Frontier Scientists’ new video describes FLOPs in supercomputing

Liz O’Connell for Frontier Scientists

Fairbanks, Alaska – If you know what a FLOP is, you can stop reading now. But if you don’t, take note and watch “What’s a FLOP?” It will be your primer to the next step in computational science.

jaguar supercomputer

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Cray XT5, Cray Inc.

“Computational Science is a primary means of discovery in the world today. It’s a way of making our manufacturing processes more efficient, of better understanding the world we live in and of doing all types of data analysis for all types of purposes,” says Greg Newby, director of the Arctic Region Super Computing Center. In a new series of videos Newby and Per Nyberg, from Cray Inc., speak revealingly about how computational science uses an important tool, a supercomputer.

Since the April 2011web launch, Frontier Scientists continues to share first person accounts and real time insights from leading archaeologists, grizzly bear biologists, volcano researchers, climate change specialists and other scientists.

Spurr volcano eruption 1992

Mt. Spurr eruption, 1992. / Courtesy Game McGimsey, U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Volcano Observatory

Fascinating footage of current scientific discoveries in some of the Arctic’s most remote and dramatic landscapes are chronicled in short vodcasts, Twitter feeds, blogs and web reports. The research resides in categories:

  • Grizzlies
  • Petroglyphs
  • Paleo-Eskimo
  • Cook Inlet Volcanoes
  • Alutiiq Weavers
  • Climate Change Watch
  • Arctic Winter Cruise 2011
  • Raven Bluff
  • Computational Science

“We want to let travelers, teachers, students, aspiring scientists, and anyone else interested in science feel as if they are with the scientist as they track a grizzly or take the temperature of permafrost in a borehole,” explains Liz O’Connell, video director for Frontier Scientists. “Visitors to Frontier Scientists can ask their own questions to our scientists directly, follow some of them on Twitter and Facebook, and converse on their blogs.”

Frontier Scientists is funded by the National Science Foundation, with additional support from the National Park Service and 360 Degrees North. Follow us!

Frontier Scientists: presenting scientific discovery in the Arctic and beyond

Computational Science Supercomputers

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2 Responses to “Frontier Scientists’ new video describes FLOPs in supercomputing”

John Harper on January 23rd, 2012 6:49 pm:

What caused the Spectacled Eider to become so rare as to rate an endangered species tag?

liz on January 24th, 2012 6:21 am:

In western Alaska, the Spectacled Eider breeding population declined rapidly between the 1970s and 1990s. Biologists estimated a 79 to 96% decline during that time period. At that rate, the extirpation of the species from Alaska was probable, warranting designation as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Biologists have yet to put a finger on a single “cause”. However, several factors have been identified and are still being studied today, including potential lead poisoning from use of lead hunting shot near nesting areas, increased abundances of predatory foxes and birds at nesting areas, severe weather and ice conditions at the species’ wintering area in the northern Bering Sea, and potential shifts in food abundance at the wintering area.

Matt Sexson
U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center