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Re: Computer Models

Then too, if you have the code but not a Cray Supercomputer, how can you verify?
Will you be able to get a time slot to use the computer?
We take PCs for granted.
The Appollo space program that used to take row upon row of skilled technicians each with a Computer could all be done on a low end laptop.
But at the other end of the spectrum there is number crunching and number crunching.
If the program is so complex and so time consuming you need to break it down and run it as screen savers on 20million PCs or you need a supercomputer, then it gets more difficult to emulate the work.

The thing is that engineers tend to use computers to do the grunt work. Mostly it is to perform calculations and procedures that they can do and normally would do by hand. The computer is simply a tool to make work easier.
But can climate models be checked by hand? do they simply make calculations easier or is there no other way?

Re: Computer Models

"The thing is that engineers tend to use computers to do the grunt work. Mostly it is to perform calculations and procedures that they can do and normally would do by hand. The computer is simply a tool to make work easier."

I don't think it is quite as simple as that. Some of the more technical engineering industries like aerospace, nuclear and offshore oil have used computer analysis since the 1960s and maybe even before that. Nobody would use a computer in the form that was available in the 1960s for convenience, it would only be used if the calculations couldn't be performed by hand. The computer programs would however normally be verified against some text book hand calculation cases which would give confidence that it could handle other cases that could not be easily checked by hand.

Some engineering firms were able to avoid using computers until desk-top PCs were available or became fashionable in the 1980s and 1990s. These sort of firms who were able to avoid getting involved with all the card punch machines, IBM mainframes, VAX mini-computers and computer bureau services that existed before PCs must have been able to do whatever calculations they had to do by hand and are likely to only be using computers for convenience.

I suppose the classic example of an industry that uses computers for convenience would be "The City" (London's financial district). As far as I'm aware they showed absolutely no interest in computers whatsoever until the mid-80s and then adopted desk-top computing in a big way to give them an advantage over rival financial centres. But without realising it they and other financial centres have moved into financial risk modelling in recent years which can't really be checked by hand and some people think this was a big contributory factor to the financial meltdown of a couple of years ago.

Re: Computer Models

As a guy who writes web applications, I have to say that figuring out why my applications gives the results it does takes up at least 1/2 my time. The code is pretty straight forward. It is the data that keeps changing. Understanding why the data looks the way it does takes a little skill.