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Landmark Calculation Clears the Way To Answering How Matter Is Formed

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the universal-decay dept.

IBM 205

First time accepted submitter smazsyr writes "An international collaboration of scientists is reporting in landmark detail the decay process of a subatomic particle called a kaon – information that may help answer fundamental questions about how the universe began. The calculation in the study required 54 million processor hours on the IBM BlueGene/P supercomputer at Argonne National Laboratory, the equivalent of 281 days of computing with 8,000 processors. 'This calculation brings us closer to answering fundamental questions about how matter formed in the early universe and why we, and everything else we observe today, are made of matter and not anti-matter,' says a co-author of the paper."

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Science (0)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 2 years ago | (#40138811)

It computes!

Re:Science (5, Funny)

fatherjoecode (1725040) | more than 2 years ago | (#40138937)

And the answer is 42?

Re:Science (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139037)

Oops! Big brown one in the bowl. At least I hit the bowl, this time.

Oh yeah? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40138843)

The calculation in the study required 54 million processor hours on the IBM BlueGene/P supercomputer

If they'd hired real programmers, they could have run this on an Apple II in 15 minutes. But we all know how efficient "grad-ware" is.

Re:Oh yeah? (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#40138889)

They ran the calculation on one core. They needed the other 8191 to render the Aero desktop.

Re:Oh yeah? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40138899)

What kinda cunt system are you running that it performs so poorly?

Re:Oh yeah? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40138973)

FlaccidOS

Re:Oh yeah? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139275)

Windows.

Re:Oh yeah? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40138939)

ah ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaa dick.

Re:Oh yeah? (1)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 2 years ago | (#40138993)

it's all those damn recursions

Re:Oh yeah? (0)

dudpixel (1429789) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139097)

Why are they running it on the GPU?

Re:Oh yeah? (5, Funny)

networkzombie (921324) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139555)

How is this funny? Why would anyone mod this funny?

Re:Oh yeah? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139833)

stop having fun! .. guys?

Can someone please explain to me (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40138847)

Why does this matter?

Re:Can someone please explain to me (5, Funny)

InspectorGadget1964 (2439148) | more than 2 years ago | (#40138877)

Well, if there is no matter then certainly wouldn't matter as you wouldn't matter because there would be no matter to make someone like you ;-)

Re:Can someone please explain to me (2, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139171)

Heh. Well that's a bit optimistic. I mean there are no guarantees that there's enough matter out there to make someone like him. The best you can do is get them on a play-date!

Re:Can someone please explain to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139347)

What's the matter with you? Is it normal matter? Or it doesn't matter?

Re:Can someone please explain to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139047)

Ah, does it threaten your bronze age belief system?

Re:Can someone please explain to me (2)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139085)

Pfah, bronze!
Stone age beliefs were good enough for me da. They're good enough for me!

Re:Can someone please explain to me (4, Funny)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139157)

Biggest rock is best rock!

Frankly, it seems obvious to me...

Re:Can someone please explain to me (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139159)

As someone who has just re-watched James Burke's "Connections" I have an answer for you:

Basic science *never* appears to have any immediate applications in the here-and-now. But someone, somewhere, is going to look at bits of it and say "ah, wait, I can use this over here" and either advance more basic science, or start applying it to technology, aka, applied science. But we don't know who, which, how, when, or why. In general, that is how all change happens. It is why we can't look into the future and see all the implications of what we create today. You don't know how someone is going to look at what you did and have an insight into something else because of it.

If you think something is useless because you, personally, can't see the implications of what something is, the problem is not with the science or technology, or social concept (like the creation of the first stock market in the Netherlands, for example) and you judge it such, the problem is with you and your myopia. Putting limits on what science gets done because immediate results are not readily apparent does nothing but hinder progress, and society (you and me and everyone else) loses out in the long run.

James Clerk Maxwell's equations had *zero* immediate implications for society at the time, but here we are 150 years later with a society that would absolutely fall apart without them - no radio, no computers, no high tech at all.

Anyone who says that basic science is too unfocused needs sit down and be quiet and let the adults talk.

--
BMO

Re:Can someone please explain to me (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139273)

In other words; basic research is absolutely critical to scientific advancement, and those that have to ask why are ignorant of how we got to where we are now.

