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Earth Simulator Sees Green Light

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the making-the-system-better dept.

Science 230

burbs writes "Big Blue's dominator is getting closer to being turned on. The Earth Simulator in Japan is, supposedly, the world's fastest parallel-processing supercomputer. Designed for the Earth's weather, the computer should be able to predict climate for the entire planet for thousands of years in a short amount of time."

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Chaos theory overthrown!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324188)

"Its not important" a scientist was quoted as saying. "I mean, its not perfect, but its close enough."

Re:Chaos theory overthrown!!!! (-1)

mackga (990) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324301)

can i post yet?

ah, yes, unbanned and free to post to this, a heavilly censored web board, god bless the civil liberties that taco and his hyprocritical henchmen mouth but in practice act as if they are the moronic offspring of that wonderful native son, pat robertson. nothing like having one's god given right to free speech stifled by adolescent assholes with delusions of grandeur. may i take this illustrious moment to say publicly:

fuck you taco, you paranoid spastic fuck. when you finally one day grow up and maybe get a clue, you'll realize how idiotic you look to the real world. i wish you and your fuckstick michael all the best in your infernal marriage of homosexually based hysertia.

Re:Chaos theory overthrown!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324351)

Don't waste your breath.

Taco and all the other Americans are asleep.

Re:Chaos theory overthrown!!!! (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324455)

Werd. How did you get banned posting at an auto -1?

Linux, the terrorist OS. (-1)

stinkgeek.com (450152) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324190)

There is growing suspicion that Ossama Bin Laden's group used Linux to desseminate their terrorist plans which led to the World Trade and Pentagon atrocities.

We, the People of the United States of America, demand that Linux and other "open source" software is immediately banned under penalty of high treason for manufacturing, trafficking and possessing this kind of software.

We, the People of the United States of America, demand the immediate arrest of open source conspirators Richard M. Stallman, Linus Torvalds, Eric S. Raymond, Alan Cox and Robert Malda for the crimes of high treason and aiding and abbetting known terrorists.

We, the People of the United States of America, demand that the internet is moved to proprietary Microsoft-controlled protocols with full back door access (no warrant req'd) for law enforcement officers and copyrights agencies.

We, the People of the United States of America, demand that the SSSCA becomes Law of the Land as soon as possible and that the DMCA be enforced vigourously and that the known cyberterrorist Dmitry Sklylarov who threatened US intellectual property be punished to the fullest extent of the law, that means 25 years hard time in federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison.

We, the People of the United States of America, demand all this and all other measures which will ensure that open source and intellectual property terrorists never again can threaten the safety, security and livelyhood of us, the Great American People.

Re:Linux, the terrorist OS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324202)

you utter twat

Simulate wheather for thousands of years? (3, Insightful)

Saib0t (204692) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324193)

I don't know much about meteorology, but isn't predicting the wheather a tad difficult?
Besides, to be able to precisely model the earth's climate, they would need to have measures for about every (mathematical) point of the earth at a given time, which is not possible... Unless they go for an approximation, and then chaos theory kicks in and their 'thousands of years in advance' prediction is worth nothing. (the butterfly - hurricane thing anyone?)

Am I missing something there?

Re:Simulate wheather for thousands of years? (1)

/Wegge (2960) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324205)

Wouldn't it be possible to predict large trends without detailed knowledge about every spot? After all, most of the yearly variations in climate are pretty similar over a 10-25 year scale.

not predicting weather (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324222)

it's supposed to predict the climate

Re:Simulate wheather for thousands of years? (3, Insightful)

khym (117618) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324243)

Even if the computer did know the exact state of every single atmospheric molecule on the planet, things like metiorites, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions would changes things around, at least by a tiny bit, and then the Butterfly Effect comes back. So a 1,000 prediction is pretty ify.

Re:Simulate wheather for thousands of years? (2, Funny)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324255)

You beat me to it on the butterfly effect, but what the article is unclear on is what they expect to predict for 1,000 years hence. I doubt they are expecting miracles like "It's going to rain in Spain on 20th Sept. 3001", but rather stuff like "average rainfall globallaly will be up by 3001".

Maybe. If that damn butterfly doesn't fart or something.

