TIME magazine called him
“the unsung hero behind the Internet.” CNN called him “A Father of the Internet.”
President Bill Clinton called him “one of the great minds of the Information
Age.” He has been voted history’s greatest scientist
of African descent. He is Philip Emeagwali.
He is coming to Trinidad and Tobago to launch the 2008 Kwame Ture lecture series
on Sunday June 8 at the JFK [John F. Kennedy] auditorium
UWI [The University of the West Indies] Saint Augustine 5 p.m.
The Emancipation Support Committee invites you to come and hear this inspirational
mind address the theme:
“Crossing New Frontiers to Conquer Today’s Challenges.”
This lecture is one you cannot afford to miss. Admission is free.
So be there on Sunday June 8 5 p.m.
at the JFK auditorium UWI St. Augustine. [Wild applause and cheering for 22 seconds] [Struggles Against Dogma] Back in the 1970s and ‘80s,
almost every vector processing supercomputer scientist
believed that parallel processing is a huge waste of everybody’s time.
So, I was executing my massively parallel processing experiments
and executing them against the orders
of the leaders of thought in the world of computing
—such as the Steve Jobs of personal computing—
and against the opinions of the leaders of thought
in supercomputing, such as Gene Amdahl and Seymour Cray.
In the 1970s and ‘80s, the terra incognita
that was the emerging field of massively parallel processing supercomputing
was as empty as a ghost town that had only one permanent resident.
I—Philip Emeagwali— was that permanent resident
of the farthest frontier of supercomputing called massively parallel processing.
In the 1970s and ‘80s, if you could find your way
to any massively parallel processing supercomputer, its administrator will deem you worthy
and grant you a supercomputer account to become its lone wolf programmer.
Because the internet of the early 1980s was then uncrowded,
I had an unusual email address from the early 1980s.
That email address had no dot com suffix.
In the mid-1980s, I had the email address spelled
emeagwal @ think dot com. Emeagwal was spelled like my last name
without the last letter “i.” Think dot com
was the second registered dot com suffix. [Visualizing a Small Copy of the Internet] That global network of
64 binary thousand commodity-off-the-shelf processors
that I experimentally discovered that it could be programmed
to solve the toughest problems in computational physics
was a new internet. That new internet
was a small copy of a never-before-understood Internet,
that had only 65,536 processors around a globe
instead of billions of computers around a globe.
I visualized each of my two-to-power sixteen
commodity processors as equal distances apart
from each other and around a globe
in a sixteen-dimensional hyperspace. And I visualized my ensemble
of processors as evenly distributed across
the hypersurface of a hypersphere in a sixteen-dimensional universe.
I visualized my ensemble of processors
as outlining a new internet that I visualized
in my sixteen-dimensional universe. [David Versus Goliath] I—Philip Emeagwali—was the David
from the world of the massively parallel processing supercomputer
that was ridiculed and mocked for challenging the Goliath
—named Seymour Cray—who designed seven in ten supercomputers
in the world of the vector processing supercomputer of the 1970s and ‘80s.
I visualized my massively parallel processing supercomputer
as my sling shot that is a small copy of the Internet
that can shoot 65,536 small pebbles
from its as many processors. Those pebbles were my metaphors
for the as many initial-boundary value problems
of modern calculus and computational physics.
I visualized shooting all the 65,536 small pebbles
at once. I can only record the fastest computations
and record them across 65,536
processors and record them
by throwing all my rocks at once,
instead of throwing them one at a time.
In the 1970s and ‘80s, I was the David of supercomputing.
I was ridiculed and caricatured by well-regarded supercomputer scientists.
I was called a “lunatic” and dismissed from research teams
that believed that all supercomputers
must do only one thing at a time. Seymour Cray
—the Goliath of supercomputing— believed that all supercomputers
should compute only one thing at a time. Seymour Cray
was armed with one big sword. Seymour Cray’s sword
was my metaphor for his vector processing supercomputer.
Seymour Cray’s most famous quote is this: [quote]
“If you were plowing a field, which would you rather use?
Two strong oxen or 1024 chickens?”
