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Science

Earth Simulator Sees Green Light 230

Posted by Hemos
from the making-the-system-better dept.
burbs writes "Big Blue's dominator is getting closer to being turned on. The Earth Simulator in Japan is, supposedly, the world's fastest parallel-processing supercomputer. Designed for the Earth's weather, the computer should be able to predict climate for the entire planet for thousands of years in a short amount of time."
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Earth Simulator Sees Green Light

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  • by Saib0t (204692) <saibot@ h e s peria-mud.org> on Thursday September 20, 2001 @04:27AM (#2324193)
    I don't know much about meteorology, but isn't predicting the wheather a tad difficult?
    Besides, to be able to precisely model the earth's climate, they would need to have measures for about every (mathematical) point of the earth at a given time, which is not possible... Unless they go for an approximation, and then chaos theory kicks in and their 'thousands of years in advance' prediction is worth nothing. (the butterfly - hurricane thing anyone?)

    Am I missing something there?

    • Wouldn't it be possible to predict large trends without detailed knowledge about every spot? After all, most of the yearly variations in climate are pretty similar over a 10-25 year scale.
    • Even if the computer did know the exact state of every single atmospheric molecule on the planet, things like metiorites, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions would changes things around, at least by a tiny bit, and then the Butterfly Effect comes back. So a 1,000 prediction is pretty ify.

      • You beat me to it on the butterfly effect, but what the article is unclear on is what they expect to predict for 1,000 years hence. I doubt they are expecting miracles like "It's going to rain in Spain on 20th Sept. 3001", but rather stuff like "average rainfall globallaly will be up by 3001".

        Maybe. If that damn butterfly doesn't fart or something.

      • I believe even one airliner makes enough changes to have an effect on climate. Ok, regular flights can be accounted. Charter? No, they are as irregular as they can get.
    • The best part about weather forcasting isn't even Chaos theory. I mean, yes, there are infinite variables which are immeasurable to the needed accuracy (infinite) but, even better yet, due to Quantum theory, a lot of these variables are probably truly random.

      No matter how powerful the computer, specific whether conditions will NEVER be able to be scientifically computed.

      Justin Dubs
    • Want an easy and cheap weather forecast? 'Tomorrow it will be like today' is a general thumb which is correct the majority of the time. Not much use for forecasts 1000 years hence, but handy for planning that camping trip/ sunbathing session/whatever tomorrow- and which is more useful to Joe Average?

      Having said that the shear scale and technical spec of this thing has me drooling- wouldn't be great to run SETI off this, they'd never need us @home peeps again!

      Oh, and before someone else says it- howabout Quake on a Beowulf cluster of these ;-).....
    • by xeeno (313431)
      I dunno about this one. Wouldn't you be solving some pretty harsh nonlinear d.e's in order to model weather correctly? AFIAK, the only real way to solve these things is to make assumptions about the boundary conditions and the parameters in the equations that simplify the equation in such a way as to make it solvable by means we do know. Not only that, you have mixed fluid equations - one equation for each type of particle in the atmosphere. You'll have boundary conditions on each layer of the atmosphere, and where things behave like plasmas you'll have an entirely new set of equations to consider. It sounds like there are way, way, way to many considerations that go into an exact solution of an atmospheric model. So, solving a 1000 years in advance seems ridiculous. I'd be happy if we could solve a day in advance!
  • 1000 Years? I dont think so.
    The weather is a chaotic process. that means little errors in the input of any weather formula produce big errors in the output. Over 1000 years, even if you know the exact position of every molecyle exept one, this one will produce such a large error, that the results are unuseable.

    Or did i miss something?
    • Reading the article, it seems the 1000 years bit is just looking at trends ( thats ignoring the typical journalistic simplistic spin ).

      If you put a kettle filled with water on a stove, you know that in x minutes it will boil. You don't need to know the exact position of every water molecule ( except of course, the position is somewhere inside the kettle ). That is akin to the 1000 year forecast.

