Short History of Philip Emeagwali | A Father of the Internet | Black Inventors and their Inventions

Short History of Philip Emeagwali | A Father of the Internet | Black Inventors and their Inventions


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] [Inventing a New Supercomputer] [Changing the Way We Look at the Computer] Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. I’m Philip Emeagwali. On the Fourth of July 1989,
in Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States, I discovered
how to solve the toughest problems arising in science and engineering.
I discovered how to solve grand challenge problems
and how to solve them by dividing them into one million smaller problems.
I discovered how to solve those problems at once,
or in parallel, and how to solve them across one million processors
that outlined and defined a new internet. That discovery,
called practical parallel supercomputing, was my physical realization
of a hypothesis that was published as science fiction
back on February 1, 1922. That science fiction was published as
64,000 humans working together as one
and doing so to solve the complex partial differential equations of calculus
that, in turn, must be solved because their solutions were the preconditions
to mathematically forecasting the weather for the whole Earth.
I was in the news headlines shortly after my discovery
that occurred on the Fourth of July 1989. I was in the news headlines
because I was the first person to figure out how to solve
that grand challenge problem of weather forecasting
and for figuring out how to solve the problem across
a new internet that is a new global network of
64 binary thousand processors that encirlced a globe
in the sixteenth dimension and encircled that globe
in the manner the Internet encircled the Earth.
Parallel processing is vital to the supercomputer
that must solve up to one million problems
at once, or in parallel. [CONTRIBUTIONS TO LARGE-SCALE ALGEBRA] It took a decade for my discovery
of parallel processing to eventually reach the ears
of the supercomputer committee that awarded me the top prize
in the field of supercomputing. Prior to winning that top prize,
I studied physics and calculus and I did so full time
for twenty years. Calculus and large-scale algebra
are at the granite core of extreme-scale computational physics
that, in turn, is the test bed for never-before-seen supercomputers.
My contributions to mathematics made the news headlines in 1989 because I
discovered how to reformulate
the tridiagonal system of equations arising in large-scale
computational physics, such as the highest,
the most fine-grained, and the most extreme-scaled
petroleum reservoir simulations of the oilfields
of the Niger Delta region of southeastern Nigeria.
I was in the news because I returned to first principles,
or the laws of physics. From the laws of physics,
I reformulated the grand challenge problem
of computational physics. I achieved that by inventing
a diagonal system of governing equations of algebra
that replaced the otherwise tridiagonal system
that must be solved sequentially, instead of solved
in parallel and across millions upon millions
of commodity-off-the-shelf processors. I set up the largest system of equations of
algebra and I did so in the context of
discovering and recovering otherwise elusive crude oil and natural gas.
I was in the news headlines because I used the oilfield as my testbed
and used it to prove for the first time ever
that the parallel supercomputer is faster than the sequential supercomputer. [My Contributions to the Supercomputer] Prior to my experimental discovery,
practical parallel supercomputing was largely the stuff of
theorical computer science. In my world
of the parallel supercomputer, July 4, 1989, was a red-letter day.
My parallel processing experiment made the news headlines because
it was a game changer for the field of supercomputing.
The first ever discovery that the parallel supercomputer
is the fastest computer in the world opened the door
to a new supercomputer and to a new computer science.
In my new way of parallel processing, the modern computer
would not be a computer per se but will be billions upon billions
of interconnected processors and email pathways
by which the processors communicate and work together
to solve grand challenge problems arising in science, engineering,
and medicine. [Inventing a New Computer] [The First Supercomputer I Programmed] The first supercomputer
that I programmed, back on June 20, 1974,
was named the CDC 3300. That supercomputer
was front-ended by the PDP-8 computer. I programmed that supercomputer
to solve a system of equations of algebra. That supercomputer
was manufactured in December 1965. In March 1967,
that supercomputer was upgraded to CDC 3500.
That supercomputer was at 1800 SW Campus Way,
Corvallis, Oregon, United States. That supercomputer
ran a Corvallis grown operating system called OS-3,
an acronym for Oregon State Open Shop Operating System.
In Corvallis (Oregon) and from the 1960s to June 1977,
I was one of the up to eight programmers that could simultaneously log into
the CDC 3300. In Oregon and in 1974 and onwards,
I took computer courses. I also learned about computers
from a twenty half-hour videotaped series
that were recorded back in October 1971. I also studied the 140-paged
computer manual that came along with the
videotaped series. [A Black African in Whitest America] Oregon was one of the whitest states
in the United States. Oregon had always attracted
white separatist groups who advocated
for the reinstatement of laws similar to the infamous
Oregon Lash Law of 1844. The Oregon Lash Law
that was passed thirteen decades before my arrival
in Oregon stipulated that any black person
in Oregon Country, free or slave, shall be whipped
twice a year until he or she flees Oregon Territory.
I first arrived in Oregon on Sunday March 24, 1974.
In my first year, I lived in the cities of Monmouth
and Independence (Oregon). In my second and third years,
I lived in Corvallis, Oregon. People in Monmouth (Oregon)
see a black person about once a week. The first two cities in Oregon
that I lived in had no black couple. When I left Corvallis (Oregon),
on June 5, 1977, it had a population of about 40,000
but had only one black family. Back in early 2010,
I was told by the International Student advisor
in Monmouth, Oregon, that no African
lives in Monmouth, Oregon. Monmouth (Oregon)
was the first American city that I lived in
and I was the fourth Nigerian to live in that city.
Due to social isolation, black people that lived in
Corvallis (Oregon) don’t stay long in Corvallis.
Despite its checkered past, I found the people of Oregon
to be friendly and supportive. It seems like Oregon
was trying to distant itself from its past. [Inventing a New Supercomputer] I began supercomputing in Oregon
on June 20, 1974. The CDC 3300 was called
the first supercomputer because it was the first computer
that was calibrated at one million instructions per second.
To discover is to change the narrative of science.
Before 1989, computer science was a study of the science of
processing information on only one isolated processor
that was not a member of an ensemble of processors.
After 1989, the frontier of knowledge of computer science
was extended to an ensemble of processors.
The grand challenge question of supercomputing
is the toughest IQ test in science and engineering.
My contribution to the development of the computer
is this: I changed the narrative
in computer centers and in supercomputer textbooks.
Back in the 1970s and ‘80s, in Oregon, District of Columbia, Maryland,
Wyoming, and New Mexico, I was exploring
the grand challenge questions that will change the way
we looked at the computer. [Turning Science Fiction to Reality] By definition and as the inventor,
I was not trained in the never-before-seen
massively parallel supercomputer technology that did not exist.
That is, I was searching for answers to grand challenge questions
that could not be googled in the 1970s. Back in June 1970, at age fifteen,
at Christ the King College, Onitsha, Nigeria, I unknowingly
began my technological journey to the unknown world
of the massively parallel supercomputer that was then
in the realm of science fiction. The mathematical path
that I forged—from my high school algebra textbook
to the solution of the largest system of equations
in algebra—took me across a new internet that I visualized
within a sixteen dimensional hyperspace. [Early Life of Philip Emeagwali] [Early Science Fair Projects on the Electric
Fish] Back in March 1972,
I was an independent student studying alone
in the small village called “Ibuzor” that was in the then Midwest state
of Nigeria. In the mornings and afternoons,
I studied in our house that was behind the small hospital
in Ibuzor. In the late afternoons,
I studied alone at Sacred Heart Primary School,
Ibuzor. That school was a short distance
from the town’s market. I also conducted independent research
at the Science Fair level and I did so from mid-1970
at Venn Road (Onitsha) to late 1973
in Ibuzor, Asaba, and Onitsha (Nigeria). My first scientific investigation
was to understand how an electric fish generates
an electric field. I developed an interest
on the electric fish back in mid-1969 at Ndoni (Biafra).
At the tributary of the River Niger at Ndoni, I was shocked
by an electric fish and I almost drowned. [Early Science Fair Projects in Mathematics] Back in the early 1970s,
I conducted research for new mathematical knowledge.
My mathematical research was a quest for new Pythagorean triples
that consisted of three positive integers a, b, and c, such that
a-squared plus b-squared is equal to c-squared.
In summary, I started my research as a mathematician
and continued my research for twenty years
as a mathematician and a physicist but I became known
as an extreme-scaled mathematical and computational physicist
that contributed to the development of the supercomputer.
My supercomputer is a new internet de facto. [Newspaper Mentions of Philip Emeagwali in
1972] Back in the early 1970s
and in Nigeria, my research libraries
were the Onitsha Central Library that was in GRA
(the local acronym for Government Reserved Area), Onitsha,
the British Council Library in Enugu,
and the East-Central State Library also in Enugu.
As a teenager in Nigeria, I was two decades away
from the frontier of knowledge of the massively parallel supercomputer
that costs the budget of a small nation. For that reason, my early research
was actually a Science Fair Project. My research project on the electric fish
was why the Science Column of a mid-1972 issue
of the Daily Times of Nigeria had an entry that was credited to:
“Philip Emeagwali, Christ the King College,
Onitsha, East Central State, Nigeria.” That was my first known printed use
of the word “Emeagwali” in any newspaper.
