Ten computer codes that transformed science

Click for: original source

From Fortran to arXiv.org, these advances in programming and platforms sent biology, climate science and physics into warp speed. By Jeffrey M. Perkel.

In 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope team gave the world the first glimpse of what a black hole actually looks like. But the image of a glowing, ring-shaped object that the group unveiled wasn’t a conventional photograph.

The article then captures the following:

  • Language pioneer: the Fortran compiler (1957)
  • Signal processor: fast Fourier transform (1965)
  • Molecular cataloguers: biological databases (1965)
  • Forecast leader: the general circulation model (1969)
  • Number cruncher: BLAS (1979)
  • Microscopy must-have: NIH Image (1987)
  • Sequence searcher: BLAST (1990)
  • Preprint powerhouse: arXiv.org (1991)
  • Data explorer: IPython Notebook (2011)
  • Fast learner: AlexNet (2012)

The first modern computers weren’t user-friendly. Programming was literally done by hand, by connecting banks of circuits with wires. Subsequent machine and assembly languages allowed users to program computers in code, but both still required an intimate knowledge of the computer’s architecture, putting the languages out of reach of many scientists. Good trip down the history lanes!

[Read More]

Tags programming data-science learning cio management