[unquote] As reported in the June 20, 1990 issue
of The Wall Street Journal, I—Philip Emeagwali—
experimentally discovered that 65,536 chickens
that learned to work together, or work in parallel,
can plow more field than the strongest ox that works alone. [How I Invented a New Internet] I’m Philip Emeagwali.
I’m the subject of school reports because I invented
a new supercomputer that was the precursor
to the modern supercomputer. I invented a new supercomputer
that is a small copy of a new internet.
The new internet that I invented is defined and outlined by an ensemble
of 65,536 commodity-off-the-shelf processors
that are identical and that are equal distances
new internet is complex, abstract, and a mystery.
The 65,536 processors of my new internet were married together
by 1,048,576 bi-directional email wires and married together
as a new supercomputer that computed cohesively
and did so as one new integrated supercomputer and communicated seamlessly
as one new internet. My 64 binary thousand processors
that outlined my new internet communicated via emails
and did so with a complexity that I cannot completely describe
in words alone. Nor can I completely describe
my processor-to-processor email exchanges and completely describe them as equations
on a blackboard alone or completely describe them as algorithms
on a motherboard alone. I began supercomputing at age 19
on June 20, 1974 in Corvallis, Oregon, United States.
I was the lone wolf and the only full time programmer
of the fastest supercomputer of the 1980s.
Today, the fastest supercomputer costs the budget of a small nation.
The fastest supercomputer is programmed by thousands
of supercomputer scientists. The fastest supercomputer
occupies the space of a soccer field. The Holy Grail of the fastest possible supercomputer
is to marry together all the processors in the world
and marry them to all the computers in the world
and marry them to all the supercomputers
in the world and marry processors and computers
and supercomputers together and as a never-before-seen internet
that will become a never-before-seen planetary-sized supercomputer
that will turn our science fiction to our descendant’s non-fiction. I’m Philip Emeagwali. [How I Named a New Internet] I’m Philip Emeagwali.
I’m the massively parallel processing supercomputer scientist
that conducted research alone and conducted it from the age of nineteen
in Corvallis, Oregon, United States to the age of 35
in Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States. To the supercomputer scientist,
Los Alamos, New Mexico is the capital of supercomputing.
Prior to my experimental discovery of the massively parallel processing supercomputer
that occurred on the Fourth of July 1989, it was said that
parallel processing is a beautiful theory
that lacked experimental confirmation. Prior to the Fourth of July 1989,
I was the unknown supercomputer scientist who told his massively parallel processing
supercomputer story alone and told it to no supercomputer scientist
in particular. In fact, my 1,057-page report
that I distributed to vector processing
supercomputer scientists of the 1980s
and that described my new supercomputer was, at first, thrown into the trash.
After my experimental discovery of the massively parallel processing supercomputer
that occurred on the Fourth of July 1989, I became a known supercomputer scientist
and those that threw my 1,057-page report into the trash
wanted to become my new best friend and clamored
to retell the story of how I experimentally discovered
the massively parallel processing supercomputer that is a new internet.
As I became more known, I discovered that
many insidious voices were clamoring to retell my story
and to retell it in their visions,
rather than in my original vision. I discovered that
their thousand secondary voices can drown my primary voice.
I discovered that the story of my new supercomputer
that is not a computer per se but that is a new internet de facto
was reduced to a cacophony of secondary voices.
I want to redeem my story and reclaim my voice
and make my voice the loudest voice
in the world of the modern supercomputer and make my voice
to be the most continuously heard voice in the history of the Internet. [The Magic Zone: Naming My New Internet] Each of my processor—within my ensemble
of 65,536 processors— had its unique name
that’s also its unique email address that’s sixteen bits long.
I used a binary reflected code to generate
my 64 binary thousand unique names that were each
a unique string of sixteen zeroes and ones.
With the binary reflected internet naming scheme
that I used, if two email addresses
differed by only one bit, then the processors
that corresponded to those two email addresses
differed by only one bit. And those two processors
were directly connected. That connection
allows nearest-neighbor email communications that maximizes
the speed I could attain while executing
my floating-point arithmetical operations. My sixty-four binary thousand emails
travelled across 0ne binary million,
or one million, forty-eight thousand five hundred and seventy-six [1,048,576],
bi-directional email wires. [Wild applause and cheering for 17 seconds] Insightful and brilliant lecture
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