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Best distro for numerical simulations



I'm completely new to Linux, to be honest all I've ever used until now is Windows. I'm a physics student and I just started doing research in Astrophysics, a very important part of my research is programming numerical simulations that solve physics problems. I usually use C, C++, or MatLab. I've noticed that almost no one in the Astrophysics community uses Windows, so I decided to change to Linux. I can't make up my mind on which distribution to download. Are there any distributions that work better for the kind of work that I'll be doing, or should I just choose the one that looks better to me?



  • MikeEnIke
    MikeEnIke Posts: 88
    Really they will all be able to do what you need. It comes down to performance between distros if you need it. You can get very lightweight ditros (Arch Linux, Puppy Linux) but those often require decent linux knowledge. They will all allow you to download something like Eclipse to program, or you can use the command line.

    Honestly, your best bet is to probably just find the distro that is right for you - or you can look what your friends have and get that, then they can help teach you the finer parts of it.
  • woboyle
    woboyle Posts: 501
    My wife is a physicist. The most commonly used distribution in the field is Scientific Linux which is a derivative of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. You can find it on the web sites of Fermi National Lab (www.fnal.gov), or Argonne National Lab (www.anl.gov) amongst others. It is maintained by the HEP (High Energy Physics) community.
  • altNull
    altNull Posts: 65
    You should look into building your own cloud out of PS3s. Put Linux on them and you have a small super computer. A Professor did it for a research project. Next thing you know, the US Air Force buys up every last PS3 they can get their hands on - which causes the price spike a few years ago.

    If your working with floating points, then you should look into cracking. At Defcon last year they had a gaming rig with SLI graphics cards that were cracking passwords. The FLOPs you get from a gaming machine is amazing. Check out this concept

    Hope that helps.


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