Technology: Fast and Smart

Designers race to build the supercomputers of the future

The computer at the University of Illinois is simulating something that no one saw: the evolution of the universe in the aftermath of the Big Bang. Re- creating conditions that may have prevailed billions of years ago, the computer reveals on a remote screen how massive clouds of subatomic particles, tugged by their own gravity, might have coalesced into filaments and flattened disks. The vivid reds, greens and blues of the shapes are not merely decorative but represent the various densities of the first large structures as they emerged from primordial chaos in the near vacuum of space.

At the Massachusetts...

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