      If you want to calculate all the eddies (sp?) and convection currents within the kettle ( ie like an accurate daily forcast ) you do need to know positions and state of each part of the water mass, down to molecules if you want to be realy accurate.

      Of cause, rounding errors will probable give greater problems.
      • If you put a kettle filled with water on a stove, you know that in x minutes it will boil. You don't need to know the exact position of every water molecule ( except of course, the position is somewhere inside the kettle ). That is akin to the 1000 year forecast.

        Sorry, but the climate is not a kettle when it comes to it's deterministicity (that a real word?) and it has little to do with rounding errors either. Weather and climate are chaotic systems even the larger scale trends depend on the tiniest errors in input. Even predictions like the average temperature over certain century go beyond reach as the feedback due to energy absorption depends on clouds etc etc.

        Weather is a phenomenon that will _never_ be predicted that far. It's simply because the input affects output exponentially within time. So no matter the computing power or measurement accuracy in a rather short period of time the prediction will loose it's accuracy.

        But do not be mistaken here, naturally there are such kettle-like behaviours involved in climate and weather changes aswell (like during winter it tends to be colder than during summer in northern hemisphere) which are rather trivial though. The more interesting some weather change is the more likely it is affected by chaos, and that's simply because what makes it interesting is just that unpredictability.
      • If you put a kettle filled with water on a stove, you know that in x minutes it will boil. You don't need to know the exact position of every water molecule ( except of course, the position is somewhere inside the kettle ).
        Not necessarily; you may know when the temperature reaches 100C, but not when it will boil.
        Unless, of course, you know something I don't - which is likely!
  • hmmm. well, i think i don't get it right here... please tell me where my logic is wrong.
    1. the earths climate is dependant on the waether
    2. weather can't be exactly forecast because of the chaos theory which says that in wheather there is an infinite number of variables.

    so, either this earth computer can deal with infinite numbers of variables ot it just takes a wild guess... (predicting waht the climate will be thousand years is easy, i say it will be cold - proove me wrong in 1000 years)
    massive parallel computing is a cool thing, but there are certain things that can't be solved with computers and i think weather forecasting is one of those things.
    • 1. The climate is not dependant on the weather, it's more like the reverse, the weather is dependant on the climate. When you go to a certain place the climate of that place will tell you what kind of weather to expect.

      2. Chaos theory - I've seen it mentioned here a lot but I haven't seen any understanding on it beyond the popular "butterfly flapping" part. It's not about infinite variables, Chaos theory is about solving large systems of differential equations where a small error in the initial conditions can lead towards large errors in the solution. So it's not about anything physical , it's more about instability of the process itself.
      • Actually the systems of differential equations do not have
        to be large for chaos theory to apply. The point is
        that a chaotic system has no linear solution.
        • I think what you mean is that chaotic systems have to be non-linear (note that not all non-linear systems are chaotic). Also, you do not need differential equations.

          Basically, you can define chaos as sensitive dependence on initial conditions. Consider the following very simple example:

          Xn+1= A*Xn*(1-Xn)

          This is known as the Logistic Map. You can think of it as a population model where X0 is the initial population, Xn is the population at generation n, and A is the rate of growth. The (1-Xn) term models death in every generation.

          Now Play with this:

          start with x0=0.1 and A = 4 and iterate
          the X values look something like:

          0.1
          0.36
          0.9216
          0.28901376
          0.821939226

          for 5 generations.

          Change X0 to 0.11 and rerun the simulation

          0.11
          0.3916
          0.95299776
          0.179172118
          0.58827788

          There's your "butterfly effect." No matter how little you change X0, the solution will diverge.
          Just imagine this with several thousand more variables!

          (Note: play with A and you'll see that some cases of this system are not chaotic)

  • by Borogove (95793)
    Predicting the weather for more than a month in advance isn't a matter of computing power. You could build a planet-sized computer and still not be able to predict whether it's going to rain in 30 days time.

