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Weather simulation – how does it work?

Meteorology was one of the first disciplines to harness the power of computers, but the idea of using equations to predict the weather predates the computer era. It was first …

Simulation steps

In the previous steps we discussed briefly what simulations are and how they are created. However, most of the time people using simulations in their work do not actually write …

Computational Science

Computational science is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field. There are many problems in science and technology that cannot be sufficiently studied experimentally or theoretically. It may be too expensive or …

Computer simulations

How many people haven’t heard about computer simulations? Few, if any. After all, the term has become a part of popular culture. Some people are even suggesting that we are …

Message-Passing Model

The Message-Passing Model is closely associated with the distributed-memory architecture of parallel computers. Remember that a distributed-memory computer is effectively a collection of separate computers, each called a node, connected …

Shared-Variables Model

On a computer, a variable corresponds to some piece of information that we need to store in memory. In the traffic model, for example, we need to store all the …

Traffic Simulation

Now we are going to consider how to parallelise a more interesting example than just adding up a list of numbers. First, we will describe how the example works and …

Parallel Computing

We have seen over the first two weeks that almost all modern computers are parallel computers, consisting of many individual CPU-cores that can be connected together in two different ways: …

Shared memory vs Distributed memory

We’ve seen how individual CPU-cores can be put together to form large parallel machines in two fundamentally different ways: the shared and distributed memory architectures. In the shared-memory architecture all …

Wee ARCHIE case study

Finally, Wee ARCHIE makes its appearance again! This video uses Wee ARCHIE to explain the parallel computer architecture concepts introduced in this week. It is worth emphasising that the physical …

Distributed Memory Architecture

Because of the difficulty of having very large numbers of CPU-cores in a single shared-memory computer, all of today’s supercomputers use the same basic approach to build a very large …

Shared Memory Architecture

The fundamental feature of a shared-memory computer is that all the CPU-cores are connected to the same piece of memory. This is achieved by having a memory bus that takes …

Supercomputers – how are they used?

To do science in the real world we have to build complicated instruments for each experiment: vast telescopes for astronomers to look deep into space, powerful particle accelerators so physicists …

Supercomputers – what are they?

A supercomputer is a computer with very high-level computational capacities compared to a general-purpose computer such as a personal desktop or laptop. Clearly this is a moving target – today’s …

Arrangements for this unfacilitated run

This course has already run five times in the standard FutureLearn format since it first launched in March 2017. We are still keen for the material to be available for …