K Computer and Exascale Computing: The New Wave

you brain on k computer

The vast distance between the processing power of the human brain and that of super computers is slowly shrinking. Researchers used K computer, a Japanese petascale computer, to simulate the equivalent of a single second of the brain activity. K computer took 40 minutes to accomplish the feat of simulating approximately 1 percent of the brain’s neural network.

With 705,024 processor cores and 1.4 million GB of RAM at its disposal, the K computer took 40 minutes to model the data in a project designed to test the ability of the supercomputer and gauge the limits of brain simulation.

While computing on this scale is extremely impressive, the abilities of supercomputers are still inadequate in comparison to the insane complexity of the human brain. K computer  is the fourth largest super computer in the world and costs about $10 million dollars to operate annually. The Japanese K computer consumes 12.7 megawatts per hour. According to Fujitsu that’s enough energy to power approximately 30,000 homes.

Related Article: Sweden is Running Out of Trash

The new japanese K computer

860 of these cabinets, working at near full capacity for forty minutes, is equal to 1% of your brains capacity in one second. K computer awe http://www.fujitsu.com/global/about/tech/k/whatis/project/

Your brain, on the other hand, needs only three meals a day, weighs only 3.086 lbs (1.4 kgs), and consumes only 20 watts of electricity. That is a third of the energy used to power your 60 watt light bulb! The goal of large scale computing has always been to create a computer with processing power comparable to that of the human brain. In order to achieve this feat, computer engineers will need to think of the universe as something that never had a box. From Brain-Like Chip May Solve Computers Big Problem: Energy by Douglas Fox:
It is impressive that our computers are so accurate—but that accuracy is a house of cards. A single transistor accidentally flipping can crash a computer or shift a decimal point in your bank account. Engineers ensure that the millions of transistors on a chip behave reliably by slamming them with high voltages—essentially, pumping up the difference between a 1 and a 0 so that random variations in voltage are less likely to make one look like the other. That is a big reason why computers are such power hogs.

The Neurogrid computer, developed by Kwabena Boahen of Stanford University, aims much smaller than the K computer and by virtue, much larger. While the traditional computer is strict and rigid, the Neurogrid computer is designed to accommodate for the organic nature of the brain. Instead of utilizing the efficient methods of other computer engineers, Boahen attempts to hone in on the organized chaos of the human brain.

Related Article: Electronic Brain Implants Increase Intelligence

The Neurogrid and other computational innovations such as the K computer are likely to usher in a new wave of high level processing where emphasis on power is transferred to an emphasis on the delicate balance between information, energy, and noise. Perhaps by blending the two schools of thought- Large, impressive and small, noisy– we will be able to power machines capable of processing on a similar plane as the human brain. Incorporating efficient practices will also aid in the removal of moral obstructions. Should we power this mega-rad pc or provide the homes of an entire suburb or small village with electricity? Well with efficiency-not to be confused with that dreaded bureaucracy- we may be able to do both!
The dreams of computer engineers are likely to come to fruition very, very soon.
If petascale computers like the K computer are capable of representing one per cent of the network of a human brain today, then we know that simulating the whole brain at the level of the individual nerve cell and its synapses will be possible with exascale computers – hopefully available within the next decade.
For a better understanding of the difference between mega, giga, peta, exa, etc. just remember that each one is 1000 times more than the last.  So, an exascale computer is 1,000 times more powerful than a petascale computer (like the K computer), 1,000,000 times more powerful than a terascale computer, and 1,000,000,000 (billion) times more powerful than a gigascale computer (the computers that you and I have).

Related Article: The Singularity is Nigh Upon Us: The Merging of Humans with Technology



Stonehenge and Other Megaliths are Mind Altering Acoustical Devices

Stonehenge: a great place to jam out

Talk about Stonehenge: a great place to jam out! http://pintaw.com/

Studies spanning decades have revealed that Stonehenge and other ancient megalithic structures and tombs may have been used to create music and various mind altering sounds. These studies represent a relatively new theory to explain what megalithic structures like Stonehenge were used for, and how important they were to early humans. They have also created a new field of study called archaeoacoustics, the study of the acoustical properties of archaeological sites.