    The problem is not how well you process all the data: it's a question of finding all those bloody butterflies and stopping them from flapping their wings.
  • Douglas Adams [douglasadams.com] predicted this, didn't he?
    ...and you shall call it 'The Earth'
  • Its easy to predict the weather from this: since it has so much processing power, once they turn it on, it will become self aware, declare war on all mankind, and launch the all missiles, thereby plunging the world into a nuclear winter that will last a 1000 years.
  • It could never predict British weather no matter how advanced. We usually cant even forcast whether it will be a nice day tomorrow or a thunderstorm.

    I remember one day when it was blazing hot sunshine in the morning, afternoon it was pouring with rain, then it snowed in the evening.
    Only in Britain i tell you.

    Thats why the British always comment on the weather, because you never have any idea what its going to be like, also the 'be prepared for any condition' attitude.

    heh.

  • by weinford (97037)
    Oh my god, just imagine they would use this machine for something really useful, like, say, SETI? No?
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Thursday September 20, 2001 @04:43AM (#2324225) Homepage Journal
    Seems that if each one of these wonders requires a "city-scale" power generation plant that they would have to model themselves into the equation too.

    Result: Global Warming is indeed occuring, but apparently it is mainly IBM's fault.

  • I suppose if it "sees green", that's the outcome we were hoping for.

    But it must be one heck of a computer, to see the result of the simulation before they ever power it up.
    • by Lerc (71477)
      It's because they are using new superconducting processing elements that contain electrons with an equal probability of being in any particular position of the superconducter. As other elements pull these electrons off the probability wave collapses and the absence of the electron can be detected on the other side of the superconductor sooner than it would have taken light to travel this far. With this resulting Faster than light communication goes the associated backward time effects. This means the signals are processed for the proceeding operations first. As a result the first visible operation performed is the output.

      There have been notable technical difficulties in getting the system up and running, not least of which involves convincing the engineers that they have to connect more than just the monitor up to make it work even though the results are already being displayed. They just don't get this destiny thing.
  • I wonder if it takes into consideration how man affects climate... Will it be able to predict new technologies in 100 years that could alter the earth's climate forever?
  • So.. it will try to predict weather around the globe for years... uhuh.. sure...

    Does it take into account unforseen disasters that will change the nescesary variables.. for instance vulcanic eruptions or global warming which is not predictable at all.

    I would like to know what they do about these things so they can really predict things...

    The article also states that the supercomputer can and probably will be used for all kinds of different modelling/simulations.

    It also says that most software is probably flawed for now but it won't be for long i guess..

    Will it be possible to open this baby for all kind of researchers all over the world instead of only a few japanese research groups?
  • Climate, not weather (Score:5, Informative)

    by cperciva (102828) on Thursday September 20, 2001 @04:52AM (#2324246) Homepage
    A number of posters are confusing climate modelling with weather prediction. Weather prediction -- working out if it will rain tomorrow -- is very difficult because weather systems are chaotic. Climate prediction, however -- working out how large an effect increased CO2 emmisions will have on global warming -- is easy by comparison... at least in theory.

    The problem with climate modelling is that the models right now incorporate large numbers of "fudge factors", and by setting those appropriately you can get whatever outcome you want from your modelling. Of course, without those fudge factors the Earth would be somewhere around -40C most of the time, so you can't just throw them out.

    In short, good models exist for weather, but weather is chaotic so you can't predict much anyway. Bad models exist for climate, but at least it isn't chaotic (as far as we know).
    • Read the article please...

      It says there at the first paragraph that it will be used to "bring precise weather and global-warming predictions".

    • Not only are our models bad, they're way off the mark. So don't hold your breath. A supercomputer will bring faster results, but the results will still be wrong.

      If you're going to model earth climate, you should at the very least bring in the complexities of the sun into equation, and not just as a constant source of radiation. You'd also have to predict the future of nuke-testing, as these have been shown to affect both solar flares and earth climate. I couldn't find a better link than this [allanstime.com] explaining it, but I've seen that argument in other places too. Wether it's true or not is beside the question, it's the price you have to pay for searching for new answers.