Re:Simulate wheather for thousands of years? (1)

Mario21 (310404) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324416)

I believe even one airliner makes enough changes to have an effect on climate. Ok, regular flights can be accounted. Charter? No, they are as irregular as they can get.

Re:Simulate wheather for thousands of years? (2)

jtdubs (61885) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324245)

The best part about weather forcasting isn't even Chaos theory. I mean, yes, there are infinite variables which are immeasurable to the needed accuracy (infinite) but, even better yet, due to Quantum theory, a lot of these variables are probably truly random.

No matter how powerful the computer, specific whether conditions will NEVER be able to be scientifically computed.

Justin Dubs

Re:Simulate wheather for thousands of years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324352)

Interesting...compare the weather predicting problem with, say, predicted the number of complete fuckwits and knob-jockeys that will post to any given slashdot story. Even my 4.77MHz XT running a simulation I wrote in GW-BASIC comes up with the answer pretty quickly: 99.9%.

Amazing, isn't it.

Re:Simulate wheather for thousands of years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324268)


I belive the right term would be climate, not weather.

Re:Simulate wheather for thousands of years? (1)

rm-r (115254) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324312)

Want an easy and cheap weather forecast? 'Tomorrow it will be like today' is a general thumb which is correct the majority of the time. Not much use for forecasts 1000 years hence, but handy for planning that camping trip/ sunbathing session/whatever tomorrow- and which is more useful to Joe Average?

Having said that the shear scale and technical spec of this thing has me drooling- wouldn't be great to run SETI off this, they'd never need us @home peeps again!

Oh, and before someone else says it- howabout Quake on a Beowulf cluster of these ;-).....

Re:Simulate wheather for thousands of years? (0, Troll)

kusma (139069) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324377)

It's not only about predicting the weather, it's also about predicting POLITICS. And the future of science. How will mankind influence the weather in 100 years? You don't know? Here's a computer that claims it can.

Imagine the US governed by environmentalists. Imagine the whole world changing to hydrogen-powered cars.... all this should be simulated?

I dont think so (1)

Fanro (130986) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324197)

1000 Years? I dont think so.
The weather is a chaotic process. that means little errors in the input of any weather formula produce big errors in the output. Over 1000 years, even if you know the exact position of every molecyle exept one, this one will produce such a large error, that the results are unuseable.

Or did i miss something?

I think so (1)

testharness (522244) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324333)

Reading the article, it seems the 1000 years bit is just looking at trends ( thats ignoring the typical journalistic simplistic spin ).

If you put a kettle filled with water on a stove, you know that in x minutes it will boil. You don't need to know the exact position of every water molecule ( except of course, the position is somewhere inside the kettle ). That is akin to the 1000 year forecast.

If you want to calculate all the eddies (sp?) and convection currents within the kettle ( ie like an accurate daily forcast ) you do need to know positions and state of each part of the water mass, down to molecules if you want to be realy accurate.

Of cause, rounding errors will probable give greater problems.

Re:I think so (1)

Kynde (324134) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324375)

If you put a kettle filled with water on a stove, you know that in x minutes it will boil. You don't need to know the exact position of every water molecule ( except of course, the position is somewhere inside the kettle ). That is akin to the 1000 year forecast.

Sorry, but the climate is not a kettle when it comes to it's deterministicity (that a real word?) and it has little to do with rounding errors either. Weather and climate are chaotic systems even the larger scale trends depend on the tiniest errors in input. Even predictions like the average temperature over certain century go beyond reach as the feedback due to energy absorption depends on clouds etc etc.

Weather is a phenomenon that will _never_ be predicted that far. It's simply because the input affects output exponentially within time. So no matter the computing power or measurement accuracy in a rather short period of time the prediction will loose it's accuracy.

