I've just read about the distinction between instrumentalism and realism in philosophy of science, and would like to know, did instrumentalism gain popularity nowadays?
If instrumentalism is very roughly the view that scientific theories are (only) instruments for making predictions, it is not an appproach widely favoured explicitly in the philosophy of science. But it is sympathetically explored by a very respectable and mainstream philosopher of science, Elliott Sober, who also connects it loosely with the criterion of simplicity (on which he has written extensively) and verisimilitude.
Sober brings some conceptual discrimination to the discussion of instrumentalism by distinguishing between methodological, semantic and what he calls 'personal' instrumentalism.
See Elliott Sober, 'Instrumentalism Revisited', Crítica: Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía, Vol. 31, No. 91 (Apr., 1999), pp. 3-39.