A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on Scientific Programming Does Not Compute?, which recommended more formal computational training for astronomers. Reader Warrick Ball pointed out a paper on the same subject by Igor Chilingarian and Ivan Zolotukhin, called “The True Bottleneck of Modern Scientific Computing in Astronomy.” Their paper draws the same conclusion, but they are lead there by examples in astronomy. They cite examples (no names attached!) of code written in ancient flavors of Fortran, poor control flow in programs, and complex databases built without a data model.
Chilingarian and Zolotukhin cite successful projects developed by astronomers
with very strong IT/CS background or by IT/CS professionals working closely with astronomers. They conclude … “change the teaching paradigm for students in astronomy. Basic courses in algorithms, programming, software development and maintenance have to be made mandatory in the education of modern astronomers and physicists; advanced courses should be recommended to some of them.”
I agree completely.