But do not be mistaken here, naturally there are such kettle-like behaviours involved in climate and weather changes aswell (like during winter it tends to be colder than during summer in northern hemisphere) which are rather trivial though. The more interesting some weather change is the more likely it is affected by chaos, and that's simply because what makes it interesting is just that unpredictability.

chaos theory (1)

jlemmerer (242376) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324198)

hmmm. well, i think i don't get it right here... please tell me where my logic is wrong.
1. the earths climate is dependant on the waether
2. weather can't be exactly forecast because of the chaos theory which says that in wheather there is an infinite number of variables.

so, either this earth computer can deal with infinite numbers of variables ot it just takes a wild guess... (predicting waht the climate will be thousand years is easy, i say it will be cold - proove me wrong in 1000 years)
massive parallel computing is a cool thing, but there are certain things that can't be solved with computers and i think weather forecasting is one of those things.

Re:chaos theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324327)

just as long as it gets THIS weeks weather right, I'm ok with it! I do agree with you, but it might be a fun project to test. (would like to know when the next catagory 4+ is going to hit my house as well...)

Re:chaos theory (1)

Weh (219305) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324357)

1. The climate is not dependant on the weather, it's more like the reverse, the weather is dependant on the climate. When you go to a certain place the climate of that place will tell you what kind of weather to expect.

2. Chaos theory - I've seen it mentioned here a lot but I haven't seen any understanding on it beyond the popular "butterfly flapping" part. It's not about infinite variables, Chaos theory is about solving large systems of differential equations where a small error in the initial conditions can lead towards large errors in the solution. So it's not about anything physical , it's more about instability of the process itself.

Re:chaos theory (1)

Djaak (59417) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324418)

Actually the systems of differential equations do not have
to be large for chaos theory to apply. The point is
that a chaotic system has no linear solution.

Chaos (1)

Borogove (95793) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324199)

Predicting the weather for more than a month in advance isn't a matter of computing power. You could build a planet-sized computer and still not be able to predict whether it's going to rain in 30 days time.

The problem is not how well you process all the data: it's a question of finding all those bloody butterflies and stopping them from flapping their wings.

Re:Chaos (0, Troll)

0-9a-zA-Y_.+!*'(),-$ (453203) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324241)

I've not been moderated up since I started mentioning moderation in my sig

Are you sure it's just that you've just started talking out of your fucking fat arse? Actually, no it probably isn't that - then you'd get moderated up.


Now, fuck off.

I speak of the computer which is to come after me (2)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324201)

Douglas Adams [douglasadams.com] predicted this, didn't he?
...and you shall call it 'The Earth'

Re:I speak of the computer which is to come after (1)

Rohan Talip (91270) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324287)

It would be interesting if these computers were used for something like the Metaverse in Neal Stephenson's book Snow Crash. i.e. Virtual Reality you can walk around in. The weather would be realistic at least!

Re:I speak of the computer which is to come after (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324305)

I have it on good authority that worms, maggots, and other parasites are feasting on Douglas Adams's eyeballs and penis as we speak. He is a rotting pile of putrifying flesh. Oh! and the stink!

Re:I speak of the computer which is to come after (1)

rm-r (115254) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324317)

reminds me of a joke regarding maps. The people wanted the most accurate map possible, so they made it on a 1-1 scale. Only problem was they had to unfold it over the country to look at it...

weather outlook: long cold, dark spells. (2, Funny)

zardor (452852) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324204)

Its easy to predict the weather from this: since it has so much processing power, once they turn it on, it will become self aware, declare war on all mankind, and launch the all missiles, thereby plunging the world into a nuclear winter that will last a 1000 years.

Thousand year weather predictions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324209)

I'd be happy for next week. Here's a prediction: It'll be getting colder in the months to come. Japanese computer will maybe add another day to the current (and low quality) three day forecasts. Or more likely some unforseen factor will make it not work at all. Such blatent claims of success against a foe as worthy as chaos itself, indicates flawed method of thought that probably extends to all facets of their operation.

obligatory beowulf thing (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324210)

you know the rest

Re:obligatory beowulf thing (1)

M_T_Toaster (515319) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324258)

-Yep imagine a beowulf of this and them the global warming caused by it, "Earth Simulator will require the undivided attention of a nearby city-scale power station".

Does it calculate 2 futures, one where it is kept running and one where it is turned off to conserve power?

-I could be working but it's not in my job description.

Computation while turned off! (1)

Rohan Talip (91270) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324297)

Permutation City [amazon.com] is a story about the computation of a Virtual Reality environment down to atoms and molecules, complete with Artificial Intelligence, without the computer actually needing to be running! A very interesting read.