Back in mid-1971 and at age sixteen, I was unaware of how and where
to publish my research findings. For that reason, I submitted
my mathematical re-discoveries on number theory
to The Reader’s Digest and to Drum magazine.
Drum is a black lifestyle magazine and one of Africa’s leading magazines.
Drum magazine was to post-colonial Africans
what Ebony magazine is to African Americans.
At age sixteen and in Africa, I did not know that I shouldn’t submit
my mathematical re-discoveries to The Reader’s Digest
and to Drum magazine. Fast forward a quarter of a century
to the United States, I was featured as a cover story
in the March 19, 1998 issue of Drum magazine.
Drum magazine was published in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Drum magazine introduced me to black South Africans.
That Drum magazine story was titled: “Superbrain of Africa.”
The heart of those articles written about Philip Emeagwali
was that I discovered the supercomputer-hopeful’s
most well-guarded secret, namely, how to parallel process
and how to solve grand challenge problems
across a new internet that is defined and outlined
by millions upon millions of commodity-off-the-shelf processors.
Yet, the paradigm shift for the field of supercomputing
isn’t recording the fastest calculations. The heart of supercomputing
is solving the grand challenge problems of computer science. [Struggles to Arrive in the United States] I began my scientific journey
to the frontier of the fastest supercomputer
that must be used to solve the toughest problems
arising in STEM fields. I began my technological journey
with the slowest analog computer, called a slide rule,
that I purchased in June 1970 in Onitsha (Nigeria).
I began that journey as a tiny entry
of the name “Philip Emeagwali” in the Daily Times of Nigeria
of mid-1972. I bought my first analog computer
for the price of one Nigerian pound. That was one month’s wage,
back in 1970. I bought that manual computer
from a bookstore that was near Zik’s Roundabout
and that was near Dennis Memorial Grammar School,
Onitsha, East Central State, Nigeria.
Three years after I purchased my manual computer,
I received a scholarship letter from Oregon, United States
that was dated September 10, 1973. [Struggles in Nigeria] [The Ancestry of Philip Emeagwali] For five centuries, my ancestors
were born in Onitsha (Nigeria). In about 1905,
my great grand-father, whose first name was “Emeagwali”,
was re-located from his ancestral homeland that is the present location
of General Hospital, Onitsha, Nigeria. I know the names of my ancestors
up to the year—1562— when the first slaves
were captured by John Hawkins. John Hawkins was England’s
first slave trader. John Hawkins brought the first slaves from
the Gulf of Guinea of the Atlantic Ocean
to the West Indies. My Igbo-speaking ancestors
were farmers and hunters. My grandparents could not read.
The farthest my paternal grandfather travelled from his mud thatched home
at 17 Mba Road, Onitsha, at the east bank of the River Niger
was to visit his maternal cousins who were living
on the west bank of the River Niger at Asaba.
The farthest my maternal grandfather travelled from his birthplace
at 6 Wilkinson Road, Onitsha, was to visit his maternal cousins
in the village of Obosi that was just a two-mile walk. [The Oldest School in Nigeria] I’m from Anambra State of Nigeria.
Anambra State adopted the motto: “The Light of the Nation.”
In mid-19th century Nigeria, elders shared their knowledge
and wisdom in informal settings, such as oral literature
in the form of moonlight stories. There were no primary schools
in Igbo Land up to a century before I was born.
The first primary school in Nigeria
was established in 1843 in Badagry, Lagos.
Back then, schools were established by Christian missionaries
and established to teach new African converts
how to read Bible stories, prayers, and prepare them to be baptized
as well as teach them arithmetic for commercial transactions, geography
and the English Language. About two decades
after the first primary school in Nigeria, the first primary school in Igbo Land
was built. That first school was located
in my ancestral hometown of Onitsha, Nigeria.
That first school was located a short walking distance
from the household of my paternal great grandfather
that was then, in the late 1850s, at the present day location
of General Hospital, Onitsha. [The First Primary School in Igbo Land] My ancestors are from the Igbo tribe
of southeastern Nigeria. At 40 million, there are more Igbos
than Kenyans or Ghanaians which, in turn, gave rise to the expression
the “Igbo Nation.” As a nation, Ndi Igbo
will be about the tenth most populous in Africa.
My ancestral hometown, Onitsha, is to Igbo Land
what London is to England. The first school in Onitsha
was a night school that opened on Monday
November 15, 1858, and opened two years and four months before
Abraham Lincoln became the president
of the United States. The first students at that first school
were young female slaves, who were ridiculed by the community.
In the mid-19th century, my forefathers preferred hands-on
agricultural education to classroom education.
In the year 1864, the total school enrollment in Igbo Land comprised
of seventy night students and fifty day students
and all those 120 students were in Onitsha,
a town of about 20,000 persons. The first school in Onitsha
was apparently built under the supervision of
Reverend John Taylor, a Sierra Leonean of Igbo ancestry who, in
turn, reported to Bishop Ajayi Crowther,
a freed slave of Yoruba ancestry that is the subject of school reports
in Nigeria. That first primary school
of mid-19th century was where Ndi Igbo
learned the times table of arithmetic. [The First Secondary School in Igbo Land] The first secondary school in Igbo Land, is
named Dennis Memorial Grammar School, or D.M.G.S., Onitsha.
That first high school was founded on the 25th of January 1925.
D.M.G.S. was located a short walk from the household
of my grandfather at 17 Mba Road, Onitsha.
The first times algebra, physics, and eventually introductory calculus
were introduced in Igbo Land was most likely in Onitsha
at either Christ the King College (Onitsha) that was founded on February 2, 1933
or in Dennis Memorial Grammar School that was founded on January 25, 1925.
When my father was born, back in May 1921
at 17 Mba Road, Onitsha, there was no secondary school
in Igbo Land, a region that is now the ancestral land
of 40 million persons. And when my father graduated from Christ the
King College, Onitsha (Nigeria), back in 1947, there was no university in Nigeria. [Importance of First Schools] Because the first schools in Igbo Land were
in my ancestral hometown of Onitsha,
it should not come as a surprise that a high concentration
of Nigeria’s leading intellectuals were born in and around Onitsha, Anambra state,
especially in Onitsha Inland Town, called Enu-Onicha.
Names of persons born in or around Onitsha
who made contributions to human knowledge include
Olaudah Equiano who is credited by African-American historians
as the father of black literature, Nnamdi Azikiwe
who was Nigeria’s foremost public intellectual of the 1940s and ‘50s,
Chinua Achebe who is Africa’s foremost novelist,
and Ben Enwonwu who is Nigeria’s most influential artist. [Civil War and Corruption in Nigeria] [Early Childhood of Philip Emeagwali] In 1965, I was in the sixth grade
in Saint John’s Primary School, Agbor, Nigeria.
In January 1966, I enrolled in Saint George’s Grammar School, Obinomba,
Nigeria. Fifteen months later,
I fled from Obinomba (Nigeria) to Onitsha (Biafra).
My Igbo-speaking family fled from Nigeria to Biafra
and we fled because thousands of Igbos
from southeastern Nigeria were been killed
in Northern Nigeria. That organized killings of Igbos
occurred from May 29, 1966 through September 29, 1966.
That civil uprising preceded the war between Nigeria and Biafra.
That war began on July 6, 1967 and ended on January 15, 1970.
One in fifteen Biafrans died during that 30-month long war.
In the list of the worst genocidal crimes of the 20th century
that was committed against humanity, the death of one in fifteen Biafrans
was ranked fifth. In the evening of March 21, 1968,
the day my hometown of Onitsha was captured by Nigerian soldiers,
we fled on foot and fled from 14 Mba Road, Onitsha (Biafra)
to Merchants of Light School, Oba (Biafra). Tens of thousands of refugees
that fled from Onitsha were camped
at Merchants of Light School, Oba (Biafra). At about six o’clock
of the following morning of March 22, 1968,
we were alerted by fleeing refugees that advancing Nigerian soldiers
had captured Onitsha and might capture our refugee camp
at Oba and do so within a few hours.
Scared, we continued our flight to Nnewi and Nnobi
and stopped our flight when we reached a refugee camp
that was a former school class room that was across the street
from the Catholic Church in Awka-Etiti (Biafra).
About five days after the war was over, or about January 20, 1970,
we returned as refugees and squatted for five months
in an abandoned house that was along Port Harcourt Road
in the Fegge quarters of Onitsha. In mid-1970, I began to teach myself physics,
algebra, geometry, and calculus. [Struggles Against Corruption in Nigeria] About two weeks
after I received a scholarship letter from Oregon, United States,
that was dated September 10, 1973, I was in Lagos (Nigeria)
to apply for an international travel passport.
Back in 1973, the Nigerian passport or its application forms
cannot be received by mail. At that time, the Nigerian passport office
in Kakawa Street, Lagos (Nigeria) had a reputation
as a cesspool of corruption. All persons applying for
the Nigerian passport spent months coming to the passport office
and did so to monitor the progress of their applications.
Nigerian travel passports were deliberately withheld
by the Chief Passport Officer in Lagos.
Back in 1973, my travel passport was withheld until shortly after Christmas
Day. My passport was withheld
until I paid a bribe of five pounds to one of the passport touts.
I had expected to be in the United States as early as June 1973, at age 18.
I had applied for admission into American schools,
and I applied shortly after, I had passed the entrance examination
to the University of London that I took as an external candidate
back in January 1973 in Onitsha, East-Central State, Nigeria.
My Nigerian travel passport was issued in late December 1973
and after a six month delay. I arrived in the United States
on Sunday March 24, 1974, and after a nine-month delay
and after paying a bribe of five pounds to a passport tout
who claimed that the Chief Passport Officer
gets a large commission from that bribe. That five pounds was a month’s wage.
My Nigerian travel passport was also withheld
until I paid a presumably round trip airfare
from Lagos (Nigeria) to Portland (Oregon, United States).
That two-way airfare was in addition to my one-way airfare
