• Question: Do computers have allot in common with science?

    Asked by Zobo64 to Colin, John, Kevin, Shikha, Triona on 17 Nov 2014.
    • Photo: Tríona O'Connell

      Tríona O'Connell answered on 17 Nov 2014:

      Computers the devices or computers the science?
      The devices are built into a lot of scientific equipment, and without them data analysis for many experiments would be impossible. Science moved a lot faster with the advent of the computer, and especially when computing got very cheap and small.
      The science has a lot in common with bio/chem/phys. You have to carefully plan what you want to do, analyse what happens and what went wrong, and generally have a very methodical way of thinking about the way things work. Also, just like the more usual science, there’s plenty of maths to keep you entertained

    • Photo: Kevin Motherway

      Kevin Motherway answered on 17 Nov 2014:

      Computers make the analysis of problems a lot easier. In my field of geology and groundwater flow prediction they’re invaluable as you can do a computer model of where a chemical spill is going to go and plan to protect drinking water wells . But computers are only as good as the data you put into them and scientitst have to be very careful they’re feeding the computer relevant and correct data/information as there’s a rule when it comes into computers “rubbish in = rubbish out”

      I’m really into Formula 1 as its a great sport but also really technical. Aerodynamics is a huge part of the sport and all the big teams have their own wind tunnels to test new deisgns. In the last few years some teams have tried to just use computerised models, but even with todays super computers and amazing software you still cannot beat a wind tunnel and a guy with a pipe with smoke coming out of it to predict how a new wind design will behave. The undisputed genius of Formula one car design Adrian Newey from Red Bull still designs by hand with pen and paper and somebody else has to digitise his drawings to get them into the computer system!
      There are somethings that the human computer (brain) will always be better at.