Friday, August 05, 2005

Coffee, computations, and reproducibility!

A cup of coffee in the Coffee House is always refreshing: Everytime, I wonder at the consistency with which they produce such good quality coffee all through the week - I do not know if the Coffee House coffee will live up to the exacting standards of RK Narayan , but it might make to his top ten list, given the fact that it is neither black nor white but brown. To meet Sai in the coffee house is another pleasure (especially, if Saswata is with you): today at around 6:00 in the evening, I had this triple pleasure: I was with Sai, Saswata, and my cup of coffee. The moment we settled with our cups of hot, brown brew, the talk turned to the MIT open courseware , Prof. Trefethen and his book on finite difference and spectral methods which is available online (and, believe me, Saswata has already read the Fourier sections of the book), and many other things besides - I sometimes feel more literature survey is done with a cup of coffee in the Coffee house than in a few hours with Google Scholar . In any case, after the coffee I came back and promptly made it to Prof. Trefethen's page: it is a pity I missed his page all these days. He has a huge number of links on his page apart from his books and essays: one of them about the SIAM 100$, 100-digit Challenge caught my attention, which in turn lead to a quote on the problem of reproducibility (this time around, not of the quality of coffee, but of scientific computations): if this quote interests you, you might want to read the Wavelab and the reproducible research booklet and Making scientific computations reproducible article. The moral of the story is: be it coffee or computation. reproducibility is the key. So long, and Thanks for all the Coffee!

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