to Portland, Oregon, United States. That two-way airfare
was called “repatriation fee” but it was an extortion fee.
I paid for a round-trip ticket but I was never given any ticket.
I paid 150 pounds, or 30 months salary, as the advance “repatriation fee.”
I paid the Chief Passport Officer in Lagos, Nigeria,
two-and-half years salary, for the privilege of leaving Nigeria
to study in the United States. As a result of that exorbitant extortion
from the Chief Passport Officer, I arrived in the United States
with only 134 dollars, or much less than the bribe
that I paid the corrupt Chief Passport Officer
of Nigeria. I believe that my repatriation fee
went into the personal bank account of the Chief Passport Officer
in Lagos (Nigeria). [Paradigm Shift in Supercomputing] [The Supercomputer in Oregon in 1974] My first night outside Nigeria
was spent in Room 36 of Butler Hall, Monmouth, Oregon, United States.
I checked into Butler Hall at about six in the evening
of Sunday March 24, 1974. Three months later, on June 20, 1974,
I began programming the CDC 3300. That was the first supercomputer
to be rated at one million instructions per second.
That supercomputer was marketed seven years earlier
as the world’s fastest computer. By far, the most important contribution
to the field of supercomputing is to attain a speed
that was once-impossible and then to harness that new speed
to solve the grand challenge problems arising in science and engineering. [A Breakthrough in Supercomputing] Such a breakthrough
in computational mathematics, or the supercomputer solution
of a grand challenge problem, is particularly worthy
of being a benchmark in the history of the computer.
That breakthrough is noteworthy if it changed the way
we looked at the computer and the internet.
With the supercomputer that communicates across processors
and do so synchronously and computes within processors
and do so simultaneously, we now have answers
to previously unanswerable grand challenge questions.
But back in 1974, my unanswerable question
was how to solve a large system of equations of algebra
and how to solve them across a new global network
of 64 binary thousand processors that defined and outlined a new internet.
On June 20, 1974, the day I began programming supercomputers,
the number of computer scientists in the world were few.
That should not come as a surprise. After all, the first computer science academic
programs started only ten years earlier.
For that reason, I was one of only 24 programmers
from around the state of Oregon that were remotely logged into
the supercomputer that was at 1800 SW Campus Way,
Corvallis, Oregon, United States. [New Paradigm in Supercomputing] Three months before I started programming
supercomputers, I had arrived from Onitsha, Nigeria.
It seemed like I was catapulted from a sling shot
from Onitsha to Oregon. At that time, my family in Nigeria
were still struggling to pronounce the word “Oregon.”
The sling shot that catapulted me to Oregon
was a scholarship letter that was dated September 10, 1973.
When I left Nigeria, they was no computer in Nigeria,
or in Sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa.
Looking back to 1974, I derived recognition
from being at the frontier of supercomputing
and being there when only twenty-four people
were logged into the primary computer in the entire state of Oregon.
On the sixteenth anniversary of my entry
into the frontier of supercomputing, trade publications
and newspaper articles, such as the June 20, 1990 issue
of The Wall Street Journal, wrote that
I—Philip Emeagwali—had discovered a different way of looking at supercomputers.
I discovered a new paradigm for supercomputing
that uses sixty-five thousand five hundred and thirty-six [65,536]
central processing units to record the once-impossible
3.1 billion calculations per second.
My discovery was a paradigm shift because Seymour Cray—the then leading light in the
world of supercomputers— said that
it will forever remain impossible to use sixty-five thousand
five hundred and thirty-six [65,536] “chickens,” that was his metaphor
for the as many slowest central processing units,
and use them to defeat one strong ox,
that was his metaphor for the fastest
vector supercomputers. [THE PARALLEL SUPERCOMPUTER MAKES THE IMPOSSIBLE
POSSIBLE] I was in the news in 1989
because I discovered that the impossible-to-solve
within a sequential supercomputer is possible-to-solve across
a parallel processing machinery that is not a computer per se.
That new machinery is a virtual supercomputer
and is a new internet de facto. That new internet
is a new global network of sixty-five thousand
five hundred and thirty-six [65,536] central processing units.
At a visceral level, I felt like a nineteen-year-old
that sojourned from the heart of my ancestral Igbo Land
and across the Atlantic Ocean, beyond North America,
and beyond the North Pole and sojourned to reach
the 21st century’s land of the spirits (or ala mmuo), namely,
the unexplored territory of the never-before-seen computer
and the new internet. It was within that unknown world
of the massively parallel supercomputer that I discovered
how to solve the once-impossible grand challenge problems
and thereby extend the boundaries of mathematics, science,
and engineering. I made the impossible-to-solve
possible-to-solve and I accomplished that
when I discovered how to perform the world’s fastest computations
and, far more importantly, discovered how to perform the fastest calculations
and do so with and across the slowest processors in the world. [Contributions to the Development of the Computer] [Philip Emeagwali: What is He Famous For?] In 1989, it made the news headlines
that a lone wolf Nigerian Supercomputer Wizard
in the United States had discovered how to build
the fastest supercomputer and discovered how to always compute fastest.
I am that Nigerian supercomputer scientist
that was in the news back in 1989 and in the news for discovering
practical parallel supercomputing. I was in the news because
I was unconventional and saw something previously unseen,
namely, a new way of supercomputing. In the old way of supercomputing,
a supercomputer that did only one thing at a time
was used to solve the toughest problems that arose in mathematics, science,
and engineering. In my new way of supercomputing,
I used the slowest processors that each merely executed
forty-seven thousand three hundred and three [47,303] calculations
per second per processor.
I am that lone wolf supercomputer scientist
that was in the news for discovering
how to perform the fastest calculations and how to do so across a new internet
that is a new global network of sixty-five thousand
five hundred and thirty-six [65,536] inexpensive, tightly-coupled,
commodity-off-the-shelf processors that shared nothing between each other. What is the contribution
of Philip Emeagwali to the development of the computer? I discovered
how to always perform the world’s fastest computations
and perform it with the world’s slowest
processors. I was in the news, in 1989, because
my experimental discovery of practical parallel supercomputing
marked a milestone in the history of the computer.
For me—Philip Emeagwali— my experimental discovery of 1989
of practical parallel supercomputing wasn’t unexpected.
I expected to confirm my earlier theoretical discovery
of how to massively parallel process across a new internet
that will become a virtual supercomputer.
I expected to confirm that I could communicate across
and compute on sixty-five thousand five hundred and thirty-six [65,536]
computational fluid dynamics codes and communicate and compute them
at once. As a theory, my theoretical discovery
of parallel supercomputing was ridiculed
as a huge waste of everybody’s time. Yet, I discovered
how to save everybody time and how to do so
by synchronously communicating and simultaneously computing
in only one day what used to take
sixty-five thousand five hundred and thirty-six
[65,536] days, or 180 years. [Contribution of Philip Emeagwali to Computer
Development] The contribution
of Philip Emeagwali to the development of the computer
is this: I experimentally discovered
how to parallel process across a new internet
that is a new global network of sixty-five thousand
five hundred and thirty-six [65,536] central processing units.
After my discovery, a grand challenge problem
that formerly took sixty-five thousand five hundred and thirty-six
[65,536] days, or 180 years, of time-to-solution
on one central processing unit now takes only one day
of time-to-solution across a new internet.
Metaphorically speaking, that was how I discovered
180 years in one day. [Why a Supercomputer Scientist Hid His Racial
Identity] Back in 1989, the Award Committee
of The Computer Society was not aware that I was black
and African and for that reason gave me credit
for discovering practical parallel supercomputing
and did so without taking race into consideration.
But scientists that knew that I was black and African
were terribly upset that The Computer Society
gave me the top award in the field of supercomputing
and gave it to me without digging deeper to discover
that I was black and African. In that respect,
the IEEE Computer Society did not give
the top supercomputer award to a black supercomputer scientist.
I simply kept the credits for my contributions
and I could keep them because I was the sole inventor
of practical parallel supercomputing and the sole expert
on the new supercomputer that parallel processed across
my ensemble of 64 binary thousand processors.
Parallel processing appeared as science fiction
on February 1, 1922 and as 64 thousand human computers
working together and in parallel and doing so to forecast the weather.
The precondition to forecasting the weather
is that those 64 thousand human computers
must solve the initial-boundary value grand challenge problem of calculus
that is governed by the primitive equations
of meteorology. For thirty-six years after 1922,
interest in parallel processing was lost, in part, because
the automatic programmable computer that provided the motivation
for faster computing did not exist and was not invented until 1946.
Parallel processing started appearing in computer science literature
and appeared regularly onwards of 1958. For the thirty-one years onward of 1958, parallel
processing was mocked at computer science conferences
and the supercomputer technology was ridiculed as a beautiful theory
that lacked an experimental confirmation. [Changing the Way Mathematicians Count] [Changing the Way We Look at Computers] As a research supercomputer scientist,
my goal is to discover how to compute fastest
and do so with the slowest processors, or how to do more with less
and how to create reality from science-fiction.
Parallel processing—the technology that enables the supercomputer
to solve many problems at once—enabled me
