In intelligence circles, the rules for choosing a name for an operation generally include the requirement that it give no clue as to the nature of that operation’s aims or objectives. People who set up large software consortia seem to think in much the same way. While application software tends to have names reflecting function (think of Word, Mathematica, TableCurve), desirable attributes (Excel, FlexPro, etc) or both (DesignEase, Kaleidagraph), projects seem drawn to inscrutability. Why name an entity whose mission is clarity with a word implying obscurity?
The Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague
The Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague (ICT) is the largest educational institution of its kind in Central Europe. There are four faculties and many departments with different laboratories at the school. More than 50 independent chromatography stations, provided by DataApex, are in place at ICT to aid students and researchers in a variety of educational and research needs.
At the turn of the millennium, and as the Human Genome Project approached its last phase, the pharmaceutical industry was buzzing with optimism about the innovative new medicines that would derive from the coming avalanche of human genomic and proteomic data. The evidence since then, however, has shown that this hype has not been justified; in fact, fewer novel pharmaceuticals are entering the clinic each year now than during the 1990s.
If something goes wrong with a drug the consequences can be devastating, both to the patients and to the company that developed that drug. This is why regulators require pharmaceutical companies to keep such careful watch over all the data generated on any of the compounds that they develop, test and turn into drugs.
The world of computing has produced its own celebrities, who achieve fame beyond their field and are up there with pop musicians and film stars. But in the world of scientific computing, there are few celebrities to compare with Cleve Moler, co-founder of The MathWorks and original creator of Matlab, a programme used by an astounding one million scientists and engineers around the world.