Superficially Plausible Business Plan #31

I paid a visit to the NanoHub at Purdue University yesterday, and in the discussion afterward, came up with what I think is an interesting value-add for application service providers. Suppose you’re hosting programs for other people to use — in NanoHub’s case, a bunch of nanotechnology simulation and visualization tools. Instead of running those programs “raw”, run them with a coverage analyzer, so that you can archive stats on which runs used which parts of the code.

This is useful information for the tools’ authors, since it tells them which parts of their code are actually being used, and which parts aren’t, but the real value is what happens when a bug is found. Since coverage data has been archived, the tool’s authors can contact everyone whose results might have been affected and tell them they might have a problem.

Would computational scientists care? My guess is yes, just as much as a chemist would care if she got a note from one of her suppliers saying that the last batch of bromium sulfide she’d been sent had been contaminated. Would business application users? I don’t know, but it’d be interesting to find out.