Monday, May 14, 2012

What We Scientists Need in a Computational Tool


by Brian Peacock

At FastFig, we are a team of scientists and engineers that, frustrated with the existing computing tools, branched out to create something better.  In this post, we would like to share with you what we, from experience, feel is needed in a 21st century computational tool.  

1.  A Great User Interface - No one has time to waste on a lousy user interface, yet so many programs today have them.  With tomorrow's computational software it should be effortless to get started and help should always be one click away.  That's just good design.

2.  Easy Sharing - What use is creating anything if it can't be shared?  Modern software should be built for sharing whatever the application.  In science, we need to be able to communicate our results to both experts and non-experts alike and we believe software can help.

3.  Cloud Computing - Today we have vast computing resources at our disposal.  Yet, due to the technical complexity of accessing these resources, the majority of us are not able to use them.  Software should automate our access to the cloud.

4.  Social Interaction - It seems everything is social today, why not science?  And we don't simply mean adding 'like' buttons to every page.  We mean true social interaction between scientists at all times.  From validating results to project collaboration, we can make science better through social communication.

5.  Full Web Integration - The most incredible thing about the web is the ability for programs to easily work together by sharing data and computing resources.  The next scientific computing tool should play well with others.

What's important to you?  What do you want?  What do you need?  Let us know and we will build it.

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