TIME magazine called him
“the unsung hero behind the Internet.” CNN called him “A Father of the Internet.”
President Bill Clinton called him “one of the great minds of the Information
Age.” He has been voted history’s greatest scientist
of African descent. He is Philip Emeagwali.
He is coming to Trinidad and Tobago to launch the 2008 Kwame Ture lecture series
on Sunday June 8 at the JFK [John F. Kennedy] auditorium
UWI [The University of the West Indies] Saint Augustine 5 p.m.
The Emancipation Support Committee invites you to come and hear this inspirational
mind address the theme:
“Crossing New Frontiers to Conquer Today’s Challenges.”
This lecture is one you cannot afford to miss. Admission is free.
So be there on Sunday June 8 5 p.m.
at the JFK auditorium UWI St. Augustine. [Wild applause and cheering for 22 seconds] I’m Philip Emeagwali. My experimental discovery
of 1989 of how and why parallel processing
makes modern computers faster and makes the new supercomputer
the fastest was not in the supercomputer textbooks
that were printed in the 1970s and ‘80s. That experimental discovery
of parallel processing was a real game changer
that ushered an explosion of research and the commercialization
of the modern supercomputer that computes many things at once.
In the 1980s, they was a big gap
between the fastest supercomputer we had
and the fastest supercomputer we needed.
I started my quest for the parallel processing supercomputer
with the question: “Can parallel processing
be experimentally confirmed?” I began my quest
for the fastest supercomputer by stating my parallel processing hypothesis,
namely, that I could evenly divide
each grand challenge problem of extreme-scale computational physics
and divide it into 65,536 less challenging problems.
My central experiments that led to my discovery
of parallel processing comprised of speed up measurements
across a new internet that I visualized
as my global network of 64 binary thousand processors.
After my decade of trial-and-error in programming loosely-coupled
ensembles of processors, I experimentally discovered
a speed increase of a factor of 64 binary thousand
and discovered that speedup across as many processors.
What made the news headlines in 1989
was that I experimentally discovered massively parallel processing
and invented the technology when supercomputer textbooks
considered computing many things at once and doing so to solve
extreme-scale problems in physics and beyond
to be both theoretically and physically impossible.
I discovered that parallel processing
is not a waste of time. I discovered that
computing many things at once makes modern computers faster
and makes the new supercomputer the fastest
and I invented how to use
that new supercomputer knowledge to build a new supercomputer.
My discovery of massively parallel processing
led me to discard the sequential processing hypothesis
that was erroneously formulated by Gene Amdahl back in April 1967
and that was the reigning supercomputing paradigm
of the 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s. My discovery
of massively parallel processing led me to discard
the vector processing hypothesis that was championed
by Seymour Cray and that was the reigning
supercomputing paradigm of the 1970s and ‘80s.
My discovery of parallel processing
made the news headlines and was in the June 20, 1990 issue
of The Wall Street Journal and was in the June 27, 1990 issue
of The Chronicle of Higher Education. The core essence
within those headline stories was the new supercomputer knowledge
of how and why the supercomputer scientist
must parallel process across processors that encircled the globe
in the way the internet does. That experimental discovery
is embodied in multifunctional computers and in all supercomputers.
It should be noted that the supercomputers of the past
were not used the way the supercomputers of the present
are used today. After World War Two
and after 1946, programmable supercomputers
were mainly used to solve textbook problems,
such as ordinary differential equations from calculus textbooks.
Seven decades later, the supercomputer that is powered by ten million
six hundred and forty-nine thousand six hundred [10,649,600]
commodity-off-the-shelf processors is used to solve global problems,
such as high-resolution, long-running general circulation models
that are used to foresee otherwise unforeseeable climate changes. [China’s Entry into Supercomputing] Back in 2006, China unveiled its plan
to invest 112 billion dollars in scientific research
and to do so by 2020. One of the products
from that ambitious quest was the world’s fastest supercomputer
that was made in China. That fastest supercomputer
was powered by parallel processing across ten million
six hundred and forty-nine thousand six hundred [10,649,600]
commodity-off-the-shelf processors. By 2020, China hopes that 60 percent
of its economic growth will arise from its investment
in high technology. The uncharted fields of knowledge
is the new land to be explored and colonized.
That new land is explored the way Mungo Park explored
the River Niger of West Africa. The exploration of Mungo Park
opened the door for Great Britain
to colonize my country of birth, Nigeria. I’m the Mungo Park
of the supercomputer world that was searching
for the fastest computation, ever. I was searching
for the new supercomputer that computes in parallel,
instead of in sequence. In the new land
of parallel processing supercomputers you’re either a colonizer or the colonized.
China intends to become a colonizer
in the frontier of science. Africa is still contented
with being colonized in the frontier of technology.
This is the reason the United States has raised an alarm cry
over the alarming resources that China is investing
to become a colonizer in the frontier of the supercomputer. [How I Was Mocked By Seymour Cray] The answers to the toughest questions
in extreme-scale computational physics were not in the physics textbooks
of the 1980s and earlier. I discovered the answers
to those tough questions and discovered them across
a new internet that is a global network of
64 binary thousand commodity-off-the-shelf processors,
or across a new internet that is a global network of
as many identical computers. My supercomputer discoveries
were not taught in the classrooms of the two decades
of the 1970s and ‘80s. My experimental discovery
of massively parallel processing opened the door to a revolution, namely,
computers and supercomputers that could solve many problems
at once, or in parallel. Back in the 1980s, both Gene Amdahl
of Amdahl’s Law fame and Seymour Cray
who pioneered vector processing technology for supercomputers
were the strongest opponents of incorporating
parallel processing technology into the modern supercomputer.
Seymour Cray is best remembered for ridiculing and rejecting
the massively parallel processing supercomputer
and for mocking the technology in his famous quote.
Seymour Cray joked: [quote]
“If you were plowing a field, which would you rather use:
Two strong oxen or 1,024 chickens?” [unquote]
In my experimental discovery of the massively parallel processing
supercomputer that occurred on the Fourth of July 1989
I used 65,536 chickens, instead of one strong oxen.
I was the strongest proponent of parallel processing.
For that reason, I was the lone wolf programmer
of the most massively parallel supercomputer ever built,
as of the 1980s. Seymour Cray
designed more vector processing supercomputers than anyone else designed.
As the most experienced supercomputer scientist that he was,
the supercomputer industry listened to Seymour Cray,
not to me, Philip Emeagwali. My experimental discovery
of how to solve a million or a billion computation-intensive problems
and how to solve them at once, or in parallel,
made the news headlines because I proved that the computer
powered by only one processor can do whatever the supercomputer
powered by ten million six hundred and forty-nine thousand
six hundred [10,649,600] commodity-off-the-shelf processors
can do, if and only if, the computer has 30,000 years
to compute what the supercomputer computed
in only one day. For that experimental discovery,
it is often said that Gene Amdahl is to
sequential processing supercomputers what Seymour Cray is to
vector processing supercomputers and what Philip Emeagwali is to
parallel processing supercomputers. [Wild applause and cheering for 17 seconds] Insightful and brilliant lecture