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Monday, October 31, 2005

IBM Supercomputer Faster

The most powerful computer on the planet has broken its own record — now able to do more than twice the number of calculations per second. IBM's Blue Gene/L supercomputer can now do 280.6 teraflops — 280.6 trillion calculations a second. This makes it twice as fast as when it was ranked the most powerful computer on earth in June — every six months the fastest supercomputers are ranked by experts.

The machine, housed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, has quadrupled its performance in 12 months. At its current speed, Blue Gene can do more calculations per second than every person in the world armed with a handheld calculator would be able to do in decades. Previously under development, Blue Gene/L now joins another supercomputer ASC Purple working on protecting the USA's nuclear stockpile.

Purple on its own is capable of 100 Teraflops, or 100 trillion floating point calculations per second. When combined, the two machines are capable of nearly 400 Teraflops, that is nearly half a petaflop. IBM tries to put this number in context by pointing out that "if every person in the world had a hand-held calculator it would still take decades to perform the number of calculations Blue Gene performs every single second".

Blue Gene will work on materials ageing calculations, molecular dynamics, material modelling as well as turbulence and instability in hydrodynamics. Purple will then use that information to run 3D weapons codes needed to simulate nuclear weapons performance quickly. The rest of the time, the enormous processing power will be brought to bear on modelling the human brain, and other computationally intensive scientific research.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Simulink's Solver

Simulink from Mathworks is a platform for multidomain simulation and mode-based
design of dynamic systems. After building your model in Simulink one can simulate its
dynamic behavior and view the results live. Simulink provides several features and tools
to ensure the speed and accuracy of simulation. These are fixed- and variable-step
solvers and a graphical debugger.

Solvers are numerical integration algorithms that compute the system dynamics over
time using information contained in the model. Simulink provides solvers to support the simulation of a broad range of systems, including continuous-time (analog),
discrete-time (digital), hybrid (mixed-signal), and mutirate systems of any size.

These solvers can simulate stiff systems and systems with state events, such as
discontinuities, including instantaneous changes in system dynamics. While specifying
simulation options, one can also select the type and properties of these solvers.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

NAG Academics

NAG has developed the Academic Community Program to
allow universities and other degree granting institutions
freedom from the usual restrictions found within standard
software licence agreements. This ensures that both staff
and students can work with ease either independently or
as part of a wider collaborative project. There are even ways to allow those
not working within the site to use the software and contribute to projects.

NAG Products in the program are grouped together for ease of purchasing
and licences are available for both site-wide and departmental usage. The
program is available for worldwide degree granting learning institutions with
variances for those in North America and Japan.

For more information on the program visit www.nag.co.uk/info/scacademia