Back on Tailte, Peering Into the Climate Future

Winter                                                        Seed Catalog Moon

After a frustrating morning with a balky computer, I got into Robert Klein’s work on Missing.  He’s good.  Careful, detailed.  I’ve only rejected one of his edits so far and that one I understood what he did, but chose my construction over his.  I didn’t get far, but I’ll keep at it.

I wrote a private post earlier about my anxiety as I approached this stage.  It’s still there, but the anxiety decreased as I worked.  I hope that continues to be the case.

As I mentioned on Great Wheel, my computer is running a climate model with its unused processing power.  This is part of an Oxford Study to determine the results in a particular model if it is run many times with slight variations.  These slight variation can be very significant (think butterfly flapping wings), but without running these complex models over and over, tweaking them in slightly different ways each time, it’s impossible to know for sure what a particular adjustment will do.

Climate and weather modeling are big users of super computer resources and the work on my computer is part of a massively parallel processing strategy to, in effect, mimic super computers without having to buy them.  The concept is simple.  Each home computer has many times the computing power necessary for almost, if not all, the tasks it performs and, in addition to that, most of them sit idle most of the time.  By downloading parts of larger task onto many, many home computers use can be made of both the idle and under-utilized processing power.  The first one of these projects was SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestial Intelligence, and I was part of that one, too.

They are resource intensive, however, so some of my computer frustrations might have come from it modeling global climate in the background.  I’m 95% with the task the Oxford folks assigned to me (well, my trusty Gateway is 95% done) and it may be a while before I take on another one.  This run takes approximately 350 hours of processing time.

I can and do shut it off at times.

 

This entry was posted in GeekWorld, Great Work, MOOCS, Politics, Science, Weather +Climate, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

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