British Weather (1)

osiris (30004) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324216)

It could never predict British weather no matter how advanced. We usually cant even forcast whether it will be a nice day tomorrow or a thunderstorm.

I remember one day when it was blazing hot sunshine in the morning, afternoon it was pouring with rain, then it snowed in the evening.
Only in Britain i tell you.

Thats why the British always comment on the weather, because you never have any idea what its going to be like, also the 'be prepared for any condition' attitude.

heh.

Re:British Weather (0, Troll)

0-9a-zA-Y_.+!*'(),-$ (453203) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324247)

no, the british always comment on the weather because they're all screaming faggots trying to hide their homosexuality by talking about something irrelevant.

Re:British Weather (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324295)

oh my god that's so funny i shit myself

oh, congratulations on having an IQ lower than your shoe size by the way. must be a first.

Re:British Weather (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324324)

That is so true, snow is jism, rain is piss, all that talk about getting drenched, or having to take shelter, or building your house on a floodplain... Sheesh, get a life man

SETI (1)

weinford (97037) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324223)

Oh my god, just imagine they would use this machine for something really useful, like, say, SETI? No?

Re:SETI (1)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324337)

Yeah, or playing quake...imagine the FPS...;-)

Do they model supercomputer effects on the Earth? (4, Funny)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324225)

Seems that if each one of these wonders requires a "city-scale" power generation plant that they would have to model themselves into the equation too.

Result: Global Warming is indeed occuring, but apparently it is mainly IBM's fault.

Re:Do they model supercomputer effects on the Eart (1)

Professeur Shadoko (230027) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324253)

My guess is that "city-scale" is an exageration of the reality.

They have 640 nodes, let's say 2000 watts per node, that will take 2.5 MW. That's the power for a really small city (I'd say less than 15,000 inhabitants)

oops (1)

Professeur Shadoko (230027) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324260)

even less, in fact...
damn MS-calculator :)

Die Terrorist Scum (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324226)

GOD BLESS THE USA [leegreenwood.com]
by Lee Greenwood

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I'd worked for all my life
And I had to start again
With just my children and my wife
I'd thank my lucky stars
To be living here today
Cause the flag still stands for freedom
And they can't take that away

And I'm proud to be an American
Where at least I know I'm free
But I won't forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I gladly stand up
Next to you
And defend her still today
Cause there ain't no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.

From the lakes of Minnesota
To the hills of Tennessee
Across the plains of Texas
From sea to shining sea
From Detroit down to Houston
And New York to L.A.
There's pride in every American heart
And it's time we stand and say

That I'm proud to be an American
Where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I gladly stand up
Next to you
And defend her still today
Cause there ain't no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.

Great news! (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324232)


I suppose if it "sees green", that's the outcome we were hoping for.

But it must be one heck of a computer, to see the result of the simulation before they ever power it up.

Re:Great news! (2, Funny)

Lerc (71477) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324353)

It's because they are using new superconducting processing elements that contain electrons with an equal probability of being in any particular position of the superconducter. As other elements pull these electrons off the probability wave collapses and the absence of the electron can be detected on the other side of the superconductor sooner than it would have taken light to travel this far. With this resulting Faster than light communication goes the associated backward time effects. This means the signals are processed for the proceeding operations first. As a result the first visible operation performed is the output.

There have been notable technical difficulties in getting the system up and running, not least of which involves convincing the engineers that they have to connect more than just the monitor up to make it work even though the results are already being displayed. They just don't get this destiny thing.

Re:Great news! (0)

ynohoo (234463) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324395)

LOL mod this up!

imagine... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324236)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those!

Man's Affect On Climate (1)

flewp (458359) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324237)

I wonder if it takes into consideration how man affects climate... Will it be able to predict new technologies in 100 years that could alter the earth's climate forever?

I have a "computer" that does that as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324238)

It's called the planet earth. My calculation will be done in 1000 years.

Prediction will probably be flawed (1)

Diabolical (2110) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324239)

So.. it will try to predict weather around the globe for years... uhuh.. sure...

Does it take into account unforseen disasters that will change the nescesary variables.. for instance vulcanic eruptions or global warming which is not predictable at all.

