Philip Emeagwali and the World’s Fastest Supercomputer | Greatest Computer Scientists in History

Philip Emeagwali and the World’s Fastest Supercomputer | Greatest Computer Scientists in History


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

One thought to “Philip Emeagwali and the World’s Fastest Supercomputer | Greatest Computer Scientists in History”

  1. 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.

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