It's easier than ever before to get some quality time with one of the most powerful computers on Earth. The Department of Energy has increased the performance of two of its supercomputers more than fivefold, making 900 million processor-hours available to scientists, reports Wired. Expect that boost to lead to some seriously cool—and complicated—science.
“These are the only places in the world where you can do these types of simulations,” says a supernova researcher. "In the case of stars and dark matter, there’s a lot of physics going on." That physics includes investigations of galaxies, the dark matter surrounding the Milky Way, alternative fuels, and even weather. The research "would not be possible without petascale computing," says a DOE rep.