Supercomputers Supercharge Research

Scientists with big questions to benefit more from DOE's two behemoths
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2009 11:17 AM CDT
Some of the 284 computer cabinets making up the Department of Energy's Jaguar supercomputer in Oak Ridge, TN.   (AP Photo/Oak Ridge Nat. Lab)
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(Newser) – 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.