[Mpi-forum] MPI user survey - what purpose?

Richard Treumann treumann at us.ibm.com
Wed Nov 18 08:16:50 CST 2009

I would like to hear exactly what the advocates of doing a survey hope to
gain from it.

A survey about what people use MPI for today might give useful information
if the survey is well constructed.  One that asks questions about what they
expect to want to do over the next decade could conceivably give useful
information though I think it would be hard to construct well and hard to

Asking questions about complex technical options by giving very brief
overviews, each crafted by a person who knows what answer they want seems
to have almost zero chance of giving useful feedback.  At most it gives the
person with a particular agenda a way to argue that his agenda has strong
support. Of course, in most (or all) cases, if the survey question had been
crafted by a skeptic of that agenda, the support would not be seen and the
argument would be that the public is clearly not on board.

In reality neither question tells us how the community will respond to the
ultimate content of the MPI 3 standard.  Responsible, professional polling
organization have highly trained specialists crafting supposedly balanced
questions and still freely confess that a favorable response to question is
not the same as genuine support for the underlying issue.

I, for one, will not give it much credence when somebody brings forward a
20 page extension to the standard and says: "We must vote this in because
my 20 word question about it got 85% favorable."


Dick Treumann  -  MPI Team
IBM Systems & Technology Group
Dept X2ZA / MS P963 -- 2455 South Road -- Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Tele (845) 433-7846         Fax (845) 433-8363
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