A very accessible short article by Greg Wilson in American Scientist provides a nice summary of the results of the survey he and his colleagues conducted recently. He concludes that the survey shows two things are clear:
The first is that if funding agencies, vendors and computer science researchers really want to help working scientists do more science, they should invest more in conventional small-scale computing. Big-budget supercomputing projects and e-science grids are more likely to capture magazine covers, but improvements to mundane desktop applications, and to the ways scientists use them, will have more real impact.
My second conclusion is that we’re not doing nearly enough to teach scientists how to use computers effectively as research tools. (…)
If you care about scientific computing the article is well worth your time.