Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How Many Computers?

In parallel / sci computing world, I hear words like "x many parallel solver", "multiblah multishabang .. doer" and whatnot.. This begs the question: how many computers is enough for a certain problem? A hundred? A thousand? Or a million?

How'bout infinite computers ?

Has anyone heard of continiuum mechanics? There is a way to prepare equations -using pure algebra- and once these eqns are setup properly, you push the entire thing to infinity (using the black art of limits) then you sit back and watch entire terms cancel out, disappear, as a result you are left with the simplest formula which can be computed in linear time. How many computers are needed for this? Zero. We only had to use our representational, algebraic brain, as a result, we obtain a shortcut that allows us to bypass hours of computation with a single statement.