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How Supercomputers Have Changed Our Life During the Past Two Decades

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Supercomputers came into the world of technology during the 1950’s and since then, it has created a great impact on our human lives in different ways. Just like reputed singer Bob Dylan rightly said, you do not need a weatherman to see in which way the wind is blowing, but if you want to plan in which way the Cyclone is going to move in the new few days, you need the help of weather experts and they can do the right calculations with the help of a supercomputer. Over the past few decades, the size of the supercomputer started becoming smaller and the latest version can be observed in the form of Smartphone.

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Hence we can see that supercomputers are being used in every aspect of life, starting from medicines to weather and online games and many more. Software injected in those machines is also playing a major role in coming to a solution about the experiment. In this article, let us discuss about the different aspects of our life where the use of Supercomputers has made a significant changes in our life. The aspects are many and let us discuss them one by one.

1. Weather forecast

The supercomputer available with the University of Pennsylvania Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer made the first 24 hours forecast in April 1950. In the decade of the sixties, weather predictions using supercomputers started becoming quite common. At present, the weather forecast department in various countries use huge supercomputers with a size of two rooms and each of them roughly 10,000 times more powerful than any normal computer. We have observed that with the help of supercomputers, the accuracy of daily weather predictions and the arrival of cyclones have improved to a great extent. Today, it can be observed that the five day predictions are more or less 90% accurate most of the time. Advance information of weather helps a lot in planning in many sectors, like aviation, disaster management at the Government level. Aircrafts can reschedule their flights for the safety of the passengers and reach them to the destination safely.

2. Automobiles

It has been observed that for almost 30 years, the supercomputers have been helping the automobiles to become safer, faster and running with increasing energy efficiency. History says that Mazda Company used a Cray supercomputer worth $8 million for designing the sleek roofline of Aero Wave of the 1993 RX-7 sports car. In the year 2004, reputed car maker General Motors bought a huge supercomputer to oversee the results of vehicle crash tests. As the automobile industry is moving more towards autonomous vehicles, use of HPC will have a huge role in managing the AI systems of the car. It will determine the object lying in the middle of the road is a baby carriage or a trash bag.

You will be surprised to know that the supercomputers play a role even in the gas stations. In the gas stations, you will find seismic models which are three dimensional and they help the petrochemical companies predicting the location of oil reserves. When you enter the world of electric vehicles, you will find supercomputers helping design the electric vehicle batteries.

3. Medicine

When the world was suffering from swine and avian flu, supercomputers played a very important role in developing the vaccines of both these diseases. In the present world, scientists are using supercomputers for developing cures and vaccines for the deadly Covid 19 virus. Medical scientists are taking the help of supercomputers to discover medicines and vaccines of different diseases. It is amazing to know that supercomputers are creating digital twins of various human organs. The basic purpose is to observe how they are responding to treatments before they are applied on their blood siblings. Blue Brain 5, the supercomputer from HP is helping a lot to map 88 billion synapses located inside neocortex of the rodents. It is a very important step proper understanding of the human brain.

With the help of supercomputers, research is going on for making of personalized medicine, where treatments will be customized to match your genetic makeup.

4. Financial Services

If you use credit card in some foreign country, within few minutes you will get a phone call where the bank will ask you to confirm the purchase. It is being possible with the help of machine learning algorithm which runs on HPC of the bank. Supercomputer is also needed to identify the potential bank frauds as high level of computing power is needed to detect the fraud.

Just to give an example, MasterCard processes around 165 million transactions in every hour and 2 million rules are applied to each transaction. The entire process is completed within a matter of few seconds. 

Banks and leading financial institutions also use a wide variety of supercomputers to identify and repel the cyber attacks, assessment of credit risk and also evaluation of their investments. In many cases, it has been found that when you call their customer service desk, the call is answered by their bot which is driven by some AI software.