GNU/Linux Just Made the World of Science a Better Place

On the IT used in the discovery of the Higgs Boson (the last key particle scientists needed to explain just about everything…)

“In terms of data analysis, Windows could be used in principle. We could also use some type of device that manipulates symbols on a strip of tape according to a simple table of rules. Linux is used because it is most appropriate for the job. Linux is ubiquitous in HPC and we use a lot of computing power in LHC physics, so the arguments for the use of Linux in HPC are very similar to the arguments for the use of Linux in LHC physics analyses. Naturally, it’s important to have an operating system that is free, open source and reliable (Scientific Linux is basically Red Hat Linux)”

via Linux Played a Crucial Role in Discovery of 'Higgs boson' ~ Ubuntu Vibes .

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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11 Responses to GNU/Linux Just Made the World of Science a Better Place

  1. JR says:

    @ Chris Weig

    Please forgive me for my lack of intellect but what exactly is your point ?

  2. oiaohm says:

    Chris Weig there is more than one Particle Accelerators

    http://www-elsa.physik.uni-bonn.de/accelerator_list.html

    Again it depends if the retest requires something the LHC size.

    The data from CERN is mirrored into the Australian aarnet. As well as other storage areas around the world for research to go over looking for error and to run there own experiments to attempt to disprove.

    Chris Weig the LHC does not run each experiment once either. Its critical that everything used gets peer reviewed just in case there was a rounding error or some other data defect.

    Chris Weig “they use Coverity to analyze their source code. Apparently FLOSS couldn’t offer something which was good enough for such a critical thing.” No they use the open source tools as well.

    Its simply a more eyes thing. Each program looks at the code a different way. There is no perfect I find every bug in a program scan tool yet. So if you have the budget you use the closed source scan tools as well. Nothing odd about doing this. Its also nothing strange for a closed source company using the open source tools for bug hunting.

  3. Chris Weig wrote, “Can you rebuild the LHC? No. Are the experiments conducted in the LHC concerned with FLOSS as their subject of experimentation? No. Is the source code of the experiments available? No.”

    Of course LHC could be rebuilt but it would cost many years and $billions. Experiments used at the facility all involve high volumes of data which must be electronically sorted and classified and analyzed and stored. GNU/Linux is intimately involved in that and source code is shared.

    “To really understand the challenge, though, there are a few things you should know about CERN. First, its scientists are not sitting in France, watching through microscopes. No, CERN scientists are located across the world. So whatever system or application or analytics tool CERN decides to use has to run on a wide, wide variety of platforms and versions.

    Second, you don’t roll out an application and expect these people to use it, questions unasked. CERN physicists are, obviously, among the brightest people in the world; they write their own code for analyzing data, thank you very much.

    Third, CERN uses ROOT to analyze all this data. ROOT is an open source tool, often used by financial institutions. Naumann is actually very involved in helping to evolve it.”

    see http://www.itbusinessedge.com/cm/blogs/lawson/the-big-data-software-problem-behind-cerns-higgs-boson-hunt/?cs=50736

    I used to work for a scientist who worked at CERN so I know a thing or two about how they work. My background is in nuclear physics, intimately related to particle physics. If we’d had GNU/Linux in those days we would have used it because it suited us. Instead we used DEC’s OS on their stuff (VMS, RSX-11 and RT-11) and IBM’s stuff, HASP, on the IBM S/360. We used software shared by scientists from all over the world and wrote our own. My second job in IT was to port assembler-language software from one DEC system to another. We used FORTRAN and Assembler for the data-collection and analysis stuff for experiments involving a dozen people. CERN has thousands working on experiments. It’s a matter of scale.

    ROOT, the software mentioned in the quotation above is FLOSS written by CERN and shared with the world under LGPL/GPL licences. LHC is the latest particle-accelerator project of CERN. The source-code for ROOT is available.

    So, shut up about what you know not.

    Coverity was used to diagnose many bugs in ROOT.

  4. Chris Weig says:

    Can you rebuild the LHC? No. Are the experiments conducted in the LHC concerned with FLOSS as their subject of experimentation? No. Is the source code of the experiments available? No.

    BTW, CERN — like everyone else — uses proprietary software. For example, they use Coverity to analyze their source code. Apparently FLOSS couldn’t offer something which was good enough for such a critical thing.

  5. oiaohm says:

    Chris Weig key part about science is the requirement for others to be able to repeat your experiment and make sure you did not screw up the results somewhere.

    Closed source don’t help other check all your working.

  6. Chris Weig says:

    Koz, why do your responses so utterly lack substance? By means of your fine intellect you should be perfectly able to destroy my every argument. But nothing ever comes. Your pathetic lines are nothing more but mere variations of “X is a M$ cultist”. How have you made it through high school!? Surely you weren’t on the debating team, were you?

  7. kozmcrae says:

    Keep talking Chris. The more words you throw on the page, the deeper the hole you make for yourself.

  8. Chris Weig says:

    Chris Weig attempts to throw the discussion off of GNU/Linux making the World of Science a Better Place.

    I see you haven’t understood what I meant. That’s probably for the best. Perhaps you’d be well advised not to take everything so literal.

    I am gracious enough though to give you a hint. The sentence “GNU/Linux just made the world of science a better place” is empty rhetoric. There’s no ever so small assertion to be found in it. Because what looks like an assertion is of such a character that it’s not provable or disprovable. And thus it is not an assertion at all.

    But by all means, ask your local scientists — and not just the physicists, but also sociologists, linguists, anthropologists, economists — how GNU/Linux has made the world of science a better place for them. I’m anxiously awaiting the results.

  9. Chris Weig wrote, “Palestine and Israel. Can you help them, Mr. Pogson?”

    I worked in the Middle East for a few years and understand some of the positions and enmity. Until the parties decide they need help, they won’t listen to me. The history extends to biblical times and has not improved with meddling by the Europeans. Now USA and Russia and China are all messing around.

    About the only thing that will “solve” the problems are to erase borders and remove governments/tyrants from power, but that is not going to happen. The situation will evolve when the old guard dies off as it did over the Iron Curtain. That probably will not happen in my lifetime.

    Eventually, some younger generation will say “To Heck with this!” and declare the sins of their fathers as water under the bridge and decide to get along. We still have in power in that region folks who descended from generations of terrorists and warriors, not people tending to be reasonable. Eventually a generation will emerge that is more pragmatic and will have higher priorities than living in self-imposed prisons. They will also have to chuck interference from the outsiders, geopolitical goons and such. It took hundreds of years to get where we are. It may well take another hundred to bring “normalcy” to the region. True democracy and respect for human rights will have to come first and that is nowhere close to happening.

  10. kozmcrae says:

    Chris Weig attempts to throw the discussion off of GNU/Linux making the World of Science a Better Place.

  11. Chris Weig says:

    Superb! But I’m waiting for GNU/Linux to end the conflict between Palestine and Israel. Can you help them, Mr. Pogson?

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