Re:Can someone please explain to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139287)

Can you explain to me why you think that matters?

There seems to be a pretty large scale misunderstanding that if someone does not understand how something works or why it matters, then it does not matter and is worthless. There have been people like you around since the start of humanity. "What good is that wheel?", "Powered flight? Pfft!", "Who needs a Pentium? My 486 DX does everything I need", etc. Fortunately, nobody else pays any attention to your kind.

Re:Can someone please explain to me (4, Funny)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139477)

Fortunately, nobody else pays any attention to your kind.

Until they amass in large quantities of stupidity that cannot be ignored. I prefer to call them Christians...

Re:Can someone please explain to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139599)

Yeah! Religious people can just turn to dust, die, and then get their bootysnaps tickled, easy! Wow! Such a thing!

Re:Can someone please explain to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139693)

Fortunately, nobody else pays any attention to your kind.

Until they amass in large quantities of stupidity that cannot be ignored. I prefer to call them Christians...

Lets be honest and call them Republicans.

281 days? (3, Informative)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#40138849)

Blue Gene uses quad core PowerPCs, with 8192 cores on the Argonne system. That's a heck of a lot of days of maxing out your CPUs!

Re:281 days? (1)

InspectorGadget1964 (2439148) | more than 2 years ago | (#40138893)

Well, it is actually 281.25. If we are talking about important stuff, lets do it right!

Re:281 days? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139091)

"54 million processor hours" does not have enough significant digits for you to assert that you right.

Re:281 days? (1, Insightful)

InspectorGadget1964 (2439148) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139339)

Are you sure about that? The article does not say "about 54 million processor hours". Instead it implies an exact amount. If they are inaccurate, I fail to see why you are complaining to me

Re:281 days? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139775)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Significant_figures

This is the kind of story that belongs on /. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40138853)

Help restore /. to it's former nerd news glory, tag stories like this with realslash to tell the editors that we want our favorite site back.

Re:This is the kind of story that belongs on /. (3, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139193)

Help restore /. to it's former nerd news glory..

Wait, when was this? I've been here since 99. From day one it was sensationalist stories about Microsoft, verbal fellatio for Linux and Mozilla, and people falling into a big dog-pile to make the first "this is not news!!!" comment.

Either I missed a very very brief period in Slashdot's history or somebody's looking back with rose-colored glasses.

Re:This is the kind of story that belongs on /. (5, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139209)

I don't know. One of the big things that originally hooked me was the tendency for people to 'run the numbers' when they had a disagreement with someone else. Now it seems that instead of putting numbers on the page it just degrades into accusations of people watching FOX news.

Re:This is the kind of story that belongs on /. (0)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139441)

I sort of agree with that. But I don't remember it being all that great. Most of the arguments I remember (and I'll admit I'm guilty of what I'm about to accuse others of) were never-ending piss-fests intended to save face. If somebody defeated you with logic or facts or whatever, your best bet was to find some inaccuracy somewhere in their post, even if off-topic, and point that out Then you could 'win' on that debate. You could defeat a pro-Microsoft post with grammar nazi'ism. I know I've made an ass of myself a few times, I cannot imagine others not remembering it being like that.

I don't really understand why my original post was modded down. If I really did miss some great era of Slashdot history I really would like to know about it. When I think back to 1999-2000, I remember lots of comments about how the Editors were useless, the news was twisted to grab eyeballs, dupe or old stories, and Slashdot was going down-hill. The only real difference I've seen in the last decade was we seem to have way more commentors who are... for lack of a better term... more 'mass-market' than the crowd Slashdot used to attract. I think this corroborates your comment about accusations of people watching Fox news.

Re:This is the kind of story that belongs on /. (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139615)

I wouldn't suggest that flame fests are new. I'm just suggesting that there used to be more people willing to 'run the numbers'. I never payed much mind to grammar nazis as I have pretty much always been aware that complaints about spelling and grammar are internet speak for "I agree 100% with the content of your post and don't want to admit it, so I will look for a typo instead." It has pretty much always been an acknowledgment that the other party had proven their point.

As with most thing in life, the quality/crap post situation is and always has been shades of gray. It is just a question of where on the gray scale the reader happens to draw their line compared to where the site currently sits.

All that being said, I'm not convinced it is all that bad now.

