Dr James Anderson’s talk on Extreme Parallel Computing – The Man, Machine and the Maths behind it was well attended with many new faces. James explained the problems for computing resulting from the exceptions that occur in conventional mathematics, such as the inability to divide by zero, and put forward the alternative approach of transreal arithmetic. This concept enabled pipelining of entire programs which is significantly more efficient than conventional parallel processing in terms of the throughput of repetitive calculations. James has been able to demonstrate this through a proof of concept machine and simulator, and is now seeking investment to build prototype machines with a power in excess of today’s super-computers but at a fraction of the price. Plus they don’t crash!
James managed both to challenge our thinking and to show that maths can be fun! After many penetrating questions from the floor, which James answered with real enthusiasm and humour, he left the audience enthralled by the possibilities that this enabled.
The slides can be found on http://www.bookofparagon.com/Mathematics/ExtremeParallelComputing.pdf
A good evening and we all enjoyed the sandwiches etc. especially the strawberries and cream and pinot grigio, a special treat as it’s June and the last meeting of our 2010-11 season.