According to authors Steven Brown, Björn Merker, and Nils L. Wallin in their book The Origins of Music,

The language-centered view of humanity has to be expanded to include music, first, because the evolution of language is highly intertwined with the evolution of music, and, second, because music provides a specific and direct means of exploring the evolution of human social structure, group function, and cultural behavior. Music making is the quintessential human cultural activity, and music is an ubiquitous element in all cultures large and small.

Music plays a much larger role in the history and evolution of humanity than we normally give it credit for. So, maybe it isn’t so far fetched that early humans dragged 25 ton stones over 100 miles just to create Stonehenge and jam out. This is the conclusion that researchers from the Royal College of Art in London are beginning to entertain.

Related Article: The Mystery of America’s Stonehenge: Coral Castle

In 2006 Paul Devereux and Jon Wozencroft began testing rocks with digital field sound recorders in hand. They focused most closely on rocks found at a site called Carn Menyn in South-West Wales, where archaeologists believe many of the blue stones used to create Stonehenge and other similar megalithic structures in the area came from. The researchers stated that,

Because it would be impractical to attempt to acoustically test all the thousands of individual rocks involved, our methodology was to conduct percussion tests using small hammerstones on many rocks (over a thousand in all) in organized transects at points along the Carn Menyn ridge. From this we could make an informed estimate of the incidence of ringing rocks.

While not all of the stones at Stonehenge they tested “rang,” or made various drum, gong, and bell-like sounds when struck, a surprising number did. The variation in the sounds that the rocks can make is incredible. After having a listen it is very easy to imagine our ancestors creating ritualistic music or just killing time by jamming on the gigantic monoliths.

Related Article: Modern Language May Share Common, Ancient Ancestor 

It was inevitable that the researchers would test the stones at Stonehenge. They expected all potential sound to be muted due to a lack of air space around each stone. The results, however, surprised them, as they were still able to play the monoliths like giant xylophones. Amazingly, archaeologists have reproduced the results of this study many times at various sites around the world, even in ancient crypts in Greece. Some researchers have even created reproductions of what ancient Lithoacoustic (music created from stones) songs may have sounded like.

Time to swallow some cactus and trip out at the local megalith! http://www.megalithic.co.uk/

Time to swallow some cactus and trip out at the local megalith! http://www.megalithic.co.uk/

Research into archaeoacoustics jumps down the rabbit hole via a further field of study called psychoacoustics, a branch of psychophysics which deals with physiological and psychological responses to sound. Studies performed at an ancient site called Chavín de Huántar in Peru have revealed that ancients intentionally constructed sites to enhance the psychoactive effects of the San Pedro cactus, and to intensify psychedelic and ritualistic experiences. Ancients constructed their sites with such precision that a single hand clap while standing on a central staircase sounds identical to a quetzal bird. Additionally, areas of the sites were specifically constructed so that shadows produced by sunlight outside of the structure would create incredibly psychedelic shadows and effects when perceived by an ancient. According to Miriam Kolar, a researcher at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research and Acoustics,

These structures, unlike those at Stonehenge, could be physically disorienting and the acoustic environment is very different than the natural world. The iconography shows people mixed with animal features in altered states of being. There is peyote and mucus trails out of the nose indicative of people using psychoactive plant substances. They were taking drugs and having a hallucinogenic experience.

Related Article: Music’s Grand Effect on the Mind

Mayans and other ancients were the original hippies, superior to hippies in that they appear to have empirically explored the psychological and physiological effects of sound and imagery on the observer. Right now we can only imagine what those at Stonehenge experienced during their jam sessions.