to solve 65,536 problems at once. In principle, your computer
can do whatever my supercomputer can do.
However, your computer that is powered by only one
isolated processor takes 30,000 years to solve a grand challenge problem
that my supercomputer that is powered by an ensemble of
over 10 million processors takes only one day to solve.
Practical parallel supercomputing must be investigated on a broad canvas
and imagined in broad imaginative strokes.
Practical parallel supercomputing only benefits humankind
if and only if it is proven to solve the grand challenge problems.
Practical parallel supercomputing is not for the faint of heart
or for those locked within their own intellectual silos.
As a research supercomputer scientist, my goal was not to merely invent
new algebra and new calculus. My research goal was to project
my new mathematics and project that new knowledge
from the blackboard to the motherboard
and across a new internet that is a new global network of
64 binary thousand processors and, most importantly, to project
that new supercomputer into the real world
where it helps my country of birth, Nigeria, discover and recover
otherwise elusive crude oil and natural gas,
or where it impacts the market trader in my ancestral hometown
of Onitsha. The fastest supercomputer
attracts the toughest mathematical problems
in physics in the manner a high mountain
attracts the storms. The supercomputer is to mathematics
what the Nile is to Egypt. Each is a lifeline.
The supercomputer is an intellectual extension
of the complex equations scribbled on the mathematician’s blackboard.
My goal was to invent a supercomputer out of the slowest processors.
Inventing that supercomputer demanded that I become an athlete
of the mind. Nine out of ten supercomputer cycles
are consumed solving the partial differential equation
of calculus and physics. For that reason,
practical parallel supercomputing may be defined
as solving millions upon millions of initial-boundary value problems
at once. On the Fourth of July 1989,
I announced my discovery of practical parallel supercomputing.
The response from everybody was that I made a mistake.
The first six copies of my 1,057-page research report
that was dated July 4, 1989 that described how I discovered
practical parallel supercomputing were thrown into the dustbin
of the reviewers. I was mocked
and I was warned that I was computing with science-fiction,
not with a new supercomputer. Everybody that said that
I made a mistake was mistaken. Practical parallel supercomputing
has withstood the test of time and is the vital technology
that powers every supercomputer manufactured today.
That experimental discovery that occurred on the Fourth of July 1989
took the parallel supercomputer from a research and development project
to the widespread commercialization that is called the modern computer.
Parallel processing validated the modern computer.
The amount of new computations that I discovered how to compute
on the 4th of July 1989 was 64 binary thousand times
what could be computed only one day earlier. After 1989, massively parallel processing
became the standard technology that must be used in all supercomputers.
Before 1989, the fastest one thousand supercomputers
in the world derived their supercomputing speeds
from only one vector processing unit. After 1989,
the fastest one thousand supercomputers in the world
derived their supercomputing speeds from up to 10.65 million
central processing units that counter-intuitively computed
10.65 million things at once, instead of intuitively computing
only one thing at a time. My 1989 paradigm shift
from computing only one thing at a time to computing 65,536 things at once
opened the door to computing 10.65 million things at once.
A future world without the parallel supercomputer
could be a world without the computer of the future.
If parallel supercomputing is subtracted from human knowledge,
nearly every computer, all supercomputers,
and the internet itself will shut down!! Parallel supercomputing is not
a new knowledge that was created. Parallel supercomputing exists theoretically
and a priori and existed as a technique
that was uncovered for computing faster. I discovered practical parallel supercomputing
when I parallel processed across my new internet
that was a new global network of 65,536 tightly-coupled,
commodity-off-the-shelf processors that shared nothing between each other
and that were equal distances apart from each other.
I turned science-fiction to reality by discovering
how to parallel compute and how to do so sight unseen.
I was in the news back in 1989 because I was the first person
to solve a grand challenge problem and solve it
by massively parallel computing it. I achieved that
supercomputer breakthrough and did so at a time
all my 64 binary thousand processors
were expected to forever remain silent. Parallel supercomputing is an invention because
computers and supercomputers are now parallel processing. Thank you. I’m Philip Emeagwali. [How I Invented a New Internet that is a New
Supercomputer] [What is Philip Emeagwali Famous For in Computing?] I’m Philip Emeagwali.
The fundamental problem of supercomputing
was to discover how to solve the toughest problems
arising in mathematics, science, and engineering.
And to discover how to solve those grand challenge problems across
an ensemble of processors that were identical to each other
and that shared nothing between each other
with each processor operating its own operating system.
The latter was the biggest scientific question
in the unknown world of the supercomputer.
The concrete, measurable, and visible proof
that I was in the terra incognita, or in the unexplored territory,
of the supercomputer was that it made the news headlines
that I experimentally parallel processed and communicated across
a new internet. After my invention
of practical parallel processing, I became well known
but not known well. That is, many knew Philip Emeagwali
as an inventor but few understood his invention.
It’s easier to recognize my face than to understand
my abstract contributions to mathematics, physics,
and computer science. Who is Philip Emeagwali? I am the computational mathematician
that contributed to a greater understanding
of how to execute the fastest floating-point calculations of arithmetic. I am the research mathematician
who figured out how to solve the largest system of equations
of algebra that must be solved
to discover and recover otherwise elusive
crude oil and natural gas. I am the mathematician
that invented new partial differential equations
of the calculus of extreme-scaled petroleum reservoir simulation. For those reasons, I said that
I am well known as a supercomputer scientist
that contributed to the development of the computer
but I am not known well as a mathematician
that contributed to mathematics. It’s easier to understand that
I contributed to the modern computer or to the modern supercomputer
that’s an internet than to understand my contributions
to computational mathematics and even computational physics.
Most people think calculus is difficult to understand.
The invention of the fastest computer
is easier to recall than the invention
of the most advanced expression in calculus
that, in turn, is the recurring decimal in nearly all the workloads
of supercomputers. [School Reports on Philip Emeagwali] A 12-year-old writing
a school inventor report on Philip Emeagwali
cannot explain to her teacher how the new nine
partial differential equations that I contributed to calculus
is more accurate than the previous equations
in textbooks. On the other hand,
she could explain my contributions to the development of the supercomputer
that is a new internet. The technology called
practical parallel processing that I discovered
on the Fourth of July 1989 was called a grand challenge
for a good reason. Because it was a once-impossible problem
that was in the realm of science-fiction the machinery was abandoned
by 25,000 supercomputer scientists that were only at home
with scalar and/or vector processing. I was the only full time programmer
of the 1980s that was at the frontier
of the most massively parallel supercomputers. In the 1980s, attempting to harness
64 binary thousand processors and to use them to solve
the biggest scientific challenges evoked a sense of foreboding.
In the 1980s, harnessing one billion processors—that defined
and outlined a massively parallel supercomputer
—and using them to solve a grand challenge problem
was as science fiction as sending an astronaut to planet Mars. [WHY I PARALLEL PROCESSED ALONE] In the 1980s, to parallel process
a grand challenge problem was to make the impossible-to-solve
initial-boundary value problem of calculus and physics
possible-to-solve as a discretized problem
in large-scale algebra. The reason I parallel processed alone
was that I was the only person with the confidence to do so.
In the 1970s and ‘80s, practical parallel supercomputing
across a new internet that was a new global network of
65,536 processors was like shooting at as many birds
in the dark. I parallel processed
to discover speeds in computation and communication
that were previously unseen, and that made the news headlines
in 1989. Supercomputer scientists
that had seen me daily in the 1980s
first read about my discovery of practical parallel supercomputing
and read about it in newspapers, instead of hearing about my discovery from
me. For me as a lone
supercomputer scientist, breaking the speed records
in both computation and communication and breaking those records alone
and breaking those records for the first time
and breaking those records with a parallel processing machinery
was the metaphorical equivalence of being the first solo mountain climber
that climbed to the peak of Mount Everest.
The significance of reaching the top of Mount Everest
and being the first person to reach it was an achievement
in geographical exploration that redefined the boundary
of the reachable regions of the Earth. I was in the news headlines because
I was the first lone wolf supercomputer scientist
to climb to the peak of the Mount Everest
of massively parallel supercomputing across a new ensemble of
65,536 tightly-coupled, commodity-off-the shelf processors
that shared nothing between each other and that were equal distances apart
from each other. [Inventing a New Internet] [Thirty Thousand Years in One Day] Prior to my experimental discovery
of practical parallel supercomputing and my discovery
of how to solve a grand challenge problem
and how to solve it across a new internet,
the fastest computations were recorded
on the scalar supercomputers of the late 1940s
through early 1970s. The fastest computations
were also recorded on the vector supercomputers
of the mid-1970s through late 1980s. I first entered
into the world of scalar supercomputing on June 20, 1974
at 1800 SW Campus Way Corvallis, Oregon, United States.
