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Supercomputing Handhelds Technology

Supercomputing, There's an App For That 66

aarondubrow writes "Researchers at MIT have created an experimental system for smart phones that allows engineers to leverage the power of supercomputers for instant computation and analysis. The team performed a series of expensive high-fidelity simulations on the Ranger supercomputer to generate a small "reduced model" which was transferred to a Google Android smart phone. They were then able to solve engineering and fluid flow problems on the phone and visualize the results interactively. The project proved the potential for reduced order methods to perform real-time and reliable simulations for complicated problems on handheld devices."
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Supercomputing, There's an App For That

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  • PR Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

    by pigwiggle ( 882643 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @05:51PM (#33294538) Homepage

    The money quote "This is not the first time that model reduction algorithms have been used to ameliorate the complexities of large-scale physical simulations. The advantage of the system designed by Knezevic and his colleagues is its rigorous error bounds, which tell a user the range of possible solutions, and provide a metric of whether an answer is accurate or not. The error bounds are based on mathematical theory developed in Prof. Patera's research group at MIT over a number of years. "

    The research is about error bounds on coarse grained models. The smart phone is just hype.

  • Re:Not even... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ambitwistor ( 1041236 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @05:57PM (#33294636)

    Not really. In this case, the smart phone isn't simply rendering output of a supercomputer simulation.

  • Semantics, maybe... (Score:3, Informative)

    by mea37 ( 1201159 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @05:58PM (#33294638)

    ...but I'm going to go ahead and argue that they are not "performing supercomputing on a phone", because that kind of marketing doesn't belong in research.

    Yes, it could be very useful; I have no doubt it's just as useful as they claim. And yes, it allows someone in practice to solve a problem "in the field" with a phone, when otherwise a supercomputer might have to be used.

    But the supercomputing was done on a supercomputer in advance, when the reduced model was calculated. Its just that instead of giving one specific answer for one specific input, the supercomputer is returning an algorithm that will approximate the answer within known error bounds for a specified domain of inputs. Executing the algorithm isn't supercomputing (if it were, you couldn't do it in a few seconds on a phone); it's using the fruits of the earlier supercomputing that produced the algorithm.

  • by Kurofuneparry ( 1360993 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @06:53PM (#33295148)

    That's an RTFA comment right there.

    This isn't just a UI, it's a reduction of the algorithm provided by a supercomputer. However, I believe that this first set of lines is misleading, inaccurate, and likely an example of the writer not knowing what they're talking about:

    What if you could perform supercomputing calculations in real-time, on your smartphone ... Researchers ... have created an application that does just that.

    It doesn't do supercomputing because it isn't a supercomputer, it just makes an educated guess based on sitting at the supercomputer's knee and playing "monkey see, monkey do". Not a bad trick but the claim's overwrought.

  • Re:Not even... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ambitwistor ( 1041236 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @07:36PM (#33295510)

    I just re-read the article. What it sounds like they're doing is having the supercomputer craft a reduced order model which is optimized to a particular range of parameters. That suggests to me that they're constructing a perturbative model about some fixed solution that the supercomputer produces. Perturbative approximations are more accurate the closer they are to the "reference" solution. So the innovation appears to be: the user can specify what set of parameters they want to perturb about, and therefore construct a custom model which is optimized to perform well in the parameter range that user is interested in.

  • Re:marketing (Score:2, Informative)

    by jwpeterson ( 1299277 ) <> on Thursday August 19, 2010 @02:31PM (#33304944)

    Furthermore the article has no details on how the error bounds are calculated.

    Good point, if you are interested in the details of the error bounds, please check out our preprints below, and the references cited therein. [] []

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