I would like to know what they do about these things so they can really predict things...

The article also states that the supercomputer can and probably will be used for all kinds of different modelling/simulations.

It also says that most software is probably flawed for now but it won't be for long i guess..

Will it be possible to open this baby for all kind of researchers all over the world instead of only a few japanese research groups?

Climate, not weather (5, Informative)

cperciva (102828) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324246)

A number of posters are confusing climate modelling with weather prediction. Weather prediction -- working out if it will rain tomorrow -- is very difficult because weather systems are chaotic. Climate prediction, however -- working out how large an effect increased CO2 emmisions will have on global warming -- is easy by comparison... at least in theory.

The problem with climate modelling is that the models right now incorporate large numbers of "fudge factors", and by setting those appropriately you can get whatever outcome you want from your modelling. Of course, without those fudge factors the Earth would be somewhere around -40C most of the time, so you can't just throw them out.

In short, good models exist for weather, but weather is chaotic so you can't predict much anyway. Bad models exist for climate, but at least it isn't chaotic (as far as we know).

Re:Climate, not weather (1)

Diabolical (2110) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324263)

Read the article please...

It says there at the first paragraph that it will be used to "bring precise weather and global-warming predictions".

Re:Climate, not weather (1)

Elgon (234306) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324291)

The article is wrong fuckwad - do you actually believe what journalists write?

Elgon - El Cynical Bastard

Re:Climate, not weather (1)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324354)

Not only are our models bad, they're way off the mark. So don't hold your breath. A supercomputer will bring faster results, but the results will still be wrong.

If you're going to model earth climate, you should at the very least bring in the complexities of the sun into equation, and not just as a constant source of radiation. You'd also have to predict the future of nuke-testing, as these have been shown to affect both solar flares and earth climate. I couldn't find a better link than this [allanstime.com] explaining it, but I've seen that argument in other places too. Wether it's true or not is beside the question, it's the price you have to pay for searching for new answers.

- Steeltoe

Re:Climate, not weather (1)

citoyen (523158) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324424)

You'd also have to predict the future of nuke-testing, as these have been shown to affect both solar flares (..) Care to give a reference ?

Re:Climate, not weather (4, Insightful)

Kynde (324134) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324399)

A number of posters are confusing climate modelling with weather prediction. Weather prediction -- working out if it will rain tomorrow -- is very difficult because weather systems are chaotic. Climate prediction, however -- working out how large an effect increased CO2 emmisions will have on global warming -- is easy by comparison... at least in theory.

A number of meteorologists are also confusing modelling with scientific modelling. Those larger scale climate models have little chance giving accurate predictions since there's absolutely no reason to assume that such models would not depend chaotically on the underlying small scale weather. Those forementioned fudge factors that climate models are plagued with are manifestation of just that.

Even in more strict science circles people tend to resort to finding trends when the system vanishes out of scope. It's essential that the causality and predictability are present. Otherwise people wind up doing research based crap correlations. For example, for several years there's been really strong correlation between the number of Babtist preachers and number of people arrested for drinking in public. There's jack causality present as the dominant effect is the fluctuations in the population of US.

Just because climate is a lot slower than weather allowing it to predicted for longer periods of time than weather and short term trends give reasonable short term predictions, just as it's possible for weather for a couple of days at a time, it's still chaotic.

It's easy to blow the model out of practicality and show how shitload of CO2 emissions will create greenhouse effect. A lot shittier task is to work with real world figures and again work with a chaotic system. Don't get me wrong though, I'm absolutely all for the Co2 emission regulations and all.

Re:Climate, not weather (4, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324420)

  • Climate prediction, however -- working out how large an effect increased CO2 emmisions will have on global warming -- is easy by comparison... at least in theory

Theory indeed.

  • IMB: We've predicted the climate for the next 1000 years!
  • Press: Assuming that major vulcanism or meteor impacts don't screw it up, right?
  • IBM: Oh, well, sure, assuming that doesn't happen.
  • Press: And the chances of that are...?
  • IBM: Uhh... about.. ummm... look! Flashing lights! Just like on Star Trek!
  • Press: Oooh! Pretty!

