Re: [PrimeNumbers] harmless reminiscence
- When I was a graduate student of physics at the University of Texas: as late as 2000 our department of computational relativity STILL used Fortran to do all its calculations of colliding neutron stars! The purpose of this was to make predictions for cutting edge gravitational wave detectors.
I will say I bit the bullet and learned Object Oriented Programming over the last several years and was quickly won over once I got the hang of it but it was SURPRISINGLY difficult for me as a really good FORTRAN guy to catch the OOP paradigm. If you remember the Java program I posted a few years ago to this list that drew little graphics for the integers: that was a project designed partially to learn OOP. If you haven't done it I suggest you dive in: it will keep your brain young!
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, October 21, 2010 9:36 AM
Subject: [PrimeNumbers] harmless reminiscence
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org,
"djbroadhurst" <d.broadhurst@...> wrote:
> In this 11-digit example,
> N = 23*29*41*43*251*269 = 79397009999
> was declared probably prime in 44114 tests and was *never* proven
> to be composite. The absence of a decision in the remaining 55886
> tests came from Bill's last "wriggle":
> > REM period must be full for valid test
I was grateful that Bill had laid out his (doomed) idea in
BASIC (Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code), a
language developed in the mid 60's for "a less technical user
who did not have the mathematical background of the more
traditional users and was not interested in acquiring it".
That made his idea easy to port to Pari-GP. Thanks, Bill!
On a personal note, I remark that when I had to choose a language
in which to work, also in the mid 60's, there were only two
viable alternatives for a practising physicist: Algol and
ForTran. I asked: "which is the better; which is the more used?"
The answers were: "the former; the latter". I chose the latter.
This turned out (fortuitously) to be a good decision, since
ForTran was the only language available to me later, when working
as a Post-Doc, at Stanford and CERN, in the early 70's.
I was wondering how ForTran is now regarded at CERN and hence
googled "ForTran CERN", with this result, from August 2007:
> Fortran is the language of high-performance technical computing -
> even if this is an increasingly smaller segment of today's
> computing activities. In 1990, the former IT division leader
> Paolo Zanella wrote: "If I had to pick one thing likely to still
> be alive 30 years from now, I would choose Fortran."
That made me feel less of a dinosaur :-)
NB: This is not intended to spark a language-war;
it's just a harmless reminiscence.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> When I was a graduate student of physics at the University of Texas:as late as 2000 our department of
> computational relativity STILL used Fortran to do all its calculationsof colliding neutron stars!
As an undergraduate I learned Fortran, Compass, and had a course in
Algol, because "it is the language of the future!" My first course in
High School was IBM 360 Assembly Language (because the school district
had one--that was the year before we got the PDP 1 and switched to basic
on paper tape). Those I knew still using Fortran a few years ago were
doing so because of the parallelized libraries useful on the massively
paralyzed super computers. Sometimes you write in the language used
locally, rather than what you want (e.g., 360 Assembly, Compass, ...).