Contribution of Philip Emeagwali to the Development of the Computer | African American Inventors
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Contribution of Philip Emeagwali to the Development of the Computer | African American Inventors


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] [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. [Wild applause and cheering for 17 seconds] Insightful and brilliant lecture

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