That scalar supercomputer solved only one
initial-boundary value problem of calculus at a time.
The ensemble of 65,536 processors that I programmed in the 1980s
and programmed as a new internet
and that made the news headlines in 1989
solved 65,536 initial-boundary value problems
at once. Initial-boundary value problems
of calculus are at the foundation
of computational physics. Nine in ten supercomputer cycles
consumed in the 1980s were consumed by extreme-scale
computational physicists. Extreme-scale, high-resolution computational
physics is executed across
a massively parallel supercomputer that occupies the space
of a soccer field. For that reason, computational physics
is a branch of physics that lies between theoretical
and experimental physics. That is, computational physics
is the third branch of physics. That branch of physics is midway
between theory and experiment. That branch of physics encompassed
both theory and experiment. My experimental discovery
of how to solve many initial-boundary value problems
that are governed by a system of partial differential equations
of calculus and governed by its companion
and discretized system of partial difference equations
of algebra and my discovery
of how to solve them at once opened the door
to the parallel supercomputer that is the world’s fastest supercomputer
that achieves its record-breaking supercomputing speed
by solving millions upon millions of initial-boundary value problems
and solving them at once. In computational physics,
my experimental discovery made it possible
for the supercomputer of today to reduce the time-to-solution
of the biggest scientific challenges and reduce it from
10.65 million days, or 30,000 years, to just one day.
Without parallel supercomputing, a global warming prediction will occur 30,000
years after the said global warming occurred. [Crossing the Frontier of Supercomputer Knowledge] My quest for the fastest speeds
in computing demanded that I parallel process across
a new internet that is a new global network
of 64 binary thousand processors. In the 1980s,
massively parallel processing defined the boundary
of the supercomputer. The reason I am well known
but not known well was that I was the first person
to enter into the unexplored territory where the fastest computations
can be executed across a new internet. The proof that I entered into
that unexplored territory was that I recorded speeds
in supercomputing that were previously unrecorded.
That contribution made more news headlines
than any singular contribution made by an individual
to the development of the computer. In the 1970s and ‘80s,
the complete knowledge of the parallel supercomputer
was out of the reach of human beings. That is, I parallel processed
in that new frontier of knowledge and did so without a map, or a textbook.
On the Fourth of July 1989, I became the first person
to provide practical, in-depth, and easy to understand explanations
of how to harness millions of processors and how to use those processors
to solve a real-world problem that is chopped up
into millions of smaller problems. My invention
of practical parallel supercomputing made the news headlines because
I also discovered how to harness the new supercomputer
to solve grand challenge problems that will be otherwise impossible
to solve. [New Internet Versus Old Computer] In the history of computing,
the invention of parallel supercomputing is the biggest change
in the way we think about the supercomputer.
In the old way, the fastest supercomputer solved
only one problem at a time, or in sequence.
In my new way, the fastest supercomputer solved
ten million problems at once, or in parallel.
I was in the news because I discovered
how to experimentally perform 65,536 synchronized
parallel communication that was as many times faster
than your email. The supercomputer that I programmed
in 1974 only computed sequentially
and did so within only one central processing unit.
The virtual supercomputer that I programmed in the 1980s
computed in parallel and did so in the plural senses
and communicated across a new internet
that is a new global network of 64 binary thousand processors. [Philip Emeagwali: A Father of the Internet] [How I Invented a New Internet] Who invented the internet? The Internet
has many fathers and mothers as well as aunts and uncles.
We can only have one father of the Internet
that invented a new internet. The father of the Internet
should at least invent a new internet. I am called a father of the Internet because
I am the only father of the Internet that invented a new internet. I invented my new internet
by, first, theorizing it back in 1974 and then continuously developed it
for the subsequent fifteen years and developed
that small copy of the internet and did so until I actualized it
as the fastest computation back on the Fourth of July 1989.
My two-raised-to-power sixteen commodity-off-the-shelf processors
were tightly-coupled to each other and were equal distances apart
from each other. I mathematically visualized
my 64 binary thousand processors as tightly-encircling a hyper globe
that is bounded by the hypersurface
of a sixteen-dimensional hypersphere that is embedded
within a sixteen-dimensional hyperspace. I visualized
the physical and mathematical domains of my extreme-scale, high-resolution
general circulation model as the 62-mile deep
hyper-spherical shell that was bounded by two hyperspheres.
The inner hypersphere has a diameter of 7,900 miles
that corresponded to the surface of the Earth.
The outer hypersphere has a diameter of 7,962 miles
that corresponded to the outer boundary
of the atmosphere of the Earth. I visualized
the two-raised-to-power sixteen vertices of my hypercube
to be midway (or 31 miles) between those two hyperspheres.
I drew parallels between my new internet
that was a new global network of processors
and how I envisioned simulating global warming.
My two hyperspheres were parallel to each other.
My two hyperspheres extended in the same direction.
My two hyperspheres never converged or diverged.
My 65,536 processors were paralleled
with respect to the climate model that I divided into
65,536 smaller climate models. Those climate models
were identical in domain size. [Paradigm Shift in Computing] My discovery
of practical parallel supercomputing created a paradigm shift
on how we look at the computer and the internet
of tomorrow. Practical parallel supercomputing
led to my new definition of the supercomputer
as powered by millions upon millions of processors,
rather than one singular processor. Practical parallel supercomputing
was mocked, ridiculed, and rejected during the sixty-seven years
onward of its first conceptualization that occurred in print
back on February 1, 1922. After my discovery
of practical parallel supercomputing that occurred on the Fourth of July 1989,
the supercomputer industry took my invention
and made it the vital technology within every supercomputer.
But for the sixty-seven years prior to my invention,
practical parallel supercomputing remained in the realm of science-fiction.
My contribution to the development of the computer
is this: I upgraded
the parallel supercomputer from science-fiction to non-fiction.
I discovered how to maintain a one-problem to one-processor correspondence,
or analogy, between the smaller
general circulation models and the processors.
I discovered how to communicate synchronously
and how to compute simultaneously and how to communicate and compute and do
both 65,536 times faster and do both on 65,536
central processing units, and across sixteen times
as many email paths. In other words, I paradigm shifted
in my email communication across my new internet.
I discovered how to harness processors
and how to shift from the singular,
person-to-person email to the plural
processor-to-processor emails that I synchronized across
my new internet that is a new global network of
65,536 tightly-coupled central processing units. That new global network defined
a parallel supercomputer that is a new internet de facto. I invented a new internet
that tightly-encircled a hyper globe. My hyper globe is shaped like a
sixteen-dimensional hypersphere in a sixteen-dimensional hyperspace.
My supercomputing paradigm shifted because
I computed simultaneously on 64 binary thousand
central processing units and emailed synchronously
across one binary million email wires. That was how I discovered
that practical parallel processing must be vital
to the supercomputer that solves many problems at once,
or in parallel. [President Bill Clinton on the Contributions
of Philip Emeagwali] That invention
of practical parallel supercomputing embodied
the Philip Emeagwali formula that then U.S. President Bill Clinton praised
in his White House speech that was delivered on August 26, 2000.
President Bill Clinton recognized my contribution
to the development of the parallel supercomputer, in part, because
it made the news headlines, eleven years earlier.
That contribution was my experimental discovery
of how to record the fastest computations
and how to record those fastest computations
and record them across a parallel supercomputer.
I recorded those fastest computations by solving 65,536 problems at once,
instead of solving only one problem at a time. [Philip Emeagwali: A Father of the Internet] I’m often asked:
What is Philip Emeagwali known for? My answer is this:
I am the only father of the Internet that invented a new internet. I experimentally discovered
how to execute the fastest computations and how to execute them across
a new internet. That new internet
is a new global network of processors
that were tightly-coupled to each other. I visualized the processors
of my new internet to be equidistant from each other
and to be evenly spread out across the surface of a globe
that I also visualized as embedded within
a sixteen-dimensional hyperspace. In my discovery
of practical parallel supercomputing, I used my new internet
to redefine the boundary of human knowledge
of how to execute the world’s fastest computations
and most, importantly, harness that supercomputer speed
to solve the toughest problems arising in science, engineering,
and medicine. [The Importance of Supercomputers] [How Philip Emeagwali Solved the Toughest
Problem in Mathematics and Physics] My experimental discovery
of practical parallel supercomputing that occurred on the Fourth of July 1989
of how to reduce the supercomputer time-to-solution of grand challenge problems
and reduce it from 180 years to just one day, in effect,
distinguished between what’s computable
and what’s not computable. Climate models must be used
to accurately foresee otherwise unforeseeable
long-term climate changes. In theory, extreme-scale
high-resolution climate models are computable.
But in practice a climate modeler may need to run more than
a thousand accurate simulations. If each accurate simulation
