Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

$67 million a year

The US Dept. of Energy has just announced the next round of funding for SciDAC, its flagship supercomputing program. US$67 million per year for three to five years. Supercomputing Online reports:

Research proposals funded under the SciDAC program will help create a comprehensive, scientific computing software infrastructure that integrates applied mathematics, computer science and computational science in the physical, biological and environmental sciences for scientific discovery on petascale computers.

My bet is that, once again, most projects will depend on heroic effort, rather than good development techniques, to reach their goals. I'm also willing to bet that anyone who wants to use most of the software these projects create will have to put in heroic effort of their own to get it built and deployed. I (obviously) believe that a little bit of training would go a long way, but I'm not optimistic that the people who need it most will listen: as is so often the case, those who know they need it are already halfway home, while those who need it most don't even know what they're missing.

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