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

Jeff Squyres jsquyres at cisco.com
Wed Nov 18 09:14:51 CST 2009

Thanks all for the comments about the survey.  Apologies that I have  
not replied earlier; I have read all of the feedback and am making a  
final whack at the on-line survey right now.  I'm at SC09 this week  
and my email access is limited to extremely late in the evening and  
extremely early in the morning.

It's hard to disagree with what has been said; I'm in complete  
agreement that surveys are very, very hard to do properly.  At the  
same time, perhaps it's just the optimist in me that feels like we  
need to try to get some feedback on the "big" issues.  We're making  
MPI-3 for what people want to do, right?

I do tend to agree with Dick that some of the Big Complex Issue  
questions may be of limited value far all the reasons previously  
discussed.  Perhaps they should turn into general text box answers  
rather than a simple number evaluation -- that might give [slightly]  
more useful results by forcing the user to *say* something descriptive.

On Nov 18, 2009, at 6:16 AM, Richard Treumann wrote:

> 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 interpret.
> 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
> 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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Jeff Squyres
jsquyres at cisco.com

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