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Comment Re:And it's a stupid statement (Score 1) 67

"Diminishing returns", anyone? I thought that was the point. These days, you probably need more performance rather for such things as aerodynamics. Certainly supercomputer-designed airplanes have made more real world kills until today than supercomputer-designed nuclear weapons.

Comment Re:VistA is a nightmare (Score 1) 186

The one interesting thing here is that if you rewrite the execution environment, without creating a new language, you should be able to use the old code as tests for the functionality of your new code. You need some way to set up and tear down state for the snippets you're going to be executing, so the old execution environment that ran the system in production probably won't be suitable. Your best hope would probably be starting with a new "implementation" that can parse the code and either interpret it, or compile it, while recording the things that may be of interest to you (for example, if the old language was dynamic, and you need type information either for the purpose of documentation, or to generate static types for the new implementation, you can recover it by tracing).

You can't really use old code as a spec if you lack the necessary tools. Or, perhaps you could, but you'd be doing in your head what a computer should be able to do for you automatically. Expect working very long hours if you're so intent on doing a compiler's and code analyzer's work yourself. ;-)

Comment Re:VistA is a nightmare (Score 1) 186

He essentially suggested the use of automated techniques. From what I can tell, such automated techniques are being applied in practice. I recall a project that used a Smalltalk-based code analysis platform to refactor COBOL code. Are you saying that this approach doesn't save time and man-hours?

Comment Re:Trading one for the other (Score 1) 186

It's utterly useless for data integrity -- imagine a database where every field is a string. There are no numeric fields...and what happens? Oh.

Somehow I don't think a computer system should have a problem with this. Ultimately, in every computer system, every field in a database is an 8-bit string. On some kind of disk. ;) Actual lack of checks is what would give you problems.


Research Scientists To Use Network Much Faster Than Internet 50

nickweller writes with this story from the Times about the Pacific Research Platform, an ultra-high-speed fiber-optic research infrastructure that will link together dozens of top research institutions. The National Science Foundation has just awarded a five-year $5 million dollar grant for the project. The story reports:The network is meant to keep pace with the vast acceleration of data collection in fields such as physics, astronomy and genetics. It will not be directly connected to the Internet, but will make it possible to move data at speeds of 10 gigabits to 100 gigabits among 10 University of California campuses and 10 other universities and research institutions in several states, tens or hundreds of times faster than is typical now.

Where are the calculations that go with a calculated risk?