Supercomputers Often Run Outdated Software

…from The Chronicle of Higher Education

“Supercomputers keep breaking records for processing speed, but software to operate them has not kept up with that increasingly zippy hardware. The often-rickety supercomputing computer code is becoming an obstacle to making better weather models, medical simulations, and other applications of high-performance computers, said experts at a conference here Wednesday on the future of academic supercomputing.

“”Codes are still being used from the 1960s,” said Ed Seidel, director of the National Science Foundation’s office of cyberinfrastructure, in an interview at the meeting. “Those have to be retooled or rethought” to take full advantage of the latest supercomputers, he said.

“Attendees at the meeting said one of the most popular computer languages used to create programs for supercomputers is Fortran, which went out of style among conventional programmers decades ago and is rarely even taught in college computer-science departments today. It’s as if your new laptop still ran MS-DOS, the operating system that predated Windows on personal computers.”