Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

The Dark Matter of Computational Science

Scott Hanselman's recent post "Dark Matter Developers" got me thinking once again about what Software Carpentry is about. He says:

[We] hypothesize that there is another kind of developer than the ones we meet all the time. We call them Dark Matter Developers. They don't read a lot of blogs, they never write blogs, they don't go to user groups, they don't tweet or facebook, and you don't often see them at large conferences... Where are [they]? Probably getting work done.

The same is true of computing in the sciences. For everyone who shows up at Supercomputing or blogs about porting the eigenvalue package they wrote in Haskell to a GPU cluster, there are a hundred (or more) who are busy actually doing organic chemistry or neuropsychology. My question is, how do we reach them? Some ideas can be found in this recent talk by Jessica McKellar and Asheesh Laroia about how they increased both the size and diversity of the Boston Python user group:

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