of the planet’s climate has a time-to-solution of 180 years,
then the climate modeler that began her simulation
two millennia ago, or in the year Jesus Christ was born,
will complete her forecast in nearly two hundred millennia
from now. I was the first
computational physicist to experimentally discover
how to parallel process across an internet.
I was in the news headlines because I discovered how to parallel process
extreme-scaled computational fluid dynamics codes
and how to simultaneously execute them, in parallel,
and how to synchronously email them across a new internet.
I was the first person to experimentally discover
how to reduce 180 years of time-to-solution
of a grand challenge problem being solved on one computer
to just one day of time-to-solution across a new internet
that is de facto one supercomputer. That new internet
is a new global network of sixty-five thousand
five hundred and thirty-six [65,536] identical central processing units
that I visualized as equal distances apart from each other
and on the surface of a globe that I mathematically visualized
as embedded within a sixteen-dimensional hyperspace. [PHILIP EMEAGWALI AT THE UNEXPLORED TERRITORY
OF CALCULUS] Along my way to that terra incognita,
called parallel supercomputing, that was then an unknown
and unexplored territory that had no map,
I employed a system of coupled, non-linear, time-dependent,
and three-dimensional partial differential equations of calculus
that encoded a set of laws of physics,
including the Second Law of Motion. I used those partial differential equations
to formulate sixty-five thousand five hundred and thirty-six [65,536]
initial-boundary value grand challenge problems.
I discretized those grand challenge problems
of calculus to obtain a set of linear equations
of extreme-scale algebra. I reduced calculus to algebra because
algebra is the only way the supercomputer can experience
the laws of physics. Those linear equations
were at the algebraic core of my extreme-scale
computational fluid dynamics codes. I executed my 65,536 codes,
in parallel, and across as many tightly-coupled processors.
In a manner of speaking, I used those sixty-five thousand
five hundred and thirty-six [65,536] processors to poke my nose
into the laws of physics and to discover
how the millions upon millions of processors that powers
the modern supercomputer can be harnessed and used
to foresee the otherwise unforeseeable climatic changes.
I discovered that I can use those 64 binary thousand processors
that outlined and defined my new internet
and that I can use them as one cohesive supercomputer
that can execute an extreme-scaled, high-resolution global
circulation model. Parallel supercomputing
is a precondition to foreseeing global warming.
My contribution to the development of the computer
is this: I redefined the boundary
of what the computer can compute, and I redefined that boundary
by a factor of sixty-five thousand
five hundred and thirty-six [65,536]. [Philip Emeagwali Equations Explained] [What is Philip Emeagwali Famous for in Math?] I am often asked:
What are the Philip Emeagwali Equations?
Or, how were the Philip Emeagwali Equations derived?
The Philip Emeagwali Equations are a system of coupled, non-linear,
time-dependent, and three-dimensional partial differential equations
that are symbolic restatements in calculus of multi-phased fluids
flowing across a porous medium. The Philip Emeagwali Equations
encoded into calculus the Second Law of Motion of physics.
The Philip Emeagwali Equations model the three-phase,
three-dimensional flows of crude oil, natural gas,
and injected water that are flowing one mile deep
and flowing across an oilfield that is the size of a town.
I have been presenting the Philip Emeagwali Equations
to research mathematicians and doing so since the early 1980s.
The Philip Emeagwali Equations were the cover story
of the June 1990 issue of the SIAM News.
The SIAM News is the premier publication
for mathematicians. The SIAM News
is the flagship publication of the Society for Industrial
and Applied Mathematics. The SIAM News
presents new mathematical knowledge as written by research mathematicians
for research mathematicians. I also presented
the Philip Emeagwali Equations at invited lectures that I delivered to
research mathematicians in the United States.
I delivered an invited lecture on my contributions to mathematics
and I delivered that lecture to the largest international congress
of mathematicians, called ICIAM ’91.
That congress is the Olympics of the world of mathematics
and is held once every four years. My ICIAM ’91 lecture
was at eleven [11] in the morning of Monday July 8, 1991,
in the Dover Room of the Washington Sheraton Hotel
in Washington in the District of Columbia,
United States. The complete mathematical description of the
invention of the Philip Emeagwali Equations
is posted at emeagwali dot com and shared at the YouTube channel of Philip
Emeagwali. In summary,
the Philip Emeagwali Equations is akin in mathematical structure
to the iconic Navier-Stokes equations that were used to design jet aircrafts, and
used to model the flow of bloods flowing across veins and arteries.
Due to its importance, the Navier-Stokes equations
were used to define one of the seven millennium problems
of mathematics. The system of Navier-Stokes equations
own itself to the oceans, wind, and fire. Just like the system of
Philip Emeagwali equations own itself to the injected water,
crude oil, and natural gas that flows one mile deep
and flows inside an oilfield that is the size of a town. The differential equation
plays a central role in subdisciplines of mathematics,
such as complex analysis, Lie algebra theory
[pronounced /liː/ “Lee”], and probability theory.
My discovery of practical parallel processing
can be extended to all boundary value problems
of calculus that are governed by
partial differential equations, such as Maxwell’s equations
of electrodynamics, diffusion equation
of heat and mass transfer, beam and plate equations
of solid mechanics, lubrication theory of fluid mechanics,
Hodgkin-Huxley equations of neurobiology,
Fisher’s and reaction-diffusion equations of genetics and population dynamics,
and the Black-Scholes equation of financial engineering.
For these partial differential equations, the timescales
for discretizing and solving them range from one trillionth of a second
to a thousand years. And the length scales for solving them
range from the sub-atomic to the astronomical. [Millennium Equations Versus Philip Emeagwali
Equations] The various formulations
of the partial differential equations governing the flows of fluids
were almost independently derived by Claude-Louis Navier,
Siméon-Denis Poisson, Barré de Saint Venant,
and George Stokes. Those partial differential equations
were derived between 1827 and 1845. The Philip Emeagwali equations
were my independent derivations of new partial differential equations
that I formulated when I was a research mathematician
of the early 1980s and in College Park
(Maryland, United States). The Philip Emeagwali equations
were the governing equations that encoded the time-dependent
and three-dimensional subterranean motions
of crude oil, injected water, and natural gas
that flow one-mile deep and across an oilfield and towards
production oil wells. The mathematical difference between
the Navier-Stokes Equations as written in the millennium problem
of mathematics and the Philip Emeagwali Equations
is that the latter govern the three-dimensional,
three-phase fluids flowing across a porous medium
that is one mile deep and that is the size of a town.
Please allow me a couple of minutes to speak only
to the mathematicians in this audience. In most fluid dynamics textbooks,
the Navier-Stokes Equations are written in compact, vector form as: rho, the fluid density,
times the sum of the partial
of v, the fluid velocity in vector, with respect to the partial
of t, the independent variable time, (that is, the change in velocity
with respect to time that is called the temporal acceleration)
plus the product of the fluid velocity in vector
and nabla (or upside down delta
and the gradient operator) v, the fluid velocity in vector
(that is, the convective acceleration) is equal to
minus nabla p, the fluid pressure term (that is, the fluid flows
in the direction of the largest change in pressure),
plus the product of nabla and capital T
(where capital T is the stress tensor for viscous fluids)
plus f (the body forces
such as wind, gravity, and electromagneticism). I stated a vector equation
for each of my three phases, namely, crude oil, injected water,
and natural gas. That is equivalent
to nine scalar equations. My unknowns were the velocity
and the pressure. In three spatial dimensions,
I have three equations and four unknowns, namely,
the pressure and the three scalar velocities.
For that reason, I introduced a system of supplementary
partial differential equations. Those extra partial differential equations
encode the law of conservation of mass for the crude oil, natural gas,
and injected water phases. Those continuity equations
are the products of nabla
(or the gradient operator) and v,
the fluid velocity in vector equals
zero. [The Internet in a Million Years] [The Millennium Problem of Mathematics] One of the seven millennium problems
of mathematics is to prove or give a counter-example
of this statement: [open quote]
“In three space dimensions and time, given an initial velocity field,
there exists a vector velocity and a scalar pressure field,
which are both smooth and globally defined,
that solve the Navier–Stokes equations.” [end quote]
One million dollars will be given to the first person
to prove that statement. [Contributions of Philip Emeagwali to Mathematics] In mathematical physics textbooks
dealing with the subject of multiphase fluids flowing across
a porous medium, the partial derivative terms
on the left hand side of the partial differential equations
that I described are non-zero. Those mathematical terms
encoded both the temporal and the convective acceleration forces.
By the definition of the word “inertia” as the tendency of fluids in motion
to remain in motion those two inertial forces exist
whenever and wherever any fluid is in motion.
Yet, those two forces were erroneously zeroed
in every mathematical physics textbooks on porous media flows.
My contribution to mathematics that was the cover stories
of top mathematics publications is this:
I discovered that those egregrious mathematical errors
were coded and transferred into supercomputers
and communicated across a tightly-coupled ensemble
of millions upon millions of processors
that defines and outlines the modern supercomputer.
In expanded form, for three phase, three dimensional fluid flows,
those temporal and convective inertial terms
corresponded to the thirty-six (36) partial derivative terms
