Note on High Performance Computing
(6 pages of text)
This note discusses the role of supercomputing in nuclear weapons research, from the first UNIVAC system installed in 1953 to the planned installation of a 100 TeraOPS system at Lawrence Livermore Laboratories in 2004. Topics include military and civilian uses for supercomputers, the evolution to parallel processing, the growing importance of open source software such as Linux, and emergent scientific uses, such as genetic sequencing and AIDS research. Traditionally, supercomputers were employed to simulate complex processes that occurred over a specific period of time. For example, a nuclear explosion had a beginning (detonation) and an end. More and more, however, applications began to shift toward analyzing immense databases that contained a seemingly endless number of variables. Despite significant advances in technology, the most powerful computers available still cannot reliably predict the weather for the next week in any significant detail.
United States, Medium, 2002
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