      - Steeltoe
      • You'd also have to predict the future of nuke-testing, as these have been shown to affect both solar flares (..) Care to give a reference ?
      • Your reference [allanstime.com] seems to be from a crackpot. He uses a lot of nice sounding words, but the overall pictures he tries to paint is inconsistent. This David Allan has these great theories, including a "Unified Field Theory", that purport to explain everything, yet his theory seems to be limited cartoon explanations involving new forces. Plus the only references the guy seems to have are to his own papers, and he only has papers in conference proceedings, not refereed journals.

        Anyway, I agree that solar input has to be included in climate models, and I'm pretty sure it is. The problem is our understanding of the long term cycle of the Sun still is uncertain as well. As for nuclear testing affecting other things, its possible that nuclear testing has some small effects on the climate, but I can imagine how it could effect the Sun and solar flares. I find that unlikely to the extreme. Its seems like someone probably found some small degree of corellation between nuclear testing and solar flares, and then said that this corellation implied causation. Not a very convincing argument, to say the least.

    • by Kynde (324134) <kynde@noSpam.iki.fi> on Thursday September 20, 2001 @06:41AM (#2324399)
      A number of posters are confusing climate modelling with weather prediction. Weather prediction -- working out if it will rain tomorrow -- is very difficult because weather systems are chaotic. Climate prediction, however -- working out how large an effect increased CO2 emmisions will have on global warming -- is easy by comparison... at least in theory.

      A number of meteorologists are also confusing modelling with scientific modelling. Those larger scale climate models have little chance giving accurate predictions since there's absolutely no reason to assume that such models would not depend chaotically on the underlying small scale weather. Those forementioned fudge factors that climate models are plagued with are manifestation of just that.

      Even in more strict science circles people tend to resort to finding trends when the system vanishes out of scope. It's essential that the causality and predictability are present. Otherwise people wind up doing research based crap correlations. For example, for several years there's been really strong correlation between the number of Babtist preachers and number of people arrested for drinking in public. There's jack causality present as the dominant effect is the fluctuations in the population of US.

      Just because climate is a lot slower than weather allowing it to predicted for longer periods of time than weather and short term trends give reasonable short term predictions, just as it's possible for weather for a couple of days at a time, it's still chaotic.

      It's easy to blow the model out of practicality and show how shitload of CO2 emissions will create greenhouse effect. A lot shittier task is to work with real world figures and again work with a chaotic system. Don't get me wrong though, I'm absolutely all for the Co2 emission regulations and all.
    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday September 20, 2001 @07:00AM (#2324420) Homepage
      • Climate prediction, however -- working out how large an effect increased CO2 emmisions will have on global warming -- is easy by comparison... at least in theory

      Theory indeed.

      • IMB: We've predicted the climate for the next 1000 years!
      • Press: Assuming that major vulcanism or meteor impacts don't screw it up, right?
      • IBM: Oh, well, sure, assuming that doesn't happen.
      • Press: And the chances of that are...?
      • IBM: Uhh... about.. ummm... look! Flashing lights! Just like on Star Trek!
      • Press: Oooh! Pretty!
    • Of course, without those fudge factors the Earth would be somewhere around -40C most of the time, so you can't just throw them out.

      I'm sure you must have meant -40F not -40C, right? :-)

      Real engineers don't use the metric system! (For those of you that are only CS geeks, -40F and -40C are the same...)
  • Forecasting the weather for 1000 years? This can only be slashdot-typic journalism.

    Ever heared what metrologists call the butterfly effect?
    The puff a butterfly makes during flight will alter local weather a little, and this change will continue to influence in weather mechanics, until some months later this butterfly can originate an tornade on another continent. This is a very common example used in metrology.

    I suppose they mean they will calculate -climate-, and this only for the next -decades-, instead of 1000 years. I remember that these climate modules also had the difficulty that very small changes in input can dramatically change the output, like the emulation cell size. It's not that the output of the simulation grows more accurate as the cell size (of sky) grows smaller, the way it is is that the output changes totally on the choosen size in a chaotic way.

