Fight Club: PC Versus Supercomputer. Who Will You Bet On?

The PC Kicks Some Serious Supercomputer Butt!

The Lomonosov Moscow State University shines bright, having managed to solve highly complex quantum mechanical equations using a common personal computer instead of its cousin, a state of the art supercomputer. Not only did the PC do the job, it completed the calculations within minutes, a task that would have taken the supercomputer days to perform.

A team of physicists from Lomonosov University, led by Professor Vladimir Kukulin, approximated quantum mechanical scattering processes using “few body systems”, which is the equivalent of Newtonian theory of three body systems. This allows physicists to closely study the interaction of a few particles to mimic the full system interactions, but also limits the amount interactions and variables needed to solve the equations.

Quantum scattering processes are important to understand nuclear and atomic physics, based on the work by Ludwig Faddeev in the 1960s. Faddeev described the scattering processes through highly complicated equations, to which physicists would love to find the solutions, and which they now have.

The most difficult part in solving these Faddeev processes is the calculation of the “Integral Kernel”, “a huge two-dimensional table consisting of tens or hundreds of thousands of rows and columns, with each element being the result of extremely complex calculations”.

The team used a new Nvidia GPU gaming computer, with special software developed by Nvidia, to run the calculations on. The table appeared in the form of a screen with billions of pixels, and using a graphics processing unit, each point could be calculated. The calculations were split into thousands of streams, which allowed them to solve the entire problem. Kukulin concludes: “The program computes 260 million complex double integrals on a desktop computer within three seconds. No comparison with supercomputers! My colleague from the University of Bochum in Germany carried out the calculations using one of the largest supercomputers in Germany with the famous blue gene architecture, which is actually very expensive. And what took his group two or three days we do in 15 minutes without spending a dime.”

Kukulin sees great potential for using these calculations in nuclear and resonance chemical reactions, as well as plasma physics and electrodynamics.

What could more power bring to your gaming strategy?

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