Visit additional Tabor Communication Publications
December 15, 2006
From time to time I interact with technical people convinced that if they can write good code that's all they need to be successful. We'll talk in a future article about specific steps you can take to make your writing more effective. But if you're in the "writing won't matter for my career" camp, then you need to read this first.
It is nearly impossible to overstate the benefits of being able to write well.
Your core products as a scientist or engineer are ideas, and ideas have to be communicated to have any value. The default mode of this communication will be written products (email, white papers, proposals, etc.). By far you'll spend the lion's share of your efforts throughout your career communicating ideas in writing. And this is true in all fields of science, engineering and technology, not just in high performance computing.
With the importance of e-mail in all professions, but especially in technology professions, writing has also become the foundation of that all-important interaction: the first impression. Many times the first interaction -- perhaps the first several interactions you have with a client, a peer, or a boss -- will be via e-mail.
Writing well and clearly communicating your message will shape a positive first impression of you and the kind of person you are, and also of your technical competence. Creating a poor first personal impression in writing is something that you can recover from when you actually meet the person, but you will have a hard time recovering from the poor impression your e-mail recipient will form of your technical abilities.
They shouldn't be related, but they are, because as we've talked about before you are a service to your employer.
Poor writing skills will stall your career early. And if you cannot communicate well in writing you're going to have a very tough time making a successful career from your first job. Even if this handicap doesn't inhibit you in an entry-level position, you will run into a wall on your first promotion.
Team leaders have to maintain a variety of written documents, including project progress reports and plans, which many people will review. If you cannot create these written documents effectively, you will quickly stagnate. You might say to yourself, "Well, that's fine for those money-grubbing prep-school folks, but I want to be an engineer the rest of my life. I don't care about getting promoted, so my writing doesn't matter." Wrong!
If you want to spend your life, head down, in the trenches, it is probably because you care passionately about what you are doing. In order for your designs and ideas to be implemented you're going to have to be able to communicate them to others in...guess what?...writing!
West is the director of a Top 20 supercomputing center and author of The Only Trait of a Leader (www.onlytraitofaleader.com), a book and blog about leadership and career skills for technology professionals. Contact him at email@example.com.
www.onlytraitofaleader.com Leadership and career skills to help scientists, engineers, and technologists find success doing what they love to do. No time to keep up? Subscribe to the RSS feed!
In quieter times, sounding the bell of funding big science with big systems tends to resonate further than when ears are already burning with sour economic and national security news. For exascale's future, however, the time could be ripe to instill some sense of urgency....
In a recent solicitation, the NSF laid out needs for furthering its scientific and engineering infrastructure with new tools to go beyond top performance, Having already delivered systems like Stampede and Blue Waters, they're turning an eye to solving data-intensive challenges. We spoke with the agency's Irene Qualters and Barry Schneider about..
Large-scale, worldwide scientific initiatives rely on some cloud-based system to both coordinate efforts and manage computational efforts at peak times that cannot be contained within the combined in-house HPC resources. Last week at Google I/O, Brookhaven National Lab’s Sergey Panitkin discussed the role of the Google Compute Engine in providing computational support to ATLAS, a detector of high-energy particles at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
May 23, 2013 |
The study of climate change is one of those scientific problems where it is almost essential to model the entire Earth to attain accurate results and make worthwhile predictions. In an attempt to make climate science more accessible to smaller research facilities, NASA introduced what they call ‘Climate in a Box,’ a system they note acts as a desktop supercomputer.
May 22, 2013 |
At some point in the not-too-distant future, building powerful, miniature computing systems will be considered a hobby for high schoolers, just as robotics or even Lego-building are today. That could be made possible through recent advancements made with the Raspberry Pi computers.
May 16, 2013 |
When it comes to cloud, long distances mean unacceptably high latencies. Researchers from the University of Bonn in Germany examined those latency issues of doing CFD modeling in the cloud by utilizing a common CFD and its utilization in HPC instance types including both CPU and GPU cores of Amazon EC2.
May 15, 2013 |
Supercomputers at the Department of Energy’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) have worked on important computational problems such as collapse of the atomic state, the optimization of chemical catalysts, and now modeling popping bubbles.
05/10/2013 | Cleversafe, Cray, DDN, NetApp, & Panasas | From Wall Street to Hollywood, drug discovery to homeland security, companies and organizations of all sizes and stripes are coming face to face with the challenges – and opportunities – afforded by Big Data. Before anyone can utilize these extraordinary data repositories, however, they must first harness and manage their data stores, and do so utilizing technologies that underscore affordability, security, and scalability.
04/15/2013 | Bull | “50% of HPC users say their largest jobs scale to 120 cores or less.” How about yours? Are your codes ready to take advantage of today’s and tomorrow’s ultra-parallel HPC systems? Download this White Paper by Analysts Intersect360 Research to see what Bull and Intel’s Center for Excellence in Parallel Programming can do for your codes.
In this demonstration of SGI DMF ZeroWatt disk solution, Dr. Eng Lim Goh, SGI CTO, discusses a function of SGI DMF software to reduce costs and power consumption in an exascale (Big Data) storage datacenter.
The Cray CS300-AC cluster supercomputer offers energy efficient, air-cooled design based on modular, industry-standard platforms featuring the latest processor and network technologies and a wide range of datacenter cooling requirements.