Thats all well and good (0)

anonymous_synik (522806) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324248)

predicting the weather is nice, but how fast does it do a kernel compile?

what the fuck (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324250)

WHERE THE HELL IS THE WORLD TRADE CENTER???
i just woke up today and its gone!!! oh fukc thats right.... soory im drunk hear./....

fuck!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324254)

WHO THE HELL BLEW IT UP?????
what the fuck is gfoinng on in this cauntry???
i work there dmammit!!!!
spent amwhole two weeks on adkjrunken bender and now the wkhere the fuck is the WORLD TRAED CETNER!!!?!?!?!??!/1/1

1000 years weather? (1)

anshil (302405) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324261)

Forecasting the weather for 1000 years? This can only be slashdot-typic journalism.

Ever heared what metrologists call the butterfly effect?
The puff a butterfly makes during flight will alter local weather a little, and this change will continue to influence in weather mechanics, until some months later this butterfly can originate an tornade on another continent. This is a very common example used in metrology.

I suppose they mean they will calculate -climate-, and this only for the next -decades-, instead of 1000 years. I remember that these climate modules also had the difficulty that very small changes in input can dramatically change the output, like the emulation cell size. It's not that the output of the simulation grows more accurate as the cell size (of sky) grows smaller, the way it is is that the output changes totally on the choosen size in a chaotic way.

Re:1000 years weather? (1)

Diabolical (2110) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324275)

"We'll be able to squeeze 1,000 years of weather into three days of computing,"

The above qoute is out of the "Far Eastern Economic Review" and is spoken out by one of the concerned scientists... nothing to do with /.

Please READ THE ARTICLE BEFORE COMMENTING!

Re:1000 years weather? (2)

cperciva (102828) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324283)

Please READ THE ARTICLE BEFORE COMMENTING!

As /. demonstrates so aptly, news media are not always accurate. Sadly, even "quotes" are often either taken out of context or simply plain wrong. I myself have been quoted as saying numerous things which I have not said, and never would say.

I expect the earlier poster did, in fact, read the article, but was knowledgeable enough to realize that the article got details wrong.

Re:1000 years weather? (1)

Snard (61584) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324318)

Ever heared what metrologists call the butterfly effect?

Okay, so this is off topic, moderate me down if you must... but an earlier pair of posters mentioned the "butterfly effect" - which I'd not heard of - and the first thing that popped into my mind was Ray Bradbury's story "A Sound of Thunder". Granted, it's a different "butterfly effect", but it's the same basic ideas. Very small things (or differences) can have a devastating effect over the long haul.

Re:1000 years weather? (2)

anshil (302405) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324411)

Man, some moderators can be soooo nerving, how can something be 'overrated' if it has never been rated before? Huh? Remember some post starting with +2 :/

Butterfly bah (1)

bmongar (230600) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324437)

OK, from what I understand of chaos theory, the 'butterfly' affect as it is called is about something small and overlooked that has a capability of affecting the system to a great degree over time. Fair enough. There is also a part of it (It has ben a damn long time since I have studied chaos math) that states the larger the system and longer the time the more of these events are likely to happen and counter eachother to some degree leaving the general trend the same. The butterfly affects abnormally spike periods of the system not the entire 1000 years.

yeah, right (-1, Flamebait)

warez_d00d (122900) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324262)

the computer should be able to predict climate for the entire planet for thousands of years in a short amount of time.

All I can say is: lies, lies, lies.

who the hell believes such hype??? oh, right - slashdot editors....

I think I know the reasoning.... (1)

tomknight (190939) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324278)

This machine is "intelligent" enough to realise the effect its enormous banks of processors will have on global warming.

if (turned_on)
return (WARM_CLIMATE);
else
return (OUTLOOK_NOT_SO_GOOD);
endif;

Tom.

Not so fast.. (2)

xtal (49134) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324396)


People automatically assume a warmer climate is bad, something that can't exactly be claimed given we have no good scientific model for weather and climate modelling. Not enough understanding exists, and by some theories which are quite compelling (for example, read the book 'Chaos'), it may never be possible to predict the weather.


