I’ve made a commitment to blogging as a concrete step towards writing more. It seems to be a success so far. I have a conundrum this week; I’ve been writing a lot and not really blogging per se. The writing has been for one of the papers I’m writing, and it’s providing a lot of meaningful progress. Today I’ll post something that is a bit cheaper to put together in terms of time.
A couple things have happened, the deadline for submission has been extended by a month, so the completion of the paper once two weeks away is now six weeks away. We had a visitor at work that had been a major player in the development of high-resolution methods, Paul Woodward. Paul is full of interesting history particularly because he played a significant roll of helping to transfer a key technology from its inventor to the world of the National Laboratories. This was Paul’s collaboration with Bram Van Leer one of the inventors of high-resolution methods. The techniques that Bram developed are key in making the solution of hyperbolic PDEs better, or in the parlance of the Labs making remap tractably accurate. I had the chance to talk to Paul and he transferred lots of interesting nuggets of knowledge about high-resolution methods, history of their development, and high performance computing where he actively works today.
While this is on topic, the real point of the post is a bunch of quotes that I like from wise, articulate people. I think these all say something important about the conduct of modeling and simulation with an emphasis on verification, validation and uncertainty quantification. Enjoy.
“But the only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.” –Arthur C. Clarke [Clarke’s Second Law]
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. ”– Arthur C. Clarke
“Nothing is destroyed until it is replaced.” –Auguste Compte
“There is no democracy in physics.”–Luis Alvarez
“No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail” – Levy’s Eighth Law
“V&V takes the fun out of computational simulation”– Tim Trucano
“We make no warranties, express or implied, that the programs contained in this volume are FREE OF ERROR, or are consistent with any particular merchantability, or that they will meet your requirements for any particular application. THEY SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON FOR SOLVING A PROBLEM WHOSE SOLUTION COULD RESULT IN INJURY TO A PERSON OR LOSS OF PROPERTY…”– (from Numerical Recipes in Fortran, Press, Teukolsky, Vetterling, and Flannery)
“I am an old man now, and when I die and go to heaven there are two matters on which I hope for enlightenment. One is quantum electrodynamics, and the other is the turbulent motion of fluids. And about the former I am rather optimistic.” – Horace Lamb –
“Turbulence is the most important unsolved problem of classical physics.” – Richard Feynman
“It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.” – Voltaire
“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably why so few people engage in it.” – Henry Ford
“Consistency is the last refuge of the unimagininative.” – Oscar Wilde
“Think? Why think! We have computers to do that for us.”– Jean Rostand
“One of the great tragedies of life is the murder of a beautiful theory by a gang of brutal facts.” – Benjamin Franklin
“Progress in science depends on new techniques, new discoveries, and new ideas, probably in that order.” — Sidney Brenner
“The purpose of computing is insight, not pictures”–Richard Hamming
“Most daily activity in science can only be described as tedious and boring, not to mention expensive and frustrating.” –Stephen J. Gould, Science, Jan 14, 2000.
“rules are necessary when people lack judgment”.–John Clifford
“The plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘evidence’.” Alan Leshner, publisher of Science
“…what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”–Chirstopher Hitchens
“A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history — with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.” –Mitch Ratliffe, Technology Review, April, 1992
“…who may regard using finite differences as the last resort of a scoundrel that the theory of difference equations is a rather sophisticated affair, more sophisticated than the corresponding theory of partial differential equations.”–Peter Lax
“How fortunate that in this best of all possible worlds the equations of ideal flow are nonlinear!”–Peter Lax
“For the numerical analyst there are two kinds of truth; the truth you can prove and the truth you see when you compute.” – Ami Harten
“An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his (her) subject, and how to avoid them.” – Werner Heisenberg
“Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives’ mouths.” -Bertrand Russell
“At the end of your private question, add the words “you idiot.” Now you’re saying to yourself, “Why do you think I asked you to finish the work before the end of this fiscal year, you idiots?” If the question still sounds natural with “you idiots” at its end, don’t ask it. It’s really a statement — a pointed rhetorical question.” –Roger Schwarz
“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”–James Baldwin
“Dilbert isn’t a comic strip, it’s a documentary” – Paul Dubois