Philip Emeagwali | Parallel Processing is My Contributions to Physics | Greatest Physicists Alive

I’m Philip Emeagwali. My contributions to computational physics is this: I discovered how to solve grand challenge problems, known as the most computation-intensive problems arising in calculus and algebra. The parallel supercomputing solution of these grand challenge problems has large impact on humanity. I was thirty-four years old, on the Fourth of July 1989, when I discovered how to execute 47,303 floating-point arithmetical operations per second per CPU that was a member of an ensemble of 65,536 processors. I was in the news headlines as the African supercomputer genius
that won top U.S. prize
and won it for discovering how to harness the world’s slowest processors
and use them to execute
the world’s fastest supercomputer
and also execute them
while solving the toughest real-world initial-boundary value problems
arising in computational physics, abstract calculus,
and extreme-scale algebra.
I totaled those calculations across
my new internet
that was my new global network
of 65,536
central processing units.
I totaled those calculations
on the Fourth of July 1989
and did so to discover
the world’s fastest computation
of 3.1 billion calculations per second.
That ultrafast calculation that I executed
across that new internet
made the news headlines
because I unveiled
the new parallel processed solution
to the grand challenge problems
arising in STEM fields.
To experimentally discover
parallel supercomputing
requires a mathematical maturity
that includes knowing
the partial differential equation,
and knowing it
both forward and backward.
The reason is that
the partial differential equation,
or rather, it’s finite difference
algebraic approximation,
is the most recurring decimal
inside the parallel supercomputer.
Like the physical maturity needed
to win a marathon race,
the mathematical maturity needed
to parallel process across a new internet must grow with experience.
It took me fifteen years
onward of June 20, 1974
of fulltime study and research
to master how to solve a system of
partial differential equations
and to deeply understand
how to formulate it from first principles
and on the blackboard
and how to solve that system across motherboards
and how to use
my new parallel supercomputing knowledge
to discover and recover
otherwise elusive crude oil
and natural gas
that were buried millions of years ago and buried one-mile deep in an oilfield
that is the size of a town,
such as those in the Niger-Delta region
of Nigeria
that is my country of birth.

What is Philip Emeagwali Known For?

In 1989, I was in the news because
I experimentally discovered
how to parallel process across
a new internet
that’s a new global network
of 65,536 tightly-coupled
central processing units
that shared nothing between each other.
As a ten-year-old
walking to school along Gbenoba Street, Agbor, Nigeria,
I could not explain why
I had to learn the quadratic equation.
Nor did I understand how
the quadratic equation
will help solve the economic problems
of Nigeria.
To us students
at Saint John’s Primary School,
Agbor, (Nigeria),
solving the quadratic equation
was merely mental gymnastics
that had no real-life application.
To us students, it seemed like
the quadratic equation
was invented to mentally torture us.
Fast forward twenty-five years
from 1964
from Agbor (Nigeria)
to Los Alamos (New Mexico,
United States),
I became the subject of
school inventor reports
in the U.S.
and was so because
my experimental discovery
of practical parallel supercomputing
was the new knowledge
that was not
in computer science textbooks
that led to the development
of new supercomputers
that can be up to one billion times
faster than old supercomputers.
I am studied in American schools
for my contribution
to the development of the computer.
I am the subject of school reports
on inventors,
in part, because the quadratic equation
of algebra
increased my mathematical maturity.
That maturity was a pre-requisite
to solving the once-impossible to solve partial differential equations
and to parallel supercomputing
the solution of the companion
large-scale algebraic equations
that must be solved prior to discovering and recovering otherwise elusive
crude oil and natural gas.

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Philip Emeagwali 191004 4


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