    • "We'll be able to squeeze 1,000 years of weather into three days of computing,"

      The above qoute is out of the "Far Eastern Economic Review" and is spoken out by one of the concerned scientists... nothing to do with /.

      Please READ THE ARTICLE BEFORE COMMENTING!
      • Please READ THE ARTICLE BEFORE COMMENTING!

        As /. demonstrates so aptly, news media are not always accurate. Sadly, even "quotes" are often either taken out of context or simply plain wrong. I myself have been quoted as saying numerous things which I have not said, and never would say.

        I expect the earlier poster did, in fact, read the article, but was knowledgeable enough to realize that the article got details wrong.
    • Ever heared what metrologists call the butterfly effect?

      Okay, so this is off topic, moderate me down if you must... but an earlier pair of posters mentioned the "butterfly effect" - which I'd not heard of - and the first thing that popped into my mind was Ray Bradbury's story "A Sound of Thunder". Granted, it's a different "butterfly effect", but it's the same basic ideas. Very small things (or differences) can have a devastating effect over the long haul.
    • Man, some moderators can be soooo nerving, how can something be 'overrated' if it has never been rated before? Huh? Remember some post starting with +2 :/
    • OK, from what I understand of chaos theory, the 'butterfly' affect as it is called is about something small and overlooked that has a capability of affecting the system to a great degree over time. Fair enough. There is also a part of it (It has ben a damn long time since I have studied chaos math) that states the larger the system and longer the time the more of these events are likely to happen and counter eachother to some degree leaving the general trend the same. The butterfly affects abnormally spike periods of the system not the entire 1000 years.
    • The puff a butterfly makes during flight will alter local weather a little, and this change will continue to influence in weather mechanics, until some months later this butterfly can originate an tornade on another continent.

      If that's what a butterfly can do, I shudder at what might happen in Europe the next time I have a burrito for lunch!

      I fart in your general direction! -Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • This machine is "intelligent" enough to realise the effect its enormous banks of processors will have on global warming.

    if (turned_on)
    return (WARM_CLIMATE);
    else
    return (OUTLOOK_NOT_SO_GOOD);
    endif;

    Tom.

    • People automatically assume a warmer climate is bad, something that can't exactly be claimed given we have no good scientific model for weather and climate modelling. Not enough understanding exists, and by some theories which are quite compelling (for example, read the book 'Chaos'), it may never be possible to predict the weather.


      Now, a warmer climate might be bad for a specific area or populace. Islands will probably dissapear as oceans rise, and coastal areas will be changed. There's more evidence that some areas might become wetter and better for agricultural production; that some marginal farmland might produce much higher yields, and that previously inhospitable areas in northern climates might become much more temperate. Of course, by the same blade, storms will possibly be more frequent and of higher magnitude.


      We just don't know. Global temperature change is an inevitable result of modern civilization. It's entirely possible that we're headed for huge disasters as a result of the dominance of man, and there's nothing "wrong" about that. We just need to develop technologies that prolong our stay here as long as possible until we can do something else. There -are- 6 billion people here, and most models project it stabilizing at around 12-20 billion. That's also a lot of minds working on the problem.

      • Blimey, and all I meant by OUTLOOK_NOT_SO_GOOD was a reference to the Magic 8 Ball....

        Tom.

        • If you live in a desert, poor, miserable area (like, oh, say, afganistan) which might benefit from increased rainfall and crop production, you might think that OUTLOOK_QUITE_GOOD.

  • it was a bit slower, and it was alway a day late - but it was dead accurate.
  • This is an incredibly powerful machine. In fact, when they tested it a while ago, there way a programming error, and before they succeeded in turning the thing off, it had caused a heatwave in much of Europe!
  • by orangesquid (79734) <.orangesquid. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Thursday September 20, 2001 @05:32AM (#2324306) Homepage Journal
    "Big Blue's dominator is getting closer to being turned on."

    Ooh, can I do it? I like to turn on dominators!

