Michael Feldman has an outstanding blog post over at HPCwire called “The Secret Life of Supercomputers.” The post talks about some of the less public aspects in the world of supercomputing as divined from a couple of otherwise unrelated news items from the finance and intelligence communities
There were a couple of stories floating around the Intertubes in the past week or so that reminded me of how little we know about large classes of HPC applications. That’s not a good thing.
…What’s the result of all this secrecy? Besides giving the public a skewed view of the industry, it also makes the technology invisible to a larger number of developers. Consider that most HPC apps are still implemented in legacy languages like Fortran and C, while “public” applications for personal computers or the Web are using more modern software frameworks, like Java, .NET, Python, etc. Even though HPC is not a volume industry in terms of software licenses, if more codes were public, you’d probably see a much more rapid development of libraries and tools (which is one reason why CUDA software has developed so quickly). Keeping software in silos makes for a lousy ecosystem.