Re:This is the kind of story that belongs on /. (1)

DamienRBlack (1165691) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139459)

Got any number to back that up?

Re:This is the kind of story that belongs on /. (4, Funny)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139629)

4,6 and 33.

Re:This is the kind of story that belongs on /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139725)

Those sound like numbers that someone got from Fox News. Also, the 6 requires a comma: "4, 6, and 33"

Re:This is the kind of story that belongs on /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139765)

Numbers less than 100 should be written out. "Four, six, and thirty-three."

That is because of the subject matter of debate (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40140007)

One of the big things that originally hooked me was the tendency for people to 'run the numbers' when they had a disagreement with someone else.

Slashdot has always been full of flamewars...

The thing is, years ago it was hardly ever political flamewars. Flamewars about technical matters have an inherent ability for people to point to hard data about things, which kept the whole discussion somewhat tied to reality.

With politics, all bets are off - because you are talking about people with wildly different views about what is good for other groups of people, and even if they agree on THAT you have differences in how to achieve an end-goal. It's all about Seldonesque behaviors of the masses and there's no "numbers" you can run that someone else cannot simply dismiss away with their own numbers.

The reason for the spread of politics here is that inevitably, the spread of technology into the lives of every person means technology gets stuck in the tar baby of political motivation. Technology is simply part of the equation about how to change people in ways you deem most beneficial. So there's no going back to more reasoned discusson unless you want to remove technology from people's lives (some do, but I doubt the motive is to make Slashdot more readable).

It's not like you can make any OTHER site like the "old Slashdot" and have it be any different, due as I said to the intertwining of technology with everyone and politics being everywhere. We all just have to learn how to include politics in technical discourse without getting too heated and off track...

Re:That is because of the subject matter of debate (2)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 2 years ago | (#40140189)

I believe the reason that slashdot has become more politically polarized is that so has the rest of the polity. To be more precise, the rhetoric has become more polarized while the policies have become more similar, at least to the degree in which they represent the interests of the ruling class. Divide et impera. Also, legislation targeting computer technology has expanded as the influence of that technology has expanded. It took a relatively long time to go from the beginnings of the web to Wikileaks and the Arab Spring. I predict we are only at the beginning of the political changes effected by the Internet -- or perhaps I mean the beginning of the politicization of the Internet.

Re:This is the kind of story that belongs on /. (0)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#40140135)

Okay so 98 Se is king and ME is the antichrist. We have high hopes for Windows 2000 but all this talk of XP is disturbing. Vista sounds like a sad joke and Windows 8 sounds like a lame rip off of iOS so I question if it's real. I fantasize about going back to NT .351which was actually stable. Maybe I should have stuck with linux after all? Okay so the compromise is XP which is unsupported? I need a drink since Vista was a nightmare and I can't see Windows 8 as being better. I just want to run software so which is best? I'm nearing a bottle of Everclear and I still can't sort the mess out. Who is best for a heretic that doesn't care? Does anything work that doesn't require me to sign my soul over to the Devil?

Just another step closer... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40138855)

to the "that's just the way it is" condition. You can go back in time and talk about when the universe created. But then you have to determine the conditions, the rules the mechanics by which that universe was created. Then you have to ask how those rules, conditions and mechanics were created. If you can answer those steps, then you have iterated back just one more layer and will have to answer those questions all over again.

Unless those conditions, rules and mechanics iterate forever, you are forced to a certain point where the universe (or whatever layer you peel back to) just is. Call it "God" or just say that the universe or whatever just is the way that it is.

Re:Just another step closer... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40138925)

Sir, have you considered that maybe the universe is just a simulation? And if that is the case, we might be able to hack the simulator. Really, in what type of universe is there an arbitrary speed for light? And who really believes quantum mechanics isn't some grad student's little experiment to see what would happen in a simulated universe with such a crazy system.

Isn't it obvious? The only sane answer is to destroy the universe. We must crash the system so that this arrogant grad student fails out of school and can't go on to make other arbitrary universe simulations.

Re:Just another step closer... (2)

Drishmung (458368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139055)

Sir, have you considered that maybe the universe is just a simulation? And if that is the case, we might be able to hack the simulator.

Trust me, you don't want to do this. The last time I did it I ran into a nasty bug (grad student, remember? Bug free hardly likely) so, sorry for only three sexes now, even if I did get rid of Gharlane.

