[Beowulf] Teaching Scientific Computation (looking for the perfect text)
james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Wed Nov 21 20:18:53 EST 2007
Quoting "Robert G. Brown" <rgb at phy.duke.edu>, on Wed 21 Nov 2007
06:47:16 AM PST:
> On Tue, 20 Nov 2007, Joshua Baker-LePain wrote:
>>> You do raise an interesting question. Would one student running
>>> an application on N machines need N copies under their academic
>>> student license?
>> Almost certainly yes.
> Raise that to certainly yes. I have a student who is using matlab this
> semester for an extensive project, and this was an issue we looked at.
> At Duke it doesn't much matter as students are site licensed for
> unlimited copies IIRC, but it mattered very much on the toolbox issue.
> My student somehow managed to "acquire" toolboxes for some of the stuff
> he was working on -- NNs and GAs -- and I simply have avoided inquiring
> too closely into how. By the time you add a couple of $80 or so
> toolboxes to that $100, you're starting to talk real money, and a LOT
> more than textbooks for any course.
> What's even more absurd is that we're training these students to use
> matlab so that one day they'll go out and buy in a corporate
> environment. So we're paying matlab -- a lot -- for the right to teach
> students to use their product.
A strategy pioneered by IBM, and later used by AT&T with Unix
(although the license cost for Unix was quite low, as I recall...
reproduction cost or similar.)
The same problem shows up with kids learning PowerPoint(r) in school.
There was a great article in "the American Scholar" about 15 years
ago(or maybe more) about this. Same for typing classes...
> Grrr, I say, Grrr.
> I personally would say SCREW their product and require students to only
> use Octave and if anything devote a matlab site license's worth of FTE
> labor to contribute to the octave project to get it to where it too has
> toolboxes and perhaps better graphics. If ten or twenty Universities
> did this, in two years matlab would be all done and a few thousand
> universities would save a bundle.
An excellent idea. Except that getting 10 or 20 Universities to do
this and agree on what to do is like the proverbial herding cats..
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