The Physics arXiv Blog

February 12, 2013

How “Bullet Time” Will Revolutionise Exascale Computing

The famous Hollywood filming technique will change the way we access the huge computer simulations of the future, say computer scientists

The exascale computing era is almost upon us and computer scientists are already running into difficulties. 1 exaflop is 10^18 floating point operations per second, that’s a thousand petaflops. The current trajectory of computer science should produce this kind of capability by 2018 or so.

The problem is not processing or storing this amount of data–Moore’s law should take care of all that. Instead, the difficulty is uniquely human. How do humans access and make sense of the exascale data sets?

In a nutshell, the problem is that human senses have a limited bandwidth–our brains can receive information from the external world at roughly gigabit rates. So a computer simulation at exascale data rates simply overwhelms us. The famous aphorism compares data overload to drinking from a fire hose. This is more like stopping a tidal wave with a bucket.

The answer, of course, is to find some way to compress the output data without losing its essential features. Today, Akira Kageyama and Tomoki Yamada from Kobe University in Japan put forward a creative solution. These guys say the trick is to use “bullet time”, the Hollywood filming technique made famous by movies like The Matrix.

Read more: How "Bullet Time" Will Revolutionise Exascale Computing | MIT Technology Review.

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