I'm not doing that again until I'm sure my part of the universe is unpageable. Who knows what other horrors lurk in the untested recesses of the garbage collector?

Re:Just another step closer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139121)

Welcome back Lovecraft. I see you're more techie now.

Re:Just another step closer... (2)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139481)

Sir, have you considered that maybe the universe is just a simulation? And if that is the case, we might be able to hack the simulator.

Trust me, you don't want to do this. The last time I did it I ran into a nasty bug (grad student, remember? Bug free hardly likely) so, sorry for only three sexes now, even if I did get rid of Gharlane.

I'm not doing that again until I'm sure my part of the universe is unpageable. Who knows what other horrors lurk in the untested recesses of the garbage collector?

Consider yourself lucky. My experiments led me to realizations that we all weren't even quite really human. In order to return to any semblance of a normal life I was forced to intentionally cause minor brain damage --a few tiny and carefully placed lesions on my amygdala to prevent certain impulses from reaching my hypothalamus. This had the intended and desired effect to prevent me from being fully aware of the actual reality that neither I, nor any other human, is actually quite really human.

FWIW, in reality, and from what I can recall after the rather intense PTSD amnesia therapy, we are more like horizontal window blinds than discrete biological entities... but made up of hundreds or thousands of homonculi, each with an individual and distinct persona. None of this is real... you are an amalgam of smaller individuals... as is everything... and I and anyone can be as easily deconstructed, mentally and physically, as one might peel apart the developed celluloid from an original Fellini print. Even self-awareness is an illusion, I still remember some of it, though thankfully, I am no longer fully conscious of that reality.

My strong recommendation to those that might want to explore these kinds of conscious realities is... don't bother. Why not instead just try enjoy the collected experiences you have come to know as your life? Perhaps ask out that nice girl you keep noticing? Even the inevitable emotional pain is far more desirable than becoming aware of the meta-reality. Trust me on this one, the real Truth just isn't worth the personal sacrifice.

Re:Just another step closer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139625)

"made up of hundreds or thousands of homonculi, each with an individual and distinct persona."

You mean thetans! Either you were serious (in which case give your psychiatrist my best), or you were unconsciously channeling L. Ron Hubbard.

Re:Just another step closer... (1)

InfiniteZero (587028) | more than 2 years ago | (#40138981)

Not necessarily. Our universe could merely be a manifestation of a mathematical structure, among an "ultimate ensemble" [wikipedia.org] of infinite and statistically equal mathematical structures (which manifest themselves as parallel universes with drastically different physics in each one). In other words, all rules and conditions arise out of pure statistics.

Re:Just another step closer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139063)

Ummmm... and those statistics are statistics based on what?

Re:Just another step closer... (5, Interesting)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139133)

There conceivably could be an infinite number of "parellel" universes, but there's a real philosophical problem with that. So long as we use the real physicists definitions and not something out of Stargate SG1, those parallels will always remain undetectable. SF writers tell stories about interacting with other universes - physicists define them in ways that show they can't be interacted with to be verified.
          An untestable idea isn't part of science. If it can't be disproven, it's philosophy or religion or something instead. An infinite number of untestable ideas is even worse. Philosophers get to whip out Occam's Razor at that point. If I claim that there is not only a God, but 7 different orders of angels totaling 144,000 beings working for him, those numbers are still simpler, in the sense Occam's Razor usually means, and so are to be preferred as a hypothesis. The same goes for a Million gods with an avarage of four arms each and a bunch of hidden cyclic time periods totalling quintillions of years for them to do their work in, or any of those models with a reasonably sized bunch of gods, and maybe some giants, dwarfs, dark elves, ninja turtles piza delivery robots, a billion clones of an invisible pink unicorn who died for your sins, riding on a gigantic fiberglass replical of L. Ron Hubbard, and so on. Just about any other idea looks preferrable to an idea that postulates an infinite number of unverifiable consequents.

Re:Just another step closer... (2)

randomencounter (653994) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139195)

Since the simplest of those options is "it just is that way", I'm afraid your army of invisible pink unicorns will have to return to the stable.

We can only test our own universe, though if we can detect edge interactions where it appears to be being acted upon by something undetectable that *might* be evidence for parallel universes (or even evidence for gods if the data points that way). We are definitely working at the edge of what can be known when looking at that sort of thing, though, so I wouldn't expect positive results any time soon.

