[Beowulf] about clusters in high schools

Timothy W. Moore twm at tcg-hsv.com
Fri Jan 27 07:18:33 PST 2006

It is my opinion that higher education does not prepare our future
scientists as well as they should.  I am amazed at the program your
child's school offers... and I thought my son went to a good high
school.  My son is a junior in engineering at a prominent Div 1
university (the same school I attended) and is not required to take any
programming languages.  I was required to take FORTRAN and C programming
and apply those programming skills to solve problems.  To this day, I
still use FORTRAN to solve complex problems in chemistry and physics.

I now run a small business with HPC and engineering at the core.  My son
works for me during the summers and holidays where I expose him to
real-world problems and that the software package required for a
particular application is not always nicely bundled in the window$ OS
and most likely does not exist. I have him using Linux and doing
elementary programming in FORTRAN.  Did you know that many engineering
programs have eliminated programming as a requirement?  I thought this
to be an isolated incident until I discussed it with a colleague at
Sandia Nat'l Labs and he echoed the same sentiment.  This gentleman
further noted that most applicants only know Matlab and/or Mathcad.  I
personally have no beef with either package because I have used neither
and am sure they have good utility in the science world.  I just do not
believe them to be a replacement for good programming skills.

I have also taught him networking skills, parallel computing, 32 bit vs.
64 bit machines, scripting and AMD64/Itanium2 architectures.  He has
indicated to me how much the information which I have imparted has
helped in his education making him a better student and having the
ability to understand problems.  His interest is in CFD and uses the
codes not only for me but for school projects as well.  He has his 64
bit workstation at school but for more challenging problems, he can ssh
into the intanium cluster here at the office.  His experience outside
academia has already landed him a job offer where they want him to start
working during the summers until he finishes his education.  He has
plans to atend graduate school because he knows he will be better
prepared for the the real world.

I now understand how someone can write extensive responses to these
sometimes simple questions.  It is because the topic touches a nerve for
which we are so passionate.  Continue your push for this project...it
will be so beneficial.  The earlier these kids are exposed, the better
they absorb the knowledge AND retain it.  They will attend college and
on day 1 will be light years ahead of their counterparts.  Any professor
or administrator would be happy to have them employed for they could
walk in and begin work (with no/minimal training) immediately.  My alma
mater now has a computer science program funded by various 3-letter
agencies emphasizing computer security for the USG.  It is a program
that if you choose to give the USG the first few years of your career,
they will pay for either part/all of education and provide summer
employment (extensive background investigation required).  I have met
one of the participants and he indicated that the program is on the
bleeding edge of technology.  Is sounds as though grads of this high
school would be excellent applicants for this program.

I apologize for the long response...I just wish all students who wish to
be scientists, mathematicians, or programmers had access to what your
school offers. Keep up the good work!!!

On Fri, 2006-01-27 at 06:04 -0800, beowulf-request at beowulf.org wrote:
> [Beowulf] about clusters in high schools

More information about the Beowulf mailing list