that I invented and added to the forty-five (45)
partial derivative terms that were described
in mathematical physics textbooks that dealt with
petroleum reservoir simulation. My contribution to mathematics
is this: I extended the borders
of mathematical knowledge and I did so by a distance of
thirty-six (36) partial derivative terms
that encoded the fluid dynamical processes
at a distance of one mile beneath the surface of the Earth. [Philip Emeagwali on Inventing a New Internet] The massively parallel supercomputer
that I discovered to be faster than the vector supercomputer
communicated across its central processing units
and, therefore, was not a computer per se.
It was a [quote unquote] “virtual supercomputer”
that was shortened to and renamed as a supercomputer.
I was in the news headlines back in 1989 because
I discovered how to compute and communicate
and how to do both across that virtual supercomputer
that I visualized as a new internet de facto.
That discovery of practical parallel supercomputing
was how I redefined the boundary of what a new internet can communicate,
and redefined that boundary of human knowledge
by a factor of sixty-five thousand five hundred and thirty-six [65,536].
That discovery of the practical parallel supercomputer
pushed the frontier of the Internet technology
and did so because it is a theoretical discovery
of the Internet and an idealized model
of a planetary supercomputer-hopeful that is a new internet.
That new Internet is a new global network of
billions of computers. The new supercomputer
that I experimentally parallel processed through
is a new global network of 65,536 identical
central processing units that I visualized
as equal distances apart and on the surface of a hyper globe
embedded inside in a sixteen-dimensional hyperspace.
I use the word “internet” is this manner because
I prefer that the technology define the name,
rather than the name define the technology. [Philip Emeagwali on Inventing a New Computer
Science] [PHILIP EMEAGWALI ON INVENTING A NEW COMPUTATIONAL
PHYSICS] My parallel supercomputer
is a new internet that’s faithful to its dictionary definition
as a new global network of processors. Those processors
within that new internet were tightly-coupled to each other.
Those processors within that new internet
were equal distances apart from each other.
Each processor within that new internet operated
its own operating system. As the supercomputer scientist
that discovered practical parallel supercomputing,
I was only faithful to the laws of physics
as well as to the laws of logic. I was not faithful to Amdahl’s Law.
Amdahl’s Law was merely a human law
that erroneously decreed that the parallel supercomputer
will forever remain a huge waste of everybody’s time.
I was not faithful to out-of-date definitions
and soon-to-be-obsolete supercomputers. In 1989, I discovered how to
experimentally parallel process and process
computational fluid dynamics codes and process them through
a new global network of sixty-five thousand
five hundred and thirty-six [65,536] central processing units
that I described as a new internet. I use the word “internet”
to define the new global network of
sixty-five thousand five hundred and thirty-six [65,536]
central processing units that I theoretically discovered
in the 1970s and experimentally discovered
on the Fourth of July 1989 in Los Alamos, New Mexico,
United States. [THE WAYS OF PRE-HUMAN COUNTING] A long time ago,
our hunter gatherer ancestors added the fruits of their labors
by counting on their fingers and toes. Three thousand five hundred years [3,500]
ago, merchants in China
used the abacus to add and multiply two numbers.
The abacus was the manual computing aid
of ancient China. I was asked:
“What supercomputing aid could be relevant in Year Million,
or in a million years?” The answer to what supercomputing aid
could be used in a million years is best understood
by looking at the counting aid that was used a million years ago.
A million years ago, our pre-human ancestors
roamed across the African savannahs and did so on four legs.
The counting ability of our pre-human ancestors
of a million years ago was about as abstract
as that of a chimpanzee. [Post-Human Supercomputing of Year Million] I believe that
our post-human descendants of Year Million
will develop Year Million supercomputers that will make them super-intelligent.
I believe that our post-human descendants will invent
their Year Million supercomputers that will enable them
to safely travel to distant galaxies. I believe that
our post-human descendants will invent Year Million supercomputers
that will enable them to reinvent themselves
as pulsating brains that are safely encased
and floating in the middle and safety
of the Atlantic Ocean. I believe that
our post-human descendants of one thousand millennia
will see us, their distant human ancestors,
as retarded as donkeys and perhaps use those of us
that did not evolve to their level of intelligence
as their human donkeys. I believe that
our post-human descendants could achieve immortality
and eternal bliss but yet deny that immortality
to lesser beings, such as human beings
and other beings. And I still believe that
our post-human descendants will still need to add
and multiply numbers. The reason is that the need to add
and multiply numbers was around for our pre-human ancestors
of one hundred and fifty thousand [150,000] years ago,
and was around a million years ago, and could be around
in a million years. [Philip Emeagwali on Inventing a New Computer
Science] In the 1980s, my intellect
was questioned and I was discredited by white scientists
who could not understand the extremely difficult subject
of how to parallel process and how to solve the toughest problems
arising in science and engineering and how to solve them across
a new internet that was a new global network of
millions of processors. On the Fourth of July 1989,
I discovered a new path that led to a new computer science.
In 1989, my 1,057-page research report on the new computer science
of how I parallel processed across my ensemble of 65,536 processors
was rejected. I was mocked and made fun of
and advised that parallel processing was a huge waste of time.
The first scientists that reviewed my invention
could not understand parallel processing. Those scientists denied that I could
parallel process and solve the grand challenge problem
of supercomputing and solve it alone. Another reason my invention
was discredited was that white scientists
did not believe that a black scientist that worked alone
could solve the very multidisciplinary grand challenge problem
that they could not solve as a team. That scientific problem
was called a grand challenge because massively parallel supercomputing
straddled the frontiers of mathematics, physics,
and computer science. [Supercomputing Across the Internet] My quest for the fastest way to add
and multiply numbers and do so on a supercomputer
began on Thursday June 20, 1974. The quest began on a supercomputer
that was at 1800 SW Campus Way, Corvallis, Oregon, United States.
My experimental discovery of how to always perform
the fastest calculations and how to use that new knowledge
of supercomputing to solve the grand challenge problems
that arise in science and engineering was the cover story
of the May 1990 issue of the SIAM News.
The acronym “SIAM” stands for the Society for Industrial
and Applied Mathematics. The SIAM News
is the flagship publication of the mathematics community.
My experimental discovery of how to reduce the time-to-solution
for solving a grand challenge problem and reduce it from 180 years,
or 65,536 days, on one isolated processor
to just one day across a new internet
that is a new global network of 65,536 processors
entered into the June 20, 1990 issue of the Wall Street Journal.
Looking back to 1974, I learned that programming
the parallel supercomputer and doing so back then
was akin to the Wright Brothers learning how to fly
an airplane and doing so six decades earlier.
Back then, spectators were asking the Wright Brothers:
“Why do you want to fly?” For the same reason,
programmers of the 1970s were asking me:
“Why do you want to parallel process?” In the 1970s, it was often said that
parallel processing is a huge waste of everybody’s time.
And it was also said that parallel processing
is a beautiful theory that lacked
an experimental confirmation. [INFLUENCE OF MODERN COMPUTING] Parallel supercomputing
that was uncharted territory in the 1970s and ‘80s
opened an unknown world in the 1990s through 2010s.
Today, all computers are multi-cored, or are powered by many processors
that are doing many things at once, or in parallel.
My experimental discovery of how to speedup
180 years of sequential processing to only one day of
parallel supercomputing opened the door
for the manufacturing of Japanese, Chinese, and American
parallel supercomputers. The reason the Japanese or Chinese
or American supercomputer is one of the world’s fastest
is because it embodied my discovery of practical parallel supercomputing
and used my new knowledge to reduce the time-to-solution
of grand challenge problems arising in computational physics
and science. A Chinese supercomputer
reduced its time-to-solution from thirty thousand [30,000] years,
or 10.65 million days, of sequential processing
on one isolated processor to just one day
of parallel supercomputing across an ensemble of
10.65 million processors. I began my quest
for the fastest arithmetical computations and began it in June 1970
and began with an analog computer, called a slide rule,
and began in Onitsha, Nigeria. I believe that in a million years
our post-human descendants will still be searching
for their fastest supercomputer that is perhaps
the size of their known universe. Finally, I believe that
the computing technique that was around the longest
will remain around the longest. The need to add and multiply numbers
was around for our pre-human ancestors of one million years ago.
That need to compute at the fastest speeds could be around
for our post-human ancestors of Year Million.
The research supercomputer scientist must always remain a polymath
and a magician that turns science fiction
to non-fiction. We need to discover that
the invisible is, sometimes, visible; that the impossible is, sometimes, possible;
and that the unforeseeable is, sometimes, foreseeable.
That never-ending need for faster computations
means that the supercomputer must be ahead of itself
at all times. To invent is to create something
out of nothing. We create tomorrow
by what we invent today. What we don’t discover
will do what it wishes. And my experimental discovery
of how parallel processing powers the computer
and the supercomputer is how I will tell posterity that
I—Chukwurah Philip Emeagwali— was once here. Thank you. I’m Philip Emeagwali. [Wild applause and cheering for 17 seconds] Insightful and brilliant lecture

