Philip Emeagwali

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Philip Emeagwali
It Was the Audacity of My Thinking
Emeagwali helped give birth to the supercomputer,
the technology that spawned the Internet.
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It Was the Audacity of My Thinking
THEORIZING THE INTERNET
26
LYRICS OF THE EARTH’S FLUIDS
31
THE ANSWER IS IN THE WIND
36
A ROMANCE IN SIXTEEN DIMENSIONS
60
EIGHTEEN DIFFICULT TO SOLVE
EQUATIONS
74
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AN OPERA WITH 65000 PROCESSORS
84
THIS I REMEMBER
91
THE INVISIBLE SECOND
97
THE ANSWER HAS CHANGED
105
TIMELINE OF COMPUTING
113
ORATIONS FOR EMEAGWALI
118
SCRAPBOOK
176
PHOTOS
183
POSTERS
226
SPEECHES AT EMEAGWALI.COM
479
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Memories of British West Africa
480
Times Remembered From Colonial Africa
480
Memories of Post Colonial Africa
480
Forgive Me, Father, for I Have Sinned!
480
One Day We Had to Run!
480
For Most of it I Have No Words
480
The Day of the Long Night
480
The Graves Are Not Yet Full
480
Chronicles from a Refugee Camp
480
A Child Soldier’s Story
480
After the War Was Over
480
They Call Me Calculus
480
Out-of-This-World Astronomer
480
Out of Africa
480
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On to Oregon
480
I Want to Be a Mathematician
480
A Nigger in Oregon
480
I Wish to Tell You that Celestine Has Been Killed
480
The Soul of an Astronomer
481
I The Homeless
481
Don’t Push the River
481
The Fear of Black Intellect
481
Am I the Anti-Christ?
481
Did They Heard Me When I Cried "Eureka!"
481
They Laughed When I Told Them … But Their Laughter
Turned to Stunned Silence …
481
To Be Young, Gifted and African in America
481
I Am a Black Mathematician
481
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A Black Physicist’s Apology
481
How to Silently Explode an Atomic Bomb
481
My Search for the Holy Grail of Immortality
481
Globalization Not New; Look at Slave Trade
481
Why Is America Battling for Africa?
481
Why Superstitious Africans Believe Weird Things
481
How Do We Reverse the Brain Drain?
481
One Wife, One Child
481
Do I Believe in God?
482
Why Is Oil-Rich Nigeria So Poor?
482
Waiting for Oil Cargo
482
The Party's Over; The End of Oil
482
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When Bill Clinton called Philip Emeagwali “the Bill
Gates of Africa,” his admirers protested that Bill Gates
is “the Philip Emeagwali of America.” Both were
misleading comparisons, said Emeagwali. The reason,
he explains, is that
“It is like comparing apples and oranges. I am a
supercomputer scientist while Bill Gates is a software
entrepreneur. The scientist creates the knowledge
while the entrepreneur takes it, monetizes it, and runs
with it.”
In 1989, Emeagwali created the knowledge that
thousands of electronic brains, called processors,
could outperform a supercomputer. His discovery was
against the prevailing dogma: the president of the
leading supercomputer company told The New York
Times [11/29/89]:
"We can't find any real progress in harnessing the
power of thousands of processors."
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Emeagwali’s discovery implied a new generation of
supercomputers and consequently made the
headlines. Not only was it faster, it was also one
hundredth the cost of a supercomputer. It was new
knowledge that was monetized immediately by
manufacturers who redesigned their supercomputers
to incorporate thousands of processors.
The supercomputer was reinvented. Now obsolete is
the $10 million a piece vector processors, that worked
by performing fast calculations on a long string of
numbers called
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“vectors.”
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The New African ranked Emeagwali (third from
bottom right) as history’s greatest scientist of African
descent (September 2004).
The reinvented supercomputer costs up to 400
million dollars a piece. It eats more power than a city
of 5,000 residents and is powered by 65,000
electronic brains or interconnected processors. The
supercomputer is 100,000 times faster than a desktop
computer and occupies the space of four tennis courts.
It is presently a six billion dollars a year industry.
A major scientific discovery is often achieved by a
team of 24 co-discoverers supported by a 400-person
laboratory or 400-million-dollar grants. How then did
an African immigrant who worked alone, jealous of
his independence, indifferent to other’s skepticism of
his wild theories achieved a breakthrough in
supercomputing? He recalled:
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“American scientific research was a white man's game
in the mid-1970s. I was forced to play by their rules,
work alone and without pay for 15 years, even though
I was the best.”
Working alone had its disadvantages and advantages.
He had nobody to play the devil’s advocate or become
his sounding board. He conceived his ideas alone,
argued them alone and refined them alone. On the
positive side, there was no committee to stop him
from attempting to do the impossible.
Most importantly, he became a sort of jack-of-alltrades that enabled him to draw from a constellation
of ideas, see the interconnectedness of knowledge and
the totality of the problem. He explained the
advantages of seeing the big picture or the forest
instead of the trees:
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“The modern scientist is overspecialized and knows
more and more about less and less. I try to connect
the dots across the foci of physics, mathematics and
computing. These three subjects form an intimately
interconnected and continuous entity but we
erroneously categorize them as separate.”
It was an assignment that called for an ace
mathematician, a supercomputer wizard and master
physicist, all rolled in one. The scientific equivalent of
the grueling, long-term endurance Ironman triathlon
race – 2.4-mile swim, 26.2-mile run, 112-mile bike
without stopping. Others accomplished their
supercomputing Ironman race as an 8-person relay
team while Emeagwali did it alone. The route to his
solution was original and treacherous. The number of
scientists who could understand the solution could
take a taxi together to a seminar given by Emeagwali.
The self-confidence to tackle and solving the problem
alone was what brought him acclaim and respect. He
had a total of six major dots and maybe six minor dots
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and his genius was in mastering and connecting those
dots, not in understanding a few of the dots.
“They cast away my discovery, only to re-discover it
ten years later. The stone which the builders rejected,
as rough and unsightly, became the headstone of the
corner,” he said.
He holds the opinion that no African can get to the top
of the scientific field without making immense
sacrifice, working harder and smarter and alone.
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This Earth Simulator supercomputer occupies the
space of three tennis courts. It has 83,000 copper
wires and 2,900 kilometers (1800 miles) of cables,
which is long enough to connect the cities of New York
and Dallas.
Working alone for 15 years, facing constant rejection
because his HyperBall theorized Internet was against
the prevailing dogma, and drawing from knowable
knowledge from several subspecialties, Emeagwali
proceeded to tackle a problem so daunting it made a
U.S. government list of the twenty most difficult
problems in computing.
He explained:
“It took me 15 years to become an overnight success.
The difference between a scientist that worked on a
problem for 15 years and one that spent five years is
like the difference between an artist with 15 crayons
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and one with 5 crayons. The artist with 15 crayons will
produce more exciting pictures.”
Emeagwali took an unconventional, synergistic
approach of reformulating Newton’s Second Law of
Motion as 18 equations and algorithms; then as 24
million algebraic equations; and finally programming
and executing those equations on 65,000 processors
at a speed of 3.1 billion calculations per second. It was
a high-risk but high-yield research.
The Second Law of Motion is to physics what the 26
alphabets are to the English language. Starting from
the Second Law is the equivalent of descending from
the top of the highest mountain.
It is the equivalent of