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Pasta Outperforms Computers For Earthquake Modeling 32

Judebert writes "Looks like Penn State has gone organic... at least where earthquake prediction is concerned. OK, really, they were trying to physically model friction forces, with respect to earthquakes. Since the glass tubes they needed were slow to arrive, they substituted angel hair pasta instead. (Does anyone but me think this sentence should be followed by "Hilarity Ensues"?) Apparently this physical model gives better (and faster) results than the numerical model they use on their computers. Instead of slashdotting Penn, you can also check out the near-perfect duplicate article at Science Daily."
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Pasta Outperforms Computers For Earthquake Modeling

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  • Of course this has to be reported right on the day I start the Atkins Diet... :)
  • Penn is short for the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school in Philadelphia for rich people too dumb to get into Princeton, Yale, Harvard of Cornell, and famous for being the alma mater of those whinging crybabies of Thirtysomething.

    Penn State is a cheap state school in the middle of Pennsylvania famous for alcohol overconsumption and Joe Paterno.
    • it is also a much better school for engineering than any in the ivy league (except maybe cornell)
      • Debatable. I go to Cornell, and I think of Princeton and Cornell as roughly equal in engineering, and significantly different from the rest of the Ivy League. I have a CS-centric view of things though. Penn is certainly not a bad school for anything, and Penn State is respectable for engineering. I think of their engineering programs as roughly equal.
    • I'd always heard that "Ivy League" referred to the Four (hence "IV"), none of which I attended, either. However, that would exclude the University of Pennsylvania, as not even they could make IV equal 5.

      Man Gets 70mpg in Homemade Car-Made from a Mainframe Computer []

      • There were four at the time it was named there are now 8 (harvard, yale, brown, princeton, cornell, penn, columbia, and dartmoth)...

        Much like there are 11 in the big 10 (illinois, iowa, wisconsin, indiana, purdue, ohio state, michigan, michigan state, penn state, minnisota and morthwestern), of which penn state is, I think, the 11th member.
        • The Ivy League originally refered to an athletic organization. The point of which was to have real schollar-athletes and therefore did not grant athletic scholarships.
      • Ivy = Yale Harvard Princeton Columbia Dartmouth Cornell Penn and of course, Brown.

        its a old football league, nothing more.

        get over it.
    • At least you're correct about the name difference. But you're wrong about Penn(not Penn State) being crappier than Cornell. Why would anyone go to Cornell instead of Penn? Not that I live by rankings, but US News ranks Penn(not Penn State) #4, tied with Stanford and MIT. And Cornell can't be found in the top ten! The only thing preventing Penn from getting the recognition is deserves is the name confusion.
      • Disclaimer: I go to Cornell. Blind adherence to the rankings is stupid. The main reason why Cornell's rating is relatively low is that a significant number of classes have more than 50 students, and according to US News & World Report, this is BAD. Apparently it is always better to have 10 classes of 30 students rather than one class of 300 students, regardless of teaching style. My personal experience has been that classes taught "in parallel" are on average not taught as well. Given ten professors (or TAs, as is more likely the case), all of them would teach the class if the lecture sizes were small, but only the best one would teach the class if there were one lecture. In addition, there are communication and coordination problems, because everyone has to cover the same curriculum. The factors that make someone choose one school instead of another are varied and complex. I did not even apply to Penn because I wanted to go to school at least a hundred miles or so away.
    • Ummm, most Penn Students, (including myself) are on financial aid. In fact, Ivy League schools are terrific deals if you're in the lower income tax bracket. Admission is need blind, which means that family income plays no part in admission, and the school commits to subsidizing your tuition (with grants and low interest loans) to the full amount you need. Harvard and Princeton, IIRC, even drop the loan part. As for being famous for being the "alma mater of those whinging [what is that, a combination of whining and cringing?] crybabies of Thirtysomething," this is the first I've heard of it. I prefer to focus on Ivanka Trump being in the same class as myself.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Well, at least everyone that I know who attends Penn State is capable of spelling 'whining'.
    • When I attended Penn in the 70's, it was an excellent school but had not yet become the media darling (US News and World Reports rank #5) that it is today. Penn State was much more famous due to the football team, and in many circles still is today. Many students wore t-shirts with the saying "Not Penn State", since a Penn shirt worn off campus frequently brought up the topic of how those Nittany Lions.
  • Did they determine whether butter, olive oil, cream-based sauce, or tomato-based sauce was best for lubricating quake-prone faults to prevent "the big one"?
  • What Fun! (Score:2, Funny)

    by zomB1kenoB ( 629547 )
    Now I can use that "On Top of Spaghetti" song to teach geology to my 4-year-old!
  • Penn St. != Penn (Score:2, Informative)

    by jkc120 ( 104731 )
    Just a minor nit pick. Those of us who graduated from Penn State hate it when people call it "Penn". Penn == University of Pennsylvania, the Ivy League school.
  • So... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Craig Maloney ( 1104 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @07:06PM (#5029298) Homepage
    Does this mean they'll be Penne State? :)
  • actually it is not so strange that they subsituted the glass rods by pasta, once you know that every year a pasta construction match is held. At different universities around the world architecture students have to make the strongest building (or bridge) design out of pasta. Since pasta is easy to break, several fundamental principles of architecture (and physics of course) can be illustrated this way.

    - still waiting for the fullsized skyscraper from pasta
  • Will this pasta stick to the ceiling when it's done? I've heard of it, but I've never actually thrown pasta at a wall to test if its done... SPLAT! earthquake occured. and you can eat your results too. mmmmmmmm.... lasagna.
  • So this makes angel hair pasta a Turing Oracle? Or is it just that their computational model is not optimal?

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray