The IBM achievement poses some complications:
In a nutshell, when a simulation of a complex phenomenon (brains, weather systems) reaches a certain level of fidelity, it becomes just as difficult to figure out what's actually going on in the modelhow it's organized, or how it will respond to a set of inputsas it is to answer the same questions about a live version of the phenomenon that the simulation is modeling.
So building a highly accurate simulation of a complex, nondeterministic system doesn't mean that you'll immediately understand how that system worksit just means that instead of having one thing you don't understand (at whatever level of abstraction), you now have two things you don't understand: the real system, and a simulation of the system that has all of the complexities of the original plus an additional layer of complexity associated with the models implementation in hardware and software.
In other supercomputer news, the record for fastest computer was recently broken:
Jaguar’s spot atop the list marks the first time a civilian Department of Energy computer has been the most powerful in the world. Instead of modeling nuclear explosions, which is Roadrunner’s primary job, Jaguar carries out scientific research on the globe’s climate and other computational-intensive problems.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.