Friday, October 8, 2010, PM | 1 Comment
We all know that in almost every aspect of our lives, computers play a big part. The products we use everyday are designed and continually improved by computers. For such products that can have serious and fatal effects on humans, supercomputers are used. Designing products can be done, the experts tell us, with smaller computers.
However, when it comes to simulating tests on cars, airplanes, and pharmaceutical products, high-performance computers are used. IBM is at the forefront for providing these juggernauts in computing power.
Among the companies using the latest such computers are General Motors, Boeing, DreamWorks, Eli Lilly. Except for firms like DreamWorks, the companies whose products can have a serious and fatal effect on our lives are using supercomputers to test and improve the products we use in everyday lives.
As of June 2010…
According to the media, as of June 2010, IBM is out with a computer that is ultra fast to the nth power with speeds of 1 PetaFlops. I cannot comprehend a billion let alone PetaFlops (a thousand trillion floating point operations per second).
These are just numbers we read about. However, the old adage “To catch a fly, you must be faster than the fly” must hold true when the time comes to test these super fast computers. I reckon IBM must have developed some kind of oscilloscope that is faster than the latest “fly” to catch it.
No more dummies used???
Some of these companies probably still test their products using dummies. But apparently those tests cost a lot, especially in human lives – well, dummies are humans too except that they don’t breathe, we are told they are already dead [lies, lies, lies]. Supercomputers, the fastest class of high-performance computers, cost more than $500,000, according to research firm IDC in Framingham, Massachusetts.
As of September 2010…
The fastest-known (and unknown as well) supercomputer is the Jaguar, built by Cray, which has a peak speed of 2.33 PetaFlops. IBM is developing a supercomputer called Sequoia that will have a peak speed of 20 PetaFlops – equal to today’s speediest two million laptops.
The largest supercomputers can consume from 1 megawatt to 10 MW of energy. At a retail level, 10 MW cost about $20 million a year. Supercomputing facilities typically negotiate deals with electric power suppliers.
Who is doing What with supercomputers
- Engineers at GM simulate the new 2011 Chevrolet Cruze
- Boeing used them in developing the 787 Dreamliner
- DreamWorks Animation SKG made movies Shrek and Kung Fu Panda
- Eli Lilly & Co. scientists research new pharmaceuticals
- Chevron does seismic imaging that led to the discovery of new reservoirs of oil in the Gulf of Mexico [so that BP can have a spill all over the Gulf of Mexico]
- Speedo International models the swimsuit Michael Phelps wore at the 2008 Olympics. [Rest assured you won’t die from your swimsuits. They were designed and tested by supercomputers]
In the good old days…
Back in the 1950s and 60s, GM didn’t use supercomputers of today’s caliber, but its cars seemed to be a lot better than what we have in the market today. Was it because there was no competition? Was it because Americans didn’t keep cars more than 3 years and we never knew their reliability and durability? Is using supercomputer a hype in building, for example, new cars? I guess any kind of research will never show that, now will it?.
In a Nutshell
I know human and other kinds have benefited from these designs and tests and we are all thankful to guys and gals that are working to make our lives better. Three cheers for the work done – hip hip [hooray], hip hip [hooray], hip hip [hooray]. I can’t hear you anyway so save your breath.