Mathematicians can write great programs?!

Mathematicians can write great programs?!
Picture of me, Daniel Cortild
A picture of me, Daniel Cortild

Surprisingly, writing “stupid” code is not always the most efficient way of getting a task done. Often programming does not only require coding skills, but also a lot of thinking, problem-solving and optimising before reaching a somewhat satisfactory result. Besides optimising the code, speeding it up can also be reached by executing it on a larger machine, say a supercomputer.

I am currently studying for a non-programming bachelor, namely a bachelor in Mathematics. Although our main competencies usually do not take place behind a computer, we still had some courses relying on some programming skills; the Numerical Mathematics classes, which link the world of Mathematics and the world of coding in an elegant way. In most cases, solving complex mathematical equations analytically is hard or even impossible. One thus has to refer to a numerical method, which approximates the solution. As a mathematician we do, of course, not like approximations, so we try to reduce them as much as possible to get the most accurate solutions with as little computations as possible. The study of such algorithms is the field of numerical and computations Mathematics, which I have been specializing in over the past year.

Wanting to learn new skills over the summer, I started looking out for new opportunities. When I got referred to PRACE Summer of HPC I immediately started writing my application, as I only had a week left before the already extended deadline. After a lot of reading and writing, I decided to apply and got selected for improving a python package to provide multiple standardized interpolation methods for atmospheric chemistry models! I only found out weeks after my selection because of Gmail’s elaborate spam filter, but fortunately did not need much time to make my decision.

After a week of training in HPC provided by PRACE and ICHEC, I already know I will learn a lot over the course of this summer. I am very excited to start at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center this week and learn more about what I will spend the following 8 weeks on. Although I will only be virtually in Barcelona, I hope to be able to enjoy the “Spanish” weather and sun.

My Spanish friend casually reminding me of what I am missing

Over the summer, I will be posting updates about the advancement of my project and about what I learn. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me in the comments, or via LinkedIn.

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