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From Hilbert Space to Dilbert Space

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PCs vs. Macs
Guinness Dark Side

From Telescoper

I wonder how many of those computers at the LHC are running Linux.

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I am not familiar with the machines used in that control room. But I'd say it's a pretty good bet that most of them are running Unix.

Also, the question is susceptible to research. According to this PDF about the LHC control system, some of the front ends run Linux, the middle layer runs Linux, and the machines you'd see in a control room, the operational consoles, are a mixture of Linux and Windows PCs.

As for the second picture, look around the Fermilab cafeteria, or the audience of a seminar, and you will see a whole lot of Mac laptops. I'm sure it's the same at CERN.

While I was setting up an undergraduate lab this Friday, I got a related question from a student. As he noted, most commercial engineering software (CAD & FEM packages, CFD routines, optical modeling code, DAQ etc.) is written for Windows machines. However, most of the faculty in my department use Macs. His question was simple: why?

My answer: because professors rarely _do_ research or engineering. Instead, they teach and/or supervise those who do research or engineering. Replying to email, preparing lecture slides, reviewing journal articles, and pushing funding proposals through an interlocking set of bureaucratic mechanisms: all of this is as easily done on a Mac as on a Windows machine.

The Mac/Windows divide is just one of the amusing ways in which JPL and NASA Glenn express their rivalry at electric propulsion conferences. When a Glenn researcher is presenting, there's usually a glowing wall of Apple logos in the back row, as people take notes and prepare to hurl pointed questions at the speaker. Likewise, there's a similar shieldwall of Dell logos facing a JPL speaker as he takes his turn at bat.

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