Re:Just another step closer... (2)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139227)

We are way past 'what can be known' depending on the level of technology you are looking at. Or, maybe we are not even close to what can be known at a different level of technology. After all, it wasn't that long ago that the atom was the base particle and was not made up of smaller parts.

Re:Just another step closer... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139257)

There conceivably could be an infinite number of "parellel" universes, but there's a real philosophical problem with that. So long as we use the real physicists definitions and not something out of Stargate SG1, those parallels will always remain undetectable. SF writers tell stories about interacting with other universes - physicists define them in ways that show they can't be interacted with to be verified.

          An untestable idea isn't part of science. If it can't be disproven, it's philosophy or religion or something instead. An infinite number of untestable ideas is even worse. Philosophers get to whip out Occam's Razor at that point. If I claim that there is not only a God, but 7 different orders of angels totaling 144,000 beings working for him, those numbers are still simpler, in the sense Occam's Razor usually means, and so are to be preferred as a hypothesis. The same goes for a Million gods with an avarage of four arms each and a bunch of hidden cyclic time periods totalling quintillions of years for them to do their work in, or any of those models with a reasonably sized bunch of gods, and maybe some giants, dwarfs, dark elves, ninja turtles piza delivery robots, a billion clones of an invisible pink unicorn who died for your sins, riding on a gigantic fiberglass replical of L. Ron Hubbard, and so on. Just about any other idea looks preferrable to an idea that postulates an infinite number of unverifiable consequents.

An untested idea isn't science?

The scientific method is:
State the problem. Are there multiple universes?
Form a hypothesis. Yes there are other universes.
Test your hypothesis using experimentation and observation. I examine black holes and the mathmatics behind them. I also study the Cosmic Microwave Background that seems to have a cold spot in it (Source: Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman). The cold spot is potentially another universe's gravity pulling on our universe.
The hypothesis can be Proved, Disproved, or the results dismissed as inconclusive. Currently inconclusive. More data and experimentation is needed.
Rinse and repeat.
Please explain to me how running a simulation on the early universe using a supercomputer doesn't follow the scientific method?

In your mind there are only two states: Proved and Disproved, but there is also inconclusive.Inconclusive is potentially more important than Proved/Disproved because it forces us to continue to examine the universe and continue asking questions.

I don't see a philosophical problem as almost all religions already describe a multiversal structure. Buddhism and Hinduism have countless celestial and hellish realms and actually describe the universe as a giant net and at each knot is a gem. Enlarge it and clusters of gems become a universes within the net (multiversal) structure. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all believe in a three universe system of Heaven, Hell and Earth. You know eternal life after death and all that, but just because it is a philosophical concept doesn't mean it can't also be scientific.

Re:Just another step closer... (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#40140165)

An untested idea isn't science?

Science is all about a systematic way to study testable things and make predictions about them, so a definitely untestable idea isn't a scientific theory. It might be a hypothesis, or an interpretation, or any number of other things, but it is not a theory.

An example of something that is not scientific at all is this: "The Flying Spaghetti Monster created everything instantaneously 10 minutes ago, including all evidence of things before and all your memories." Whether or not it is true, it is completely untestable and science will therefore say nothing about it.

Re:Just another step closer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139391)

Occam's Razor doesn't necessarily mean numerically underwhelming, but conceptually simple and elegant.

Re:Just another step closer... (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139631)

There conceivably could be an infinite number of "parellel" universes, but there's a real philosophical problem with that. So long as we use the real physicists definitions and not something out of Stargate SG1, those parallels will always remain undetectable. SF writers tell stories about interacting with other universes - physicists define them in ways that show they can't be interacted with to be verified. An untestable idea isn't part of science.

Quite true. And while there is a component of such research that will appeal to the sci-fi or metaphysical crowds, it is still worth considering what such systems would imply. Question: what defines a parallel universe? To me, it is as simple as an ensemble of particles that does not interact with our universe via any of the 4 standard forces with which we are familiar. Once we start there, it can become scientific (ie, testable) again if we ask another simple question: could groups of particles that do not interact at standard temperatures begin interacting at extremely high energies? If the physics were to suggest such a thing, it could be made testable.

