Friday, May 09, 2008

Where Does All the Computer Power Go?

Two recent articles:

"'Bluefire' likely to blaze new trails in climate study" by Katy Human, The Denver Post, 05/09/2008.
On Thursday, the Boulder-based National Center for Atmospheric Research unveiled the new IBM computer, dubbed bluefire, which will be one of the 25 most powerful — and efficient — computers in the world. The machine is capable of performing more than 76 trillion calculations a second, NCAR said. "We're going to triple our computing capability and actually burn a little less energy," said Tom Engel, a high-performance-computing expert at NCAR. NCAR researchers have relied on powerful supercomputers to model climate change, tornadoes, hurricanes and turbulence that can shake up airplanes. "This will let our researchers add more physics, add more chemistry, add more realism to the models," said Aaron Andersen, also an NCAR high-performance-computing expert.
"New Breed Of Supercomputers For Improving Global Climate Predictions" Medical News Today, 07 May 2008.
Three researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have proposed an innovative way to improve global climate change predictions by using a supercomputer with low-power embedded microprocessors, an approach that would overcome limitations posed by today's conventional supercomputers.

In a paper published in the May issue of the International Journal of High Performance Computing Applications, Michael Wehner and Lenny Oliker of Berkeley Lab's Computational Research Division, and John Shalf of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) lay out the benefit of a new class of supercomputers for modeling climate conditions and understanding climate change. Using the embedded microprocessor technology used in cell phones, iPods, toaster ovens and most other modern day electronic conveniences, they propose designing a cost-effective machine for running these models and improving climate predictions.

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