Sometimes, programmers do physics, for better or for worse. Sometimes, physicists do programming, and the result is not always disastrous, sometimes quite the contrary. Bruce Allen, for instance, is a gravitational physicist who developed an extremely useful set of programs for Linux, allowing one to monitor the health status of a hard drive using the drive’s SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) capabilities. He certainly needed it… his cluster has several hundred disk drives in operation. I only have a few, but nevertheless it is reassuring to know that they’ll send me an e-mail, presumably before a catastrophic failure wipes out all my data.
Which of course can still happen. I’ve seen hard drives die a sudden death, with no advance warning whatsoever, becoming an expensive but useless boat anchor.