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Blog post of the week - LOLCats get on the Grid

Blog post of the week - LOLCats get on the Grid


Could transmitting these inane yet adorable pictures be the future of large-scale data movement? Find out at our blog post of the week. Image courtesy of mikenmar

What do the LHC grid, LOLCats, and Avatar have in common? More than you might think, according to our blog post of the week.

It turns out that creating the three dimensional IMAX film required a tremendous amount of computational power. Special effects company Weta Digital used the combined power of seven supercomputers. The system is no slouch; it includes the computers ranked by top500.org as 193 through 197, 274, and 449. Together, they have nearly 40,000 processors. And the final cut of the film took up over 17 gigabytes per minute.

Agent Utah, a.k.a. science writer Calla Cofield, muses about the massive amounts of data being moved around the Internet in the form of movies, commercial sites, Google, and LOLCats:

"It's pretty amazing how fantastic we humans are at producing data. We are incredible at it. First there are all those books and things we produced when we used to write on paper, which Google is trying its hardest to chronicle - but there is also everything we produce on the internet. Think of everything on the internet! Think of all the cats! … In fact, there are so many cats (and other things) on the internet that companies like Google and Ebay may soon compete with science experiments for who has the most data."

You can read more about it in her post on the American Physical Society blog, Physics Buzz.

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