There is some precent for such notions - in general, at higher energies, things become more symmetric. A singularity is fully symmetric, and the big bang process resulted in our universe losing its symmetry as it cooled. The 4 major forces (or at least the 3 non-gravity) converge at high energies. It's not inconceivable that other types of symmetry were broken as the universe cooled - whether that symmetry breaking resulted in a preference for matter, or whether it resulted in multiple ensembles of matter that do not interact (ie, universes), remains to be seen.

But like everything else in fundamental physics, creating higher energies should be part of the experiment. And, as you say, it has to be scientific.

Re:Just another step closer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139945)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14372387

Testable.

Re:Just another step closer... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40140179)

Correct me if I'm wrong but Occam's Razor is generally the central element to an argument in favour of the existence of an infinite number of parallel universes. It helps explain arbitrary universal constants for one and, arguably, arbitrary physical laws. Depending on your view of the anthropic principles you might argue it helps with apparent randomness in quantum events. The idea of parallel universes usually comes about as a logical extrapolation, not so unlike suggesting that time goes on forever.

I'd much more easily believe in time being infinite or the existance of infinitely many undetectable parallel universes than "billions of clones of an invisible pink unicorn who died for my sins, riding on a gigantic fiberglass reblica of L. Ron Hubbard" thanks directly to Occam's Razor.

Re:Just another step closer... (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139205)

No no we peeled back the God layer quite some time ago. We are well past it.

Re:Just another step closer... (1, Troll)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139621)

Sorry, when was it conclusively proven that God doesn't exist? Last I heard, the only instruments we had for detecting the spiritual realm was some thetan e-meters.

I am skeptical (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40138865)

Easy prediction: the simulations will fail to produce the right amount of antimatter. Then some grad student will spend months changing every parameter. Then, after hundreds of runs, the necessary amount of antimatter will be simulated and it will be hailed as more evidence of the Big Bang. .. and the code won't even be in the published paper.

Re:I am skeptical (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139375)

Strange title, I don't see an ounce of skeptisisim in your post, but I do see a ton of bitterness and ad-homieniem.
Maybe a bit of pycological projection too? - Are you angry at yourself because you tried to cheat science and it ended badly for you?

Re:I am skeptical (1)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139529)

I'd mod this 'hilarious', but since I already posted in a few other places I will just comment "LOL" so everyone knows I laughed.

So... (1, Funny)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 2 years ago | (#40138875)

Can I order a "Raktajino, Hot" from my wall yet?

How is mater formed? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40138887)

how is mater formed
how universe get axpadned

Re:How is mater formed? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139715)

Damn, I wanted to say that. Even spelled it the same way I would have. Fine. I'll use my other joke then:

How is matter formed? Well, when a proton and a neutron love each other very much...

Not there yet... (1)

CanEHdian (1098955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40138891)

From TFA:

The next step in the research will be to determine the remaining unknown quantity that is important to understanding the difference between matter and anti-matter in kaon decay. This last quantity will either confirm the present theory or perhaps, if they are lucky, Blum says, point to a new understanding of physics.

It appears that both theoretically and computationally there is still some work to be done.

At least THIS time... (1)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 2 years ago | (#40138907)

They're not using Pentium III based parallel processing machines.... :-)

The answer is (3, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 2 years ago | (#40138915)

42. 42 kaons. Ha, ha, ha!

Re:The answer is (1)

ilsaloving (1534307) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139007)

o/~ And sometimes when I'm alone I *bleep* myself! o/~

I swear, that video completely destroyed The Count for me. ;)

Re:The answer is (1)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139129)

42. 42 kaons. Ha, ha, ha!

I wonder if this is the first time Sesame Street and HHGTTG have ever been combined into one geek reference?

So... can entropy be reversed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40138917)

Or is there still insufficient data for a meaningful answer?

Re:So... can entropy be reversed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139017)

Multivac has about another 49 years of thinking before it can even come back with that response.

So, uhhhh... How? (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#40138941)

(see subject)

Re:So, uhhhh... How? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139113)

So, uhhhh... How?

And the answer is... don't know yet. But we're one step closer to knowing!... maybe, if they did the calculations right, and got all the parameters right, and our theories about how the universe works at a very low level are reasonably accurate. Then, we might be a little bit closer to knowing!

