap their heads around
> parallel programming" as you mention. Some of the scientists with the
> valuable knowledge choose to go away from Germany; some might
> eventually come back but on a higher position (afterall, they have the
> foreign experience!), where the parallel programming knowledge is not
> important or the busy schedule doesn't allow using it in practice.
> Sure, there are also exceptions... but as the problem is already
> recognized and discussed, the exceptions remain few.
>
> Not sure if this is limited to Germany. Any foreign opinions ?
>
> Cheers,
> Bogdan
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