1 Comment

  • Philip Emeagwali says:

    I'm Philip Emeagwali. The contribution of Philip Emeagwali to the development of the computer is this: I experimentally discovered how to parallel process across a new internet that is a new global network of sixty-five thousand five hundred and thirty-six [65,536] central processing units. After my discovery, a grand challenge problem that formerly took sixty-five thousand five hundred and thirty-six [65,536] days, or 180 years, of time-to-solution on one central processing unit now takes only one day of time-to-solution across a new internet. Metaphorically speaking, that was how I discovered 180 years in one day.

    Why a Supercomputer Scientist Hid His Racial Identity

    Back in 1989, the Award Committee

    of The Computer Society

    was not aware that I was black

    and African

    and for that reason gave me credit

    for discovering

    practical parallel supercomputing

    and did so

    without taking race into consideration.

    But scientists that knew that

    I was black and African

    were terribly upset

    that The Computer Society

    gave me the top award

    in the field of supercomputing

    and gave it to me without digging deeper

    to discover

    that I was black and African.

    In that respect,

    the IEEE Computer Society

    did not give

    the top supercomputer award

    to a black supercomputer scientist.

    I simply kept the credits

    for my contributions

    and I could keep them because

    I was the sole inventor

    of practical parallel supercomputing

    and the sole expert

    on the new supercomputer

    that parallel processed across

    my ensemble of 64

    binary thousand processors.

    Parallel processing

    appeared as science fiction

    on February 1, 1922

    and as 64 thousand human computers

    working together and in parallel

    and doing so to forecast the weather.

    The precondition

    to forecasting the weather

    is that those 64 thousand

    human computers

    must solve the initial-boundary value

    grand challenge problem of calculus

    that is governed

    by the primitive equations

    of meteorology.

    For thirty-six years after 1922,

    interest in parallel processing

    was lost, in part, because

    the automatic programmable computer that provided the motivation

    for faster computing did not exist

    and was not invented until 1946.

    Parallel processing started appearing

    in computer science literature

    and appeared regularly onwards of 1958.

    For the thirty-one years onward of 1958, parallel processing was mocked

    at computer science conferences

    and the supercomputer technology

    was ridiculed as a beautiful theory

    that lacked

    an experimental confirmation.

    Changing the Way Mathematicians Count

    Changing the Way We Look at Computers

    As a research supercomputer scientist,

    my goal is to discover

    how to compute fastest

    and do so with the slowest processors,

    or how to do more with less

    and how to create reality

    from science-fiction.

    Parallel processing—the technology

    that enables the supercomputer

    to solve many problems

    at once—enabled me

    to solve 65,536 problems at once.

    In principle, your computer

    can do whatever my supercomputer

    can do.

    However, your computer

    that is powered by only one

    isolated processor takes 30,000 years

    to solve a grand challenge problem

    that my supercomputer

    that is powered by an ensemble of

    over 10 million processors

    takes only one day to solve.

    Practical parallel supercomputing

    must be investigated on a broad canvas

    and imagined in

    broad imaginative strokes.

    Practical parallel supercomputing

    only benefits humankind

    if and only if it is proven

    to solve the grand challenge problems.

    Practical parallel supercomputing

    is not for the faint of heart

    or for those locked

    within their own intellectual silos.

    As a research supercomputer scientist,

    my goal was not to merely invent

    new algebra and new calculus.

    My research goal was to project

    my new mathematics

    and project that new knowledge

    from the blackboard

    to the motherboard

    and across a new internet

    that is a new global network of

    64 binary thousand processors

    and, most importantly, to project

    that new supercomputer

    into the real world

    where it helps my country of birth, Nigeria, discover and recover

    otherwise elusive crude oil

    and natural gas,

    or where it impacts the market trader

    in my ancestral hometown

    of Onitsha.

    The fastest supercomputer

    attracts the

    toughest mathematical problems

    in physics

    in the manner a high mountain

    attracts the storms.

    The supercomputer is to mathematics

    what the Nile is to Egypt.

    Each is a lifeline.

    The supercomputer

    is an intellectual extension

    of the complex equations scribbled

    on the mathematician’s blackboard.

    My goal was to invent a supercomputer

    out of the slowest processors.

    Inventing that supercomputer

    demanded that I become an athlete

    of the mind.

    Nine out of ten supercomputer cycles

    are consumed

    solving the partial differential equation

    of calculus and physics.

    For that reason,

    practical parallel supercomputing

    may be defined

    as solving millions upon millions

    of initial-boundary value problems

    at once.

    On the Fourth of July 1989,

    I announced my discovery

    of practical parallel supercomputing.

    The response from everybody

    was that I made a mistake.

    The first six copies

    of my 1,057-page research report

    that was dated July 4, 1989

    that described how I discovered

    practical parallel supercomputing

    were thrown into the dustbin

    of the reviewers.

    I was mocked

    and I was warned that

    I was computing with science-fiction,

    not with a new supercomputer.

    Everybody that said that

    I made a mistake was mistaken.

    Practical parallel supercomputing

    has withstood the test of time

    and is the vital technology

    that powers every supercomputer manufactured today.

    That experimental discovery

    that occurred on the Fourth of July 1989

    took the parallel supercomputer

    from a research and development project

    to the widespread commercialization

    that is called the modern computer.

    Parallel processing

    validated the modern computer.

    The amount of new computations

    that I discovered how to compute

    on the 4th of July 1989

    was 64 binary thousand times

    what could be computed

    only one day earlier.

    After 1989, massively parallel processing

    became the standard technology

    that must be used in all supercomputers.

    Before 1989,

    the fastest one thousand supercomputers

    in the world

    derived their supercomputing speeds

    from only one vector processing unit.

    After 1989,

    the fastest one thousand supercomputers

    in the world

    derived their supercomputing speeds

    from up to 10.65 million

    central processing units

    that counter-intuitively computed

    10.65 million things

    at once, instead of intuitively computing

    only one thing at a time.

    My 1989 paradigm shift

    from computing only one thing at a time

    to computing 65,536 things at once

    opened the door to computing

    10.65 million things at once.

    A future world

    without the parallel supercomputer

    could be a world without

    the computer of the future.

    If parallel supercomputing

    is subtracted from human knowledge,

    nearly every computer,

    all supercomputers,

    and the internet itself will shut down!!

    Parallel supercomputing is not

    a new knowledge that was created.

    Parallel supercomputing exists theoretically and a priori

    and existed as a technique

    that was uncovered for computing faster.

    I discovered practical parallel supercomputing

    when I parallel processed across

    my new internet

    that was a new global network

    of 65,536 tightly-coupled,

    commodity-off-the-shelf processors

    that shared nothing between each other

    and that were equal distances apart

    from each other.

    I turned science-fiction to reality

    by discovering

    how to parallel compute

    and how to do so sight unseen.

    I was in the news back in 1989

    because I was the first person

    to solve a grand challenge problem

    and solve it

    by massively parallel computing it.

    I achieved that

    supercomputer breakthrough

    and did so at a time

    all my 64 binary thousand

    processors

    were expected to forever remain silent.

    Parallel supercomputing is an invention because computers and supercomputers

    are now parallel processing.

    Thank you.

    I’m Philip Emeagwali.

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