Possibly not, though, this could all be a blind end. But, that is how science works: it gets to something like the right answer, eventually.

The next problem to tackle: (1)

dohzer (867770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40138955)

Fuckin' Magnets, how do they work?

What a waste of resources (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40138961)

When all they had to do was ask a 16 year old [slashdot.org]

Re:What a waste of resources (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139233)

You'd risk getting the answer that nano-seconds after the big bang matter was formed by a colossal number of perky teenage breasts banging into one another.

Star Trek Is Real! (3, Funny)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139021)

Kirk was misquoted. It was "KKAAAOONNN!!!!!"

Maybe it's just the reporting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139045)

The article makes sure the readers recognize:

- the breathtaking importance of the subject matter
- the staggering computational resources brought to bear
- the worldwide nature of collaboration between scientists

However, something was missing... like, maybe some actual results that could be summarized in layman's terms?

Brings back memories of an old skit created by frustrated scientists [youtube.com] .

tro7lkAore (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139089)

Thanks for the news, more meat please. (3, Informative)

DontLickJesus (1141027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139145)

All I read about this event is that the computers mapped the decay. Not 1 piece of information about what they learned. In that light, I'll fill in the blanks with the pieces of Quantum Physics I understand.

Kaons are quarks with "strangeness". This typically includes Up, Down, Charm, Strange, and Bottom. Top doesn't participate due to size and shortness of life. Kaons ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaon [wikipedia.org] ) decaying into Pions ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pion [wikipedia.org] ) is a great demonstration of quarks participating in the Weak Force. This study combines our study of particle oscillation and weak decay, and digitally maps out that entire process rather than simply relying on theory. Granted, they weren't actually watching this happen, but the generated map gives Physicists what they need to compare against findings from places like the LHC.

TL;DR? Basically, this group designed software and used a very fast computer to generate a result set from theoretical predictions which can be used to compare against various super-collider findings. Specifically, these result sets are regarding Kaon to Pion decay, a Weak force interaction.

Missing Details and Corrections (5, Informative)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139381)

Since the blog entry contains no reference - and the one hint there is is wrong - here is the actual article reference: Phys. Rev. Lett. 108:141601 (2012) - which was published on 6th April, not 30th March at the article states!

Now onto the physics, sorry but your summary is almost completely wrong. Kaons are mesons which are a bound state of a quark and anti-quark. In the case of neutral kaons this is a strange and anti-down (or vice versa for the anti-kaon IIRC). What is interesting about the kaon is that the neutral states can oscillate between kaon and anti-kaon through a weak interaction. What you end up with is a long-lived kaon (KL) and a short lived one (KS). The simplest way to demonstrate that this system differentiates between matter and anti-matter is to look at the long lived kaon decaying in to muons (heavy cousins of the electron). The number of anti-muons will be about 0.1% different from the number of muons produced.

However the decay to pions is far more closely studied because it can tell us far more information - in particular whether this symmetry breaking occurs in the decay mechanism (direct CP violation) or only in the weak mixing of a kaon to anti-kaon (indirect CP violation). The experiment I worked on as a grad student, NA48, observed this direct CP violation unambiguously for the first time, confirming the previous NA31 result. This ruled out more exotic types of CP violation from a new "superweak" interaction and, in broad terms, was consistent with the Standard Model.

However this was not really confirmation of the Standard Model because the actual calculation of CP violation occurring in the SM is really hard to calculate: it involves quark/W boson loops which must have contributions from all three generations of quarks (specifically including the top quark!). These so-called penguin diagrams [wikipedia.org] (blame the name on John Ellis' dart playing skills!) are really hard to calculate - at least to the accuracy needed for CP violation in kaons. Kaons must decay through a weak interaction because only the weak interaction can change the strange quark into an up quark which is needed for pion decay. However there is also a strong component to the decay.

Strong (QCD) processes are really hard to calculate because perturbation theory does not work for them (the interaction is far too strong). One approach to solve this is lattice QCD which literally simulates all the colour (QCD) fields on a 4D grid of space-time points. However this is really CPU-intensive so only small grids can be simulated. This is not too bad if you have a strong process because, being 'strong' it happens quickly in a small region. However the weak part of the decay occurs more slowly over a larger area. What the authors seem to have done is overcome this simulation problem of both weak and strong forces in the same decay which raises the prospect of accurate calculations of the CP violation in kaon decays which has never been possible before. For the technically minded this paper calculates the Isospin=2 decay amplitude (A_2) whose phase shift, relative to the isospin 0 amplitude (A_0) is what makes direct CP violation visible - it's a really interesting paper - at least if you have ever been involved in kaon physics!

