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The Sound of Science - 'AI pt. 1'

NIU STEAM
NIU STEAM

The Sound of Science - 'AI pt. 1'

Welcome to The Sound of Science from WNIJ and NIU STEAM. It’s a weekly series explaining important STEM concepts. Today’s host is Dr. Kristin Brynteson.

Today I'm joined by Dr. Michael Papka, professor of computer science at NIU, and the director of the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, a scientific supercomputing facility at Argonne National Laboratory. Welcome, Dr. Papka. Thanks, Kristin. So, what is a supercomputer? And how is it different than the computers we have at our homes?

That's a great question. So, kind of the top of it, it's really no different than the computer that we have at home. Except if you just have to imagine that we have a lot of those computers that we have at home, connected together, right? So, the same processors, the same graphics cards, the same things that make up our home computer, is what's in the heart of a supercomputer. The real challenge there is, how do you put those pieces together in such a way that it can work on a problem as one single machine. And one of the unique things about the supercomputer is how those processes are connected together. Sometimes called the backplane, or the interconnect to the supercomputer is the way one processor will communicate to another. The other thing that is often forgot when you're thinking about a supercomputer, and you see these rooms, these are massive machines, built up of several racks where each rack is, is the size of a refrigerator is there's a lot of hardware, you see that it's amazing, but it's the software that's driving it. And that's a key thing.

Well, thank you and thank you for joining us. And thank you for listening to The Sound of Science on WNIJ where you learn something new every day.

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