Thursday, March 8, 2012


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.


Maureen Jacobs said...


ron m said...

When will we learn that bigger is not always better? I have a few hundred channels on my cable tv but there's nothing on. There's an old saying in the computer biz..."garbage in..garbage out". Like E.F. Shumacher wrote"Small is Beautiful"

Anonymous said...

I love your drawing and crown Em. Greed and power to be King of the world is sort of scary. Have you seen the movie-WARGAMES? The true power of a King computer is revealed in it and it almost destroys the world. Being King doesn't always mean being the best! kam

Carola said...

Given California's budget problems, we won't be seeing so many major goodies there any more.

Maureen said...

Really, I wanted to it that WE are the kings and queens of the world. We can make anything happen. As for the others who relish in superiority, those are fueled by their greed.

Ameer S. Washington said...

Everyone's jockeying for position, but more so to deter than to actually engage in much combat. The world is becoming a mosh pit of economic interaction, and since it seems money makes the world go round, that balance will not be upset. It seems to kind of be boys and their toys. And in music it's always said that its not the equipment, but how you use it. A masterpiece can be made on a less sophisticated instrument by a master of the craft. Whereas a rookie would have trouble with the newest $3500 Yamaha Motif.

I'm comfortable with the position of the United States physically and figuratively in the world with regard to my safety. We simply need to make more of an effort at home to build the American ideology back up, cut down on racism, and secure our borders. Improvement in education across the board and a refashioning of Wall Street would help a great deal.

Kaye Francis said...

These computers ~ they all look too big & too vast to be installed where I need it most ~ between my own two ears.
* * *
Sigh, I guess I'll have to figure out a way to re-tool that which I already have.
* * *
As far as KING OF THE WORLD, dare I think & state that far too many people aspire to just that description.
* * *
For me 'ordinary' is just fine. I am so blessed with 'enough'. Should I ever be lauded as 'Lady o my home' ~ that might just be fine too.
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Hugzz Ms. EM, your John Cullum & FAMILY. I'm @grammakaye on twitter.