Android Phone Can Be Used as a Supercomputer

When you hear 'supercomputer' and 'small' in the same sentence, you likely wonder how small a room are they talking about. However, when the folks at MIT and Texas Advanced Computing Center say small, they mean small as in pocket-sized.

A collaboration between MIT and the Texas Advanced Computing Center has led to an Android application that the two institutions claim can do honest-to-goodness supercomputing.

TACC explains that the team at MIT performed a series of expensive high-fidelity simulations on TACC's Ranger supercomputer and then generated a smaller, reduced model, which was used to create an Android application for a Nexus One.

"You don’t need to have a high-powered computer on hand," insists David Knezevic, a post-doctoral associate in mechanical engineering at MIT. "Once you've created the reduced model, you can do all the computations on a phone."

Though this kind of model reduction has been done before, TACC says the MIT system's real advantage is its rigorous error bounds, which tell the user the range of possible solutions, and provide a metric of whether an answer is accurate or not.

Knezevic goes on to say that using a reduced scale model also results in faster computations.

"The payoff for model reduction is larger when you can go from an expensive supercomputer solution to a calculation that takes a couple of seconds on a smart phone," he said. "That’s a speed up of orders of magnitude."

 Check out MIT for a video of the process in action, or TACC to learn more about how they did it.

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  • husker
    It sounds to me like they had the supercomputer do all the hard calculations so that the phone could just take shortcuts by looking up the answer. Kind of like if I said "what's the (square root of 191) + 1?" Then all you would have to do is look up the square root of 191 in a table, and then add 1 to it. Wow! You're a human calculator!
    25
  • cookoy
    Baloney! Making a device (smartphone, laptop, desktop) run a reduced, scale-down model of an app that used to run on a supercomputer does not make the device a supercomputer. Taking journalism to the extreme.
    23
  • andrewcutter
    am i the only one who thinks that for the past few days toms is becoming my worse kind of journalists....
    "Sensational Journalism"
    Please stop giving such heading to future articles. Your readers are not dumb.:D pls keep simple plain less eyecatchy to the point heading. like a memo subject heading.
    This is not the sun or playboy that you are reading....
    my 2 cents only.
    *opinions expressed are mine only. not meant to degrade or harm others.*
    15
  • Other Comments
  • husker
    It sounds to me like they had the supercomputer do all the hard calculations so that the phone could just take shortcuts by looking up the answer. Kind of like if I said "what's the (square root of 191) + 1?" Then all you would have to do is look up the square root of 191 in a table, and then add 1 to it. Wow! You're a human calculator!
    25
  • JackFrost860
    Don't most users just want to make a phone call and maybe surf websites?
    10
  • welshmousepk
    Surely 'supercomputer' isn't an easily definable term?

    the average gamin computer has exponentially more power than the original 'Supercomputers' that were used to send man to space.

    by any solid definition, just about every advanced computer made today short of a netbook could be classed as a supercomputer.
    14