    Sticks and stones may break my bones
    But whips and chains excite me.
  • - don't worry. What they are talking about is climate, not weather. It's a bit like predicting that this winter is going to be colder than this summer - it doesn't require as much precision as predicting the weather: when it will rain or snow, the windspeed, cloud cover etc etc.
  • They must be talking about predicting the weather for L.A. for the next 1000 years.

    That's easy. Sunny.
  • What the "nodes" consist of - the article wasn't very specific - two multi-processor PC's per rack cabinet - sounds a lot like the RS-6000 based "nodes" that ASCI White uses. Those are two per rack cabinet, each with 8 CPU's and a shared memory structure - sounds similar.

    As for 1000 years of weather prediction, fine, but can it accurately predict the weather TOMORROW is what I want to know :)
    • No, they're 4 per rack cabinet with 16 processors each. ASCI White has 128 node cabinets for a total of 512 nodes and 8,192 375MHz POWER3 processors.
  • They are not trying to see if there will be 3" or 4" of rain in 2509. They are determining things such as major climate shifts. We know that the northern part of Aferica used to once be covered in grasslands...now it is harsh desert. We know that iceland used to be much more mild than it is now (there are still many green plants frozen stiff deep under ice). We know that the climate has a tencancy to shift over time affecting things such as rainfall patterns and temperature flucations. These are not caused by a butterfly's wings, these are caused by things such as the earth's tilt/wooble over the course of time. Wouldn't it be interesting to understand the "big picture" more than we do now?
  • The weather thing seems to me to just be an advert to the world that there is a new giant abacus. The comments about other stakeholder interests like weapons development, nuclear physics and biochemistry research taking a lower priority has a cautionary tone for cloud-watchers. More noteworthy than whether Kasparov's great grandchildren will need sunblock, is whether the mutants who survive the nuclear blast of the Bush-o-tron 3000 will have 2 or 3 finger mittens.
  • They think that politicians, who can't predict what will happen in the next few months, and scientists, who can't predict what will happen in the next few days, can forecast the weather for the next few thousand years just because one finances the other's uber-expensive simulation software.

    Its amazing that the public never suspects this scam.
  • Isn't this what quantum computers are designed to do? I tell ya, screw conventional computing and focus this computer effort to creating a better quantum computation effort.

    Eventually, we will have computers that will be able to figure out every course of action from any other given course of action... and the results will be orders of magnitude faster.

    --donabal
  • I have read that some of the earliest data points are from before world war 2, when we left a lot of bouys (sp?) to track the directions and temperature of the currents for trade. They were picked up decades later. Most of todays data, of course, probably comes from sattelite.
  • Wouldn't it be more usefull to be able to predict the weather for a location 2 days in advance with a greater than 50% accuracy?
  • Software willing, the Earth Simulator will accurately model the earth's oceans and atmosphere by calculating weather data collected by various, land, sea and space-based sensors at 10 kilometre-spaced points around the entire earth.

    Perhaps. But my pentium 100 can do the exact same thing in near real time.

  • Designed for the Earth's weather, the computer should be able to predict climate for the entire planet for thousands of years


    Don't know about your country, but using one of the fastest computers here in denmark, the danish weather institute [www.dmi.dk] can't predict the weather 100% correctly even a week ahead. This new computer can't be THAT fast!

  • Designed for the Earth's weather, the computer should be able to predict climate for the entire planet for thousands of years in a short amount of time."

    It is good to see that the climate for the coming millennia can be predicted in a short amount of time, since the calculation will have to be repeated every 4 to 5 days. Chaos is such a party pooper.

    Scary though: Imagine getting new weathercasts each day, predicting for the coming millennium. That weather girl had better be pretty gorgeous to keep it interesting.
  • Designed for the Earth's weather, the computer should be able to predict climate for the entire planet for thousands of years in a short amount of time."
    Here are my weather predictions for Seattle for the next thousand years:

    March through November: rain
    December through February: cold rain

  • There is a principal in control system theory that states that for a model to be accurate the model must be at least as complicated as the thing it is modelling. e.g. to truely model the universe you need something as complex as the universe. The same thing applies to the weather system.

