Now they're going to be kept up at night.
"If you're doing micro array analysis, trying to see if a new set of drugs is practical in specific conditions, you want to run through the database of compounds to test them. Simulating that is impractical, but you can do it, in parallel, on several hundred nodes in a cluster."
The speaker is Richard Schultz, founder and CEO of REvolution Computing (the name refers to its Evolving of the R language).
REvolution's business is to combine them into a managed framework for clients like Pfizer and Novartis. One scientist joked, "now we can cure cancer," but Schultz scoffs at that.
What's important to him is that they can now run analyses which demand multi-core performance.
"It's not so much what enables R in this regard, it's our technology which enables it. We also apply it to MATLAB and Python, and our customers use things in addition to R.
"But the benefit to R we see is the audience is so large and sophisticated – we're dealing with geneticists – that being able to embed this technology has solved a big problem in a large market."
What this will do, over time, is turbocharge the search for cures, quickly winnowing the search for useful compounds based on their chemical structure and properties.
Schultz has been working on his solution set for years, and has been flogging it for months, ever since getting a big injection of capital from Intel.
"A small number of developers is quite impractical these days," Schultz said. But given the size of the niche he's working, is this something you need to know about?
Wouldn't you rather read about drug controversies than the tools which enable the drugs' development?