[Beowulf] Stroustrup regarding multicore

Greg Lindahl lindahl at pbm.com
Wed Sep 3 05:04:17 EDT 2008


On Thu, Aug 28, 2008 at 11:54:05AM -0400, Peter St. John wrote:

> I think a physicist programming is like an astronomer grinding lenses (maybe
> nobody does that anymore). Some astronomers (in the old days) ground their
> own lenses and ended up contributing to optics; others never looked through
> telescopes, they do math on the measurements taken by others.

This is the 2nd funniest posting in this thread. Did you notice that
ground-based telescopes recently started being much, much bigger?
These new lenses were invented and made in Arizona by an astronomer,
who figured out how to spin molten glass into roughly the right shape,
instead of taking a huge, flat, thick piece of glass and grinding it
into the shape of a mirror.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4773461

Our community does this kind of stuff because it wouldn't happen
otherwise.

The funniest posting in this thread was when rgb failed to notce that
Perry had compared the difficulty of directing physics research to the
difficulty of writing a program. Some computer programs are hard. Most
aren't.  So it's a dumb comparison.

I don't know what to make of Vincent saying that I sound like an
average guy who watches TV. I haven't watched TV much since 1983, but
I have spent a lot of time as an astronomy graduate student doing
supercomputing, and then working with scientific programmers.

This isn't meant to encourage anyone to continue discussing any of
this. I did want to point out how misinformed most of the "discussion"
was. That's in addition to being pointless.

Yeah, I'm probably a bit grouchy because my car's parking lights don't
turn off anymore after the final dust storm at Burning Man. The
owner's manual says it can't happen. Must have been written by a
computer scientist :-)

-- greg

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