    Being chaotic does not (in principal) deny the possibility of modelling. In fact we already have an operating implementation of the weather (look up).

    The weather is modelable, a distinction should made that modelable does not mean guarenteed accurate. Even if this system says that there is a 75% probablitity that it will rain in spain (mainly on the plain) tomorrow then that is still worth having.

    It seems unfair to dismiss work like this so quickly just because it is inherently impossible to predict with 100% accuracy.
  • Two words:

    Power Ball.
  • 'nuff said
  • So it's a Network of computers keeping track of the atmospheric conditions, like say the Sky.

    Hmmm.

  • Confusion (Score:2, Insightful)

    by C_James_B (458645)
    As my Geography teacher never tired of telling us, climate != weather.
    Climate is big and long-term. Weather is here and now. Not even the people who built that machine think it can predict world weather for one thousand years. There's just been a bit of a misunderstanding.
  • The Matrix (Score:2, Funny)

    by BubbaFett (47115)
    Hey. Wasn't The Matrix an earth simulator? Should we be worried?
  • Designed for the Earth's weather, the computer should be able to predict climate for the entire planet for thousands of years in a short amount of time.

    If they predict it ahead of time, we won't be surprised when it happens! Please write your representatives and ask the government to stop manipulating the weather!

  • Anyone ever seen the 13th Floor?

    This sounds quite familiar to that....an earth simulator...hmmmm.
  • correct me if I am wrong but wouldn't the climate be altered in case of an atmospheric nuclear explosion, somewhere ?

    In such case, declaring that IBM's machine may predict the world weather thousands years from now would mean it could also predict nuclear conflicts ?

    OK, now let's be serious, I believe that by mentioning thousands years from now, the author's intended to explain us that the dominator (isn't that a motorcycle name ?) could reajust its parameters to process new long-term forecasts in real time. Am I right this time ?
  • I believe how it works is that every 1000 years, the Earth Simulator comes out of his hole. If he sees his shadow, then it is 1000 more years of global warming.

    Washizu
  • Uhh, theres a flaw in that soup.
  • BTW, it's not Big Blue's dominator. This machine comes from NEC and i believe is based on the SX-5 supercomputer.

    The NEC SX-5 has the fastest CPU's in the supercomputing world. The main innovator for NEC Tadashi Watanabe is known as the Seymour Cray of Japan. Currently Cray has an agreement with NEC to resell the NEC supers, which are one of the only parallel vector machines still being produced. Cray stopped producing it's own version of these classic large PVP the Cray T90, and is now concentrating on the parallel, multithreaded and smaller PVP machines. Which left a gap at the high end, so Cray made the resellers agreement with NEC about 8 months ago

    This machine should be able to acheive a much higher percentage of peak performance in production codes because of the huge memory to CPU bandwidth and because of using a smaller number of very very fast CPU's, there should be less parallel sync overhead. This should reduce the non-parallel times (see Amdahls Law).

  • My local weatherman can't give an accurate precition of tomorrow's forecast, now I'll be able to get an inaccurate forecast for Australia too.

    Now that's technology!
  • From the article: "Imagine 50,000 of the latest personal computers working in unison on one program and you have an idea of the Earth Simulator's power.

    Gee, you mean like this [berkeley.edu]?

  • By networking hundreds of old farmers together...

    Man, I can tell today is going to be a long one...
  • does this thing give off? And does the climate model take this heat into account? And if this heat depends on the amount of computation done by the computer, you'd have to model that too. Ahh, my brain hurts.

  • This isn't designed to predict the weather in Omaha next Tuesday... or tell you the weather in Texas 1000 years from now....

    It's designed to analyze global climate change... which you CAN do, with a reasonable amount of accuracy.
  • Don't tell me I'm the only one who is reminded of Hitch-hiker's by the claim of a computer that can simulate the EARTH!!! :-)

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department

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