Re:Missing Details and Corrections (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139463)

Thank you for the explanation, it is far more informative than the blog post.

I'm a little depressed with how little of that explanation I understood - I'm a 3rd year physics PhD student, writing a thesis on matter-antimatter interactions (specifically, low energy swarm theory with liquids), and even I only have a very loose grasp of what you're talking about. I suppose it says something for how specialized physics really is. 99.9% of people in the world would think that we're studying the same thing.

Finally, an explanation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139717)

I read both the summary and news release and found no useful information. Your comment is the first real news article I've read about this. I don't read physics news stories anymore because they're information free.

Would you like to see more? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139153)

This is a great story, and I'd really like to read the original paper. Does anyone have a link to the original?

Re:Would you like to see more? (1)

catchblue22 (1004569) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139269)

Not really sure...here is an article in Physical Review Letters [aps.org] by Blum about Kaons. Not sure if this is the one though.

We already had the answer to this... (0)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139221)

It's in the Bible. Now I'm going dinosaur-back riding.

And this is why we need distributed computing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139447)

8000 measly processors? Ha! That's a sleepy fishing village. Distributed computing is much more economical and very much more powerful. Of course it is not suited for all kind of work. And people might not join your privately owned, unethically goaled programs, so there is still a niche for traditional supercomputers left...

While we're at it, suggest me a BOINC [slashdot.org] project worthy of my cycles. Please make a good case, I've been eyeing them all superficially and couldn't decide.

Re:And this is why we need distributed computing. (4, Interesting)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | more than 2 years ago | (#40140115)

there is still a niche for traditional supercomputers left...

I don't think you know much about supercomputers. Sure, there are a few problems that are embarrassingly parallel [wikipedia.org] , but most aren't. For those that aren't, the bandwidth and latency of the interconnect between different processors is more important, and often more expensive, than the speed of the processors themselves. This is why most supercomputers use exotic interconnects like Infiniband, Myrinet or 10GigE, and linking nodes together using complex topologies such as a torus.

Case in point: on the website of the QCDOC supercomputer, which was partially used in this study, they say that a highly optimized lattice QCD simulation achieves up to 50% CPU utilization, and this is considered very good. The rest of the time is mainly spent waiting for the interconnect.

Does this calculation account for (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139471)

Does this calculation account for the existance of
Dark Matter
Dark Energy
The Dark Side of the Force
The Dark Side of the Moon

Obligatory (1)

detritus. (46421) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139545)

How is matter formed?
How atom get pregnant?

"almost" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139587)

Everything is "almost" in science. We're just one step away ! Promise ! Just give us millions to build these fancy toys. Just this once ! The last theory? Oh no.. that was wrong. We used this machine to disprove that! So we're on a new wild goose chase now ! Accept Jesus into your heart and be done with it. Your life would be so much better. You idiots will never find out because its not meant to be found out. Our Lord will reveal his power when he chooses to.

If you were me then I'd be you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40139859)

If we were made of what we perceive as anti-matter, we'd call that matter and what we think of matter now, would be the anti-matter.

So the reason we are made of matter and not anti-matter is simply a matter of perspective :)

That's too confusing (1)

mattr (78516) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139907)

How much is that in bitcoins?

Re:That's too confusing (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40140091)

How much is that in bitcoins?

That depends on the current difficulty to compute a block, and various other factors, making it a poor unit of measure.

So, let's see what it is in a more familiar terms: pLC
54 million processor hours @ ~371 million flops @ 32 bits per instruction, so....
... about 437.23 (printed) Libraries of Congress worth of data moved across the chips...
... but BlueGene/P is a cluster so its speed could have been different than the 2008 speed I used. Good enough for an ball park estimate like this though.

Now to compute the ultimate matter question (2, Funny)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40139977)

"Honey, what's the matter?"

"You know!"

No, I don't. But maybe maybe a team of scientists using one of the most powerful computers on earth can figure what the heck is the matter with you.

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