Now, a warmer climate might be bad for a specific area or populace. Islands will probably dissapear as oceans rise, and coastal areas will be changed. There's more evidence that some areas might become wetter and better for agricultural production; that some marginal farmland might produce much higher yields, and that previously inhospitable areas in northern climates might become much more temperate. Of course, by the same blade, storms will possibly be more frequent and of higher magnitude.


We just don't know. Global temperature change is an inevitable result of modern civilization. It's entirely possible that we're headed for huge disasters as a result of the dominance of man, and there's nothing "wrong" about that. We just need to develop technologies that prolong our stay here as long as possible until we can do something else. There -are- 6 billion people here, and most models project it stabilizing at around 12-20 billion. That's also a lot of minds working on the problem.

Re:Not so fast.. (1)

tomknight (190939) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324427)

Blimey, and all I meant by OUTLOOK_NOT_SO_GOOD was a reference to the Magic 8 Ball....

Tom.

Re:Not so fast.. (2)

xtal (49134) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324438)

If you live in a desert, poor, miserable area (like, oh, say, afganistan) which might benefit from increased rainfall and crop production, you might think that OUTLOOK_QUITE_GOOD.

could imagin. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324282)

a beow... oh wait it is a cluster of powerful computers

I made a program like that once ... (1)

Hektor_Troy (262592) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324285)

it was a bit slower, and it was alway a day late - but it was dead accurate.

Mean Machine (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324299)

This is an incredibly powerful machine. In fact, when they tested it a while ago, there way a programming error, and before they succeeded in turning the thing off, it had caused a heatwave in much of Europe!

IBM's dominator (3, Funny)

orangesquid (79734) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324306)

"Big Blue's dominator is getting closer to being turned on."

Ooh, can I do it? I like to turn on dominators!

Sticks and stones may break my bones
But whips and chains excite me.

Chaos theory is still OK! (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324309)

- don't worry. What they are talking about is climate, not weather. It's a bit like predicting that this winter is going to be colder than this summer - it doesn't require as much precision as predicting the weather: when it will rain or snow, the windspeed, cloud cover etc etc.

Oh, I get it... (1)

east_bay_pete (96651) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324310)

They must be talking about predicting the weather for L.A. for the next 1000 years.

That's easy. Sunny.

I'm curious... (1)

Mister Transistor (259842) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324311)

What the "nodes" consist of - the article wasn't very specific - two multi-processor PC's per rack cabinet - sounds a lot like the RS-6000 based "nodes" that ASCI White uses. Those are two per rack cabinet, each with 8 CPU's and a shared memory structure - sounds similar.

As for 1000 years of weather prediction, fine, but can it accurately predict the weather TOMORROW is what I want to know :)

Not detail tracking... (1)

ndege (12658) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324314)

They are not trying to see if there will be 3" or 4" of rain in 2509. They are determining things such as major climate shifts. We know that the northern part of Aferica used to once be covered in grasslands...now it is harsh desert. We know that iceland used to be much more mild than it is now (there are still many green plants frozen stiff deep under ice). We know that the climate has a tencancy to shift over time affecting things such as rainfall patterns and temperature flucations. These are not caused by a butterfly's wings, these are caused by things such as the earth's tilt/wooble over the course of time. Wouldn't it be interesting to understand the "big picture" more than we do now?

excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324328)

imagine a beowulf cluster of those things!! w00t!!

does it run linux too?

Huh they said... (0)

nasogrumy (306555) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324338)

WINDOWLESS environment. Does it mean what I think it means, does it ?

Giant Abacus (1)

Pulex (460730) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324339)

The weather thing seems to me to just be an advert to the world that there is a new giant abacus. The comments about other stakeholder interests like weapons development, nuclear physics and biochemistry research taking a lower priority has a cautionary tone for cloud-watchers. More noteworthy than whether Kasparov's great grandchildren will need sunblock, is whether the mutants who survive the nuclear blast of the Bush-o-tron 3000 will have 2 or 3 finger mittens.

Greenies are weird (1)

LazyDawg (519783) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324340)

They think that politicians, who can't predict what will happen in the next few months, and scientists, who can't predict what will happen in the next few days, can forecast the weather for the next few thousand years just because one finances the other's uber-expensive simulation software.

