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News Link • Technology: Software

Black box software: a problem for science that extends to big data


You probably don’t need to know how a calculator makes two plus two equal four, or how your favorite smartphone app works, but the way the background software is implemented can make a big difference to the output. Slight rounding errors or slow load times in these cases might be annoying, but when you scale up to big data modeling, for instance, you might want to take a closer look at the software running your calculations before you click go.

Blind trust in black box, or click-and-run, software is a growing problem in science, according to a commentary published Thursday in the journal Science, and the concern extends beyond formal research to other domains that use high performance computing.

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