|Fastest computer outstrips
The Borneo Post - Sunday, 22 December, 2002
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The wraps have come off the world's fastest computer in Yokohama. It's so
blazingly fast it performs more computations per second than there are
stars in our galaxy. It's so large it's housed in a building the size of
an aircraft hangar.
35.6 trillion calculations per second, the Earth Simulator is the fastest
super computer in the world, almost five times faster than the next best
one and as fast as the top five US supercomputers combined.
the Japanese scientists using the US$350 million (RM1.33 billion)
computer, it means climate research, with its complex simulations and
diverse mix of variables, is more accurate than ever before.
to the US Department of Energy, the Earth Simulator has put American
scientists at a 10-100 fold disadvantage in weather studies. And there are
much deeper implications.
US has lost the lead in climate science research," it said in a
recent report. "Since computational science contributes to DOE's
energy and national security missions, the implications will be widespread
and potentially grave."
now, the Earth Simulator is being used to track global sea temperatures,
rainfall and crustal movement to predict natural disasters over the next
away in a suburban area just south of Tokyo, the computer's complex has
almost 3,000 kilometers of cable roped together under its floors to keep
its network running.
its massive horsepower, the computer can model weather at 100 times the
resolution of previous simulations, said Tetsuya Sato, director-general of
the Earth Simulator Centre.
by the Tokyo-based NEC, the computer can already predict the path of a
typhoon or a volcanic eruption with remarkable precision. Earthquakes are
still tough to pinpoint and forecast, but likely epicentres are being
identified and their damage mapped out to determine which dams, buildings
and highways need reinforcing.
forward a few centuries and it can show which cities will be submerged
as sea levels rise.
say a powerful computer like the Earth Simulator could also plot the
course of a pandemic like Aids, calculate the spread of a virus after a
bio-terrorist attack, speed the discovery of new drugs and save millions
in research by simulating the interactions between a chemical and the
government doesn't understand how valuable this is," Sato
lamented. The Earth Simulator's implications aren't being missed
time there's an increase in factor of speed, you open up the possibility
of a new science," explained Alan Edelman, professor of Applied
Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Computer