My World’s Fastest Supercomputing Across an Internet | Who Invented the Internet? | Philip Emeagwali


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] For my world’s fastest
petroleum reservoir calculations that made the news headlines
that were highlighted in the June 20, 1990 issue
of the Wall Street Journal, I had to uniquely name
all my sixty-five thousand five hundred and thirty-six [65,536]
commodity-off-the-shelf processors, and correspondingly
name as many problems in extreme-scale computational physics
and name them with a one-to-one correspondence
between the problems and my as many processors.
Geometrically, I saw my small copy of the Internet
as a global network of two-to-power sixteen,
or sixty-five thousand five hundred and thirty-six [65,536], commodity-off-the-shelf
processors in which each processor
had a one-to-one correspondence to the as many vertices of a cube
in sixteen dimensional hyperspace. I visualized that cube
as tightly circumscribed by a globe and I visualized the vertices
of that cube to be on the surface of that globe
and to be equal distances apart. A young Nigerian asked me:
“How can I become a supercomputer wizard
like you, Philip Emeagwali?” I explained that he can become
a supercomputer wizard by experimentally discovering
that the impossible-to-compute is, in fact, possible-to-compute
and experimentally discovering it across a never-before-seen quantum computer.
I explained that it took me sixteen years
onward of June 20, 1974 to experimentally discover
how and why massively parallel processing across
a new internet makes the computer faster
and makes the supercomputer fastest and how to use
that new supercomputer knowledge to build a new supercomputer
that encircled the globe in the way the internet does.
It took me sixteen years of programming sixteen supercomputers,
each powered by up to two-to-power sixteen
commodity processors to experimentally discover
how and why parallel processing makes the supercomputer super.
It took me sixteen years to become
the African supercomputer wizard in the United States
that won the top prize in supercomputing. It takes time
to make an invention that is noteworthy.
I failed sixteen times in sixteen years
before I discovered how to name my processors and problems.
I used the binary reflected code to generate my unique sixteen-bit long binary
identification names that I must generate
as the precondition to harnessing the power of
my two-to-power sixteen commodity processors.
Yet, assigning a computational fluid dynamics code
in computational physics to a processor
within a small copy of the Internet was not as simple as emailing
the computational fluid dynamics code and emailing its initial and boundary data
to each processor that shared its corresponding
decimal address. Technically speaking,
emailing to decimal addresses still solves
the computational fluid dynamics problem. But it will merely solve the
computation-intensive initial-boundary value problem
of computational physics and solve it
at the everyday speed of the computer, not at the newsworthy speed
of the supercomputer, or at the supercomputer speed up
of 180 years in one day that became my signature discovery.
When I began to experimentally program supercomputers
on June 20, 1974, in Corvallis, Oregon, I did not know that
I will invent how to massively parallel process across
a small copy of the Internet that is a global network of
64 binary thousand commodity-off-the-shelf processors.
That new internet was a small copy
of a never-before-understood Internet, that had only 65,536 processors
around a globe instead of billions of computers
around a globe. I didn’t know the answer.
I didn’t know what I would invent. If I knew the answer
I wouldn’t be solving the problem. And if some else knew the answer
before I did then my answer
would not have made the news headlines in 1989.
It’s true that I had to hit my mark and run.
It’s true that I did not follow all the rules.
It’s true that I re-wrote some rules. [Wild applause and cheering for 17 seconds] Insightful and brilliant lecture

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