Its amazing that the public never suspects this scam.

Quantum Computers (1)

donabal (116308) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324343)

Isn't this what quantum computers are designed to do? I tell ya, screw conventional computing and focus this computer effort to creating a better quantum computation effort.

Eventually, we will have computers that will be able to figure out every course of action from any other given course of action... and the results will be orders of magnitude faster.

--donabal

data points (1)

astafas (232064) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324345)

I have read that some of the earliest data points are from before world war 2, when we left a lot of bouys (sp?) to track the directions and temperature of the currents for trade. They were picked up decades later. Most of todays data, of course, probably comes from sattelite.

wouldn't it be more usefull to (1)

bmongar (230600) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324355)

Wouldn't it be more usefull to be able to predict the weather for a location 2 days in advance with a greater than 50% accuracy?

One better. (1)

ascholl (225398) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324359)

Software willing, the Earth Simulator will accurately model the earth's oceans and atmosphere by calculating weather data collected by various, land, sea and space-based sensors at 10 kilometre-spaced points around the entire earth.

Perhaps. But my pentium 100 can do the exact same thing in near real time.

Yeah right! (1)

zensonic (82242) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324362)

Designed for the Earth's weather, the computer should be able to predict climate for the entire planet for thousands of years


Don't know about your country, but using one of the fastest computers here in denmark, the danish weather institute [www.dmi.dk] can't predict the weather 100% correctly even a week ahead. This new computer can't be THAT fast!

One advantage (1)

smaughster (227985) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324368)

Designed for the Earth's weather, the computer should be able to predict climate for the entire planet for thousands of years in a short amount of time."

It is good to see that the climate for the coming millennia can be predicted in a short amount of time, since the calculation will have to be repeated every 4 to 5 days. Chaos is such a party pooper.

Scary though: Imagine getting new weathercasts each day, predicting for the coming millennium. That weather girl had better be pretty gorgeous to keep it interesting.

Hell, I can do that (1)

bgarcia (33222) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324372)

Designed for the Earth's weather, the computer should be able to predict climate for the entire planet for thousands of years in a short amount of time."
Here are my weather predictions for Seattle for the next thousand years:

March through November: rain
December through February: cold rain

Systems modelling (1)

realnowhereman (263389) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324381)

There is a principal in control system theory that states that for a model to be accurate the model must be at least as complicated as the thing it is modelling. e.g. to truely model the universe you need something as complex as the universe. The same thing applies to the weather system.

Being chaotic does not (in principal) deny the possibility of modelling. In fact we already have an operating implementation of the weather (look up).

The weather is modelable, a distinction should made that modelable does not mean guarenteed accurate. Even if this system says that there is a 75% probablitity that it will rain in spain (mainly on the plain) tomorrow then that is still worth having.

It seems unfair to dismiss work like this so quickly just because it is inherently impossible to predict with 100% accuracy.

weather? (1)

motherhead (344331) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324388)

Two words:

Power Ball.

Earth Simulator@home? (1)

Yuioup (452151) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324394)

'nuff said

Erp... (1)

Runt-Abu (471363) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324407)

So it's a Network of computers keeping track of the atmospheric conditions, like say the Sky.

Hmmm.

Weather Forecast for Afghanistan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324425)

The weather in Afghanistan tomorrow is expected to be sunny in the morning with increasing mushroom clouds by afternoon. The temperature looks to be a moderate 2000 degrees with cool winds upwards of around 700 miles per hour. It will definitely be a day for the sunblock, and it wouldn't hurt to shake the dust off that old lead suit in the closet. If you're planning on venturing outside in beautiful Afghanistan tomorrow, don't forget to drink plenty of fluids, such as barium which shows up nicely when blasts of radiation flow through your body. Most of all, have fun out there in dusty Afghanistan, and enjoy the country while... well, while it's still there!

Confusion (2, Insightful)

C_James_B (458645) | more than 12 years ago | (#2324430)

As my Geography teacher never tired of telling us, climate != weather.
Climate is big and long-term. Weather is here and now. Not even the people who built that machine think it can predict world weather for one thousand years. There's just been a bit of a misunderstanding.

This is nifty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2324433)

but meanwhile BSD is still dying !
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