Big Blue in at the dawn of the universe

Quark gluon plasma heavy ion shock horror

Five years ago From The Register No. 2, August 1994 It's not entirely clear what happened when the universe began, but IBM, with the help of a POWERparallel system at the US Brookhaven National Laboratory aims to get to the bottom of the mystery. Scientists at the lab, Big Blue said, are running simulations of collisions of atomic particles called heavy ions on an IBM Scalable POWERparallel SP system. The simulations, they hope, will establish the existence of quark-gluon plasma that, the boffins say, leapt into being soon after the universe formed. The results will be used to analyse real collision fasta from the US Department of Energy's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, under construction at Brookhaven too. According to Tom Throwe, a chief scientist on the project, the SP was chosen because of its scalability. "While we already had a competitive multi-processor in our facility," he said, "we needed a system that could handle...the power required when the collider is running. Only IBM's POWERparallel system could offer us the scalability of hundreds of nodes." ®

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