Thursday, March 8, 2012
KING OF THE WORLD.
What, who is the King of the world?
It's childish to wonder who is King of the World, but I'm wondering.
What is a "king?" The KING is the most powerful entity who leads and rules whatever domain you're talking about.
What's "powerful?" One guy? a group of people? a country? a philosophy? Or is it weapons, formulas, knowledge? Is it know how?
Hey, I think, maybe, probably, it's a computer -- a massive, every-day-larger, more encompassing computer that knows this and that -- how to do this and that -- how to develop anything and everything.
What's the largest, most powerful computer in the world? Who has it?
Well ... we had it on a University of California campus. Have you noticed how many major goodies are on California campuses?
Tucked inside top-secret, heavily guarded buildings in Livermore, CA., near San Francisco, thousands of processors, linked together in parallel computers, have been cranking out 500 trillion operations per second, helping us design weapon systems, moderate climate change, crack codes, develop new life-changing things ... like drugs, cures for diseases that shorten our lives.
The USA was number one. Six months ago, when China pressed the button on "Tianhe-1A," in Tianjin, China. This computer is five times more powerful than the big mother computer at Livermore.
WHOA! A few weeks after China announced Tianhe-1A, Japan announced an even bigger supercomputer that bumped Tianhe-1A into second place.
Experts (scientists and economists who are watching, keeping tabs on who's the most powerful country in the world today) say China will soon leapfrog Japan again. Already, China has 74 of the 500 biggest supercomputers in the world, up from zero a decade ago and second only to the U.S., which has 263.
That doesn't sound good, but Livermore Lab is now, mile-a-minute, designing an enormous new supercomputer. Code-named "Sequoia," it can yoke together more than a million microprocessors and produce eight times the power of the Tianhe-1A.
The fact is, the first pieces of Sequoia have started to arrive. It's 96 racks, each containing 32 slim little computers, stacked on top of each other like pizza boxes. Picture 1.6 million pizza-box-size processors hooked together. It's a yummy amazing, hopeful picture, but writing software that can run across them all is complicated, a very big deal -- nobody has ever written software for a platform like that.
So where does it stand?
IF the Livermore guys can raise the money, Sequoia could be operating by the end of 2012. Meanwhile, China has the money and they're working hard and fast on a new Tianhe-1A that'll leapfrog over Japan.
Wow! Is money IT -- the King?
Right now, in the U. S, we're pressing for health care, for paying off the debt, for money to repair and run the essential things in our government and fix the worn-out things that we need to fix so we can live.
I feel like a child, the kid mom took shopping, I wanted this, or 10 of that. Mom said no, and I learned to live without it.
Okay, we need to have the biggest, best, super-computer, but we can keep going, and continue to be America the Beautiful even if we can't be number one in pizza boxes, power, and money right now.
I think we'll be okay. We can live without being KING OF THE WORLD.