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What is the price of open-source fear, uncertainty, and doubt?

The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters (JPCL), published by American Chemical Society, recently put out two Viewpoints discussing open-source software:

  1. Open Source and Open Data Should Be Standard Practices by J. Daniel Gezelter, and
  2. What Is the Price of Open-Source Software? by Anna I. Krylov, John M. Herbert, Filipp Furche, Martin Head-Gordon, Peter J. Knowles, Roland Lindh, Frederick R. Manby, Peter Pulay, Chris-Kriton Skylaris, and Hans-Joachim Werner.

Viewpoints are not detailed reviews of the topic, but instead, present the author's view on the state-of-the-art of a particular field.

The first of two articles stands for open source and open data. The article describes Quantum Chemical Program Exchange (QCPE), which was used in the 1980s and 1990s for the exchange of quantum chemistry codes between researchers and is roughly equivalent to the modern-day GitHub. The second of two articles questions the open-source software development practice, advocating the usage and development of proprietary software. I will dissect and counter some of the key points from the second article below.

Joys and pains of interdisciplinary research

In 2012 University of Rijeka became NVIDIA GPU Education Center (back then it was called CUDA Teaching Center). For non-techies: NVIDIA is a company producing graphical processors (GPUs), the computer chips that draw 3D graphics in games and the effects in modern movies. In the last couple of years, NVIDIA and other manufacturers allowed the usage of GPUs for general computations, so one can use them to do really fast multiplication of large matrices, finding paths in graphs, and other mathematical operations.

The follow-up

When Linkin Park released their second album Meteora, they had a quote on their site that went along the lines of

Musicians have their entire lives to come up with a debut album, and only a very short time afterward to release a follow-up.

Browser wars

Last week in Rijeka we held Science festival 2015. This is the (hopefully not unlucky) 13th instance of the festival that started in 2003. Popular science events were organized in 18 cities in Croatia.

I was invited to give a popular lecture at the University departments open day, which is a part of the festival. This is the second time in a row that I got invited to give popular lecture at the open day. In 2014 I talked about The Perfect Storm in information technology caused by the fall of economy during 2008-2012 Great Recession and the simultaneous rise of low-cost, high-value open-source solutions. Open source completely changed the landscape of information technology in just a few years.