How to Stuff Five Universities Into One Computer Center

A multi-institutional Massachusetts computer center tests out terascale computing—and the social engineering needed to use it

3 min read

24 May 2012—When the Massachusetts Green High-Performance Computing Center launches at the end of this year, its energy efficiency and low carbon emissions (as IEEE Spectrum has detailed) may garner some headlines. But MGHPCC is a trailblazer in one other, perhaps more significant, way.

It puts to a high-stakes test what might be called the “Thanksgiving dinner” approach to academic computing: Put multiple outspoken and diversely opinionated entities under one roof, cross your fingers, and work to ensure that they all get along.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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