Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 16th Apr 2012 02:08 UTC
In the News "Modern science relies upon researchers sharing their work so that their peers can check and verify success or failure. But most scientists still don't share one crucial piece of information - the source codes of the computer programs driving much of today's scientific progress." Pretty crazy this isn't the norm yet.
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What is so complex
by jburnett on Mon 16th Apr 2012 16:56 UTC
jburnett
Member since:
2012-03-29

My academic background is computer science. I didn't publish any papers that had algorithms so complex they could not reimplemented. Some of the visualization and driver code was a pain, but the core algorithm I was describing was pretty tight and neat. All of computer science was that way, you almost never see a paper with an algorithm that is difficult to reproduce (aside from the really complicated math). When you do see such a paper, it was generally a hardware specific way of doing something where the specific hardware was annoying to program. But I always thought of those as more marketing than science.

So, what is so complex in biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, etc... that it cannot be reimplemented fairly easily when given the core algorithm?

Reply Score: 1

RE: What is so complex
by Neolander on Mon 16th Apr 2012 17:10 in reply to "What is so complex"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

So, what is so complex in biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, etc... that it cannot be reimplemented fairly easily when given the core algorithm?

Speaking for physics, not much... Except that the people who do numerical simulations may like to use open-source highly optimized math libraries, because those take a lot of time to mature.

I have heard that CERN scientists still use Fortran a lot, simply because they have gigabytes of highly optimized Fortran code around and can't bother to rewrite it in something more modern like C.

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RE: What is so complex
by Alfman on Tue 17th Apr 2012 02:28 in reply to "What is so complex"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

jburnett,

"So, what is so complex in biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, etc... that it cannot be reimplemented fairly easily when given the core algorithm?"

As long as it's described well enough (and perhaps even if it's not) then anything can be reimplemented - that is not a point of contention.

I just think it's more work to do so, that's all. If the scientific community has been doing it without source code all these years, then maybe it's not such a big deal. The main issue I have is when someone reads the paper thinking "gee, I would like to play with the numbers myself but I don't have the time/skill to write my own software from scratch".

Reply Parent Score: 2