[Beowulf] Teaching Scientific Computation (looking for the perfect text)

Jim Lux james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Wed Nov 21 20:26:39 EST 2007

Quoting "Robert G. Brown" <rgb at phy.duke.edu>, on Wed 21 Nov 2007  
07:36:43 AM PST:

> On Wed, 21 Nov 2007, Jim Lux wrote:
>> Quoting "Robert G. Brown" <rgb at phy.duke.edu>, on Wed 21 Nov 2007   
>> 05:56:51 AM PST:
>>> On Tue, 20 Nov 2007, Jim Lux wrote:
>>>> Octave is nice, but.... the graphics are MUCH better in Matlab,   
>>>> and there's all those toolboxes full of cool stuff (signal   
>>>> processing, control systems, maps, etc.)
>>>> And, an academic license for Matlab is only $100.  That's less   
>>>> than  the textbook likely costs.  Granted Matlab isn't quite as   
>>>> cool as  the symbolic
>>> "Only $100" is IMO highway robbery, especially for students.
>> For a copy that they get to have on their very own personal   
>> computer (as opposed to a shared class license, which is cheaper,   
>> on a per seat basis)?
>> I don't know that it's highway robbery.. It's comparable to the   
>> cost of a textbook these days. It's less than the cost of a couple   
>> concert tickets or a live theater presentation like "Wicked".  (No   
>> starving students buying tickets to see the Stones or the Eagles   
>> these days...)
> Oooo, thus speaketh a man who must not be facing tuition bills as high
> as $40,000 per year for several children coming of age.

I have a 14 and 11 year old. I am sticking my fingers in my ears and  
going "la,la,la,la..."

> Ah, here we could go the rounds for a long time.  Agreeing that around
> half the cost is human support -- I might have gone over half, even --
> the split between hard and software is more like 50-50 on the remainder.
> Microsoft office alone, per seat, can cost a significant fraction of the
> cost of the hardware at corporate rates.  XP Pro or Vista
> Business/Ultimate are also hundreds of dollars (around $300 for the
> former, I don't know what for the latter).  Antivirus adds a bunch.  A
> MS based business tricked out for JUST PLAIN DESKTOP stuff -- a login
> interface, Explorer, mail, Office Pro, on top of a pro base version of
> the OS -- can easily cost $800 in software alone, and that doesn't
> really include the cost of the server side software needed to make it
> all run.  Real "applications" outside of this come on top, and of course
> are going to typically cost $200 and up.

I think that enterprise licenses are substantially lower than this for  
the whole MS shebang.  Maybe not.  Having the body sit at the desk  
already costs you $100-200K/yr, so an extra $1K/yr is down in the  
noise level (especially if it's perceived to be more trouble to get  
rid of it than just to pay it again...Clever folks these software  
marketing companies...)

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