[Haskell-cafe] Haskell participating in big science like CERN Hadrian...

Creighton Hogg wchogg at gmail.com
Fri Oct 3 09:29:59 EDT 2008

On Fri, Oct 3, 2008 at 5:47 AM, Dougal Stanton <dougal at dougalstanton.net> wrote:
> 2008/10/3 Galchin, Vasili <vigalchin at gmail.com>:
>> Hello,
>>     One of my interests based on my education is "grand challenge science".
>> Ok .. let's take the  CERN Hadrian Accelerator.
>>     Where do you think Haskell can fit into the CERN Hadrian effort
>> currently?
>>     Where do you think think Haskell currently is lacking and will have to
>> be improved in order to participate in CERN Hadrian?
> Is that the experiment where Picts are accelerated to just short of
> the speed of light in order to smash through to the Roman Empire? ;-)
> I don't know what the main computational challenges are to the LHC
> researchers. The stuff in the press has mostly been about
> infrastructure --- how to store the gigabytes of data per second that
> they end up keeping, out of the petabytes that are produced in the
> first place (or something).

Well, with the LHC efforts I don't think a technology like Haskell
really has a place...at least not now.  Even just a few years back,
when I worked on this stuff, we were still doing lots of simulation in
preparation for the actual live experiment and Haskell might have been
a good choice for some of the tools.  All of the detector simulation
was written in C++, because C++ is the new FORTRAN to physicists, and
you ain't seen nothing till you've seen a jury-rigged form of lazy
evaluation built into a class hierarchy in C++.  Now, would the C++
based simulation have run faster than a Haskell based one?  Quite
possibly.  On the other hand, I remember how many delays and problems
were caused by the sheer complexity of the codebase.  That's where a
more modern programming language might have been extremely helpful.

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