If you are interested in experiencing the effects that specific sound frequencies can have on your mind and body, check out binaural beats, which are tones that affect the way our brains function and process thoughts and information in various ways. Through the use of binaural beats, simply listening to a particular frequency can induce states of incredible calm, stimulation, or even heightened awareness. I recommend this playlist of different frequencies to experience the profound effects of these sound vibrations on the mind and body.

Screw mediation, let's just listen to these audio files and go deeper than Gautama! http://www.binauralbeatsfreak.com/

Screw mediation, let’s just listen to these audio files and go deeper than Gautama! http://www.binauralbeatsfreak.com/
















Germany Sets Example for Global Climate Battle

Energiewende! This one word defines the German view on the global climate crisis that our planet is currently experiencing. Literally Energiewende means energy change. While its definition is simple it’s connotation encompasses an entire movement. Osha Gray Davidson writes:

The government has set a target of 80 percent renewable power by 2050, but many Germans I spoke with in three weeks traveling across this country believe 100 percent renewable power is achievable by then.

This plan also has many checkpoint gates that it must achieve. By 2020 Germany must be dependent on 35% renewable energies. These energies include wind, solar, and sheer German momentum. Sheer German momentum believes strongly that the Earth is experiencing a global climate crisis.

If a member of parliament called climate change a hoax or said that its cause is unknown, he or she would be laughed out of office.


Interesting. Here in the United States, we’re still trying to accept the idea of climate change. For example, my favorite winter-time joke: Where’s that dang-old global warming when you need it? (note: this joke is best told when temperatures are under 41°F and is best told by or to somebody who doesn’t properly understand what global warming is). As another example, lets see what the US Chief of Energy has to say about the matter.

Let me make it very clear that there is no ambiguity in terms of the scientific basis calling for a prudent response on climate change.

Ernest Moniz goes on to say:

“I am not interested in debating what is not debatable…There is plenty to debate as we try and move forward on our climate agenda.”

While it is good that the Energy Chief (a tittle best held by a true sorcerer) strongly holds this as fact, there are still many United Statians (I think it’s time we stopped calling ourselves Americans as we live on only a part of the continent) that uphold the belief that Global warming is a myth. If you really want to delve into crazy, I suggest you check out the Friends of Science webpage.

As we move back to the realms of science and reality we can see that the majority of the world understands science and actually is pretty good friends with it. Stanford University is spearheading the global awareness of climate change caused by humans (scroll down to page 26 for the good stuff). Don’t forget to sign the petition!









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The ugly face of overpopulation 

The 5 Rs

Sweden is running out of trash

Stanford Creates Highly Sensitive, Self-Healing Plastic Skin

Although there have been major advances for over a decade in synthetic skin and self-healing plastics, nothing compares to the sensitivity, degree of healing, or conductivity of the new self-healing skin created by researchers at Stanford Institute.

The researchers combined the “self-healing ability of a plastic polymer and the conductivity of a metal” to create the breakthrough new material.

The healing properties of the skin are extraordinary as the researchers have shown by taking:

“a thin strip of the material and cut it in half with a scalpel. After gently pressing the pieces together for a few seconds, the researchers found the material gained back 75 percent of its original strength and electrical conductivity. The material was restored close to 100 percent in about 30 minutes. What’s more, the same sample could be cut repeatedly in the same place. After 50 cuts and repairs, a sample withstood bending and stretching just like the original.”

The material is also sensitive enough to detect the pressure of a handshake, or the flexing of a joint.

Researchers believe the creation will be used for prosthetics, electrical and wire coating, as well as a protective plastic shell for various commercial products. Electrical components in hard to reach places would no longer need repairs, they could handle it on their own.

I say wrap absolutely everything in this material.  Clothes, cars, monitors, phones, walls, condoms… everything.




Sources and Related Readings:

Stanford News- Stanford’s touch-sensitive plastic skin heals itself

Wondergressive- Hairy Men Everywhere Rejoice: New Bandages Painlessly Remove From Skin