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The Barcelona Supercomputer Adventure

June 1, 2018

 

In this episode, we visit a supercomputer! It's called MareNostrum 4, and it's house in a former chapel in Barcelona, Spain. It's the world's 16th most powerful supercomputer, and it's been named the World's Most Beautiful Data Center! MareNostrum 

 

Eduardo Porta stands outside MareNostrum for the first time, even though he's worked at Barcelona Supercomputing Center for two years. My background is in biology," he explained to Lindsay. "I didn't have a clue about programming or anything before I entered my Ph.D."

 

 Lindsay stands with her recording equipment outside of MareNostrum. Can you see all the green lights letting you know that they're working on experiments?

 You can climb up to a second level above the supercomputer, and look down at its glass box. The chapel used to belong to a wealthy family before the university bought the land it occupies. 

 

 Eduard walks down the hallway of old supercomputers, aka the supercomputer retirement home. 

 

 This is an example of all the wires that go into connecting the computer processors. 

The key lock and emergency reset button for an old supercomputer. "Just turn it off and back on again!" has always been the ultimate help desk advice.

 This is the machine that Lindsay describes as a table, and Eduard describes as looking like a fridge. It has a tiny fraction of the memory that your phone holds! But it looks nice with the reflection of the windows, don't you think?

 

 This video describes the process of updating MareNostrum 2 to MareNostrum 3 (the previous version of the supercomputer). It was a huge undertaking involving lots of wires!

 

 This video showcases other models of supercomputers - the top in the world! The rankings are always changing, because supercomputers are constantly being updated.

 

Want to take a (virtual) tour of a supercomputer that's even more powerful than MareNostrum? This video takes you the Texas Advanced Computing Center.

 

Want to learn to Code?

 

Here's a few great resources:

 

Detective Dot - off-line coding stories and activities for 7-12 year olds 

 

Code.org - lessons and tutorials

 

Scratch - MIT-designed coding language for kids

 

Tynker - Hour of Code activities

 

Khan Academy - lessons to learn computer science, computer programming, and coding

 

Let us know what you're learning! Email us at tumblepodcast@gmail.com

 

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