Meet the Board: Rubin Landau

Meet Rubin Landau, one of our Education Department Editors

  • In what “slice” of CiSE do you work?

Education editor, along with Steve Bartlett.

  • What sorts of changes have you seen in the field over the years?

I was a basic researcher for first half of my career in subatomic few body systems, which took serious computing for the time. The second half of my career was spent more on computational physics and science educational developments, and particularly book writing and use of the Web for education (we did that in 1995).

Big changes have been in progress of QCD, the use of Web and mobile devices, massive data analysis for rare or hard-to-isolate events, but not in the traditional disciplines embracing computing  as a serious part of their work.

  • What is the most exciting aspect about your work for the near future? The far future?

The work we have done a decade ago on electronic textbooks is now coming of age. There is still a need for executable paper. On a more scientific level, the combo of particle physics, astronomy, and computation.

  • If you were to explain Computing in Science and Engineering (either the magazine or the field(s) it represents) to a five-year-old, what would you say?

Don’t worry about this kind of stuff. Learn the basics properly and then you can do things right.

  • Big Data… What’s more exciting or important (or is there anything more important)?

Big data came about, in part, because the massively parallel machines being developed, along with the improved networks, could attack these problems. In many ways we had to find new problems to match the hardware.

  • What is one thing that would fundamentally change the average person’s reality if he or she worked with you day to day and saw what you saw?

The ability to do and understand math and how it makes understanding the world simpler.

  • What is the most important application of HPC/computational science/data visualization in your opinion? (Protein simulation, climate modeling, etc.)

I would agree with Charles concerning global warming (context here), but I’d add that the combo of particle physics, astronomy, and computing is a big one as far as how we understand the universe.

  • Conversely, what is the scariest?

The lack of math understanding of the general population, and the acceptance of the education community (suggesting that you can understand things without really understanding things).

  • Why do you do what you do?

I think it is important, I enjoy it, and I enjoy being creative.

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