Software becomes more and more important in science as in other areas of life. Scientist have a tradition to publish their work very openly but that does often not include the source code of the software that was developed to carry out simulations which has some obvious problems such as:
- other scientists cannot check the software for errors,
- other scientists cannot fix the bugs and easily reproduce the results,
- other scientists cannot base their new research on already existing software and have to write it completely from scratch again and again,
- software package from different authors cannot be combined easily.
But things are getting better. One field of scientific research where we can see some improvement is machine learning - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_learning which is a broad subfield of artificial intelligence and concerned with the design and development of algorithms and techniques that allow computers to "learn". Sören Sonnenburg et.al. wrote a paper about "The Need for Open Source Software in Machine Learning" which is available at http://jmlr.csail.mit.edu/papers/v8/sonnenburg07a.html. They even created a portal with the goal to support a community creating a comprehensive open source machine learning environment at http://mloss.org.
An increasing number of software package are available in Debian like
- some simple-to-use utilities to apply compression techniques to the process of discovering and learning patterns: http://packages.debian.org/sid/complearn-gui
- a python package for convex optimization: http://packages.debian.org/sid/python-cvxopt
- a library for support vector machines: http://packages.debian.org/sid/libsvm2
- a machine-learning library: http://packages.debian.org/sid/libtorch3-dev
- an object-oriented programming language designed for researchers, experimenters, and engineers interested in large-scale numerical and graphic applications: http://packages.debian.org/sid/lush
- a large scale machine learning toolbox: http://packages.debian.org/sid/shogun-python-modular
- a data mining software in java: http://packages.debian.org/sid/weka
I'd like to know if you are using some of the packages or some other scientific software in Debian. Feel free to leave comment. Or maybe you are missing something in Debian?
If you are an author or user of some free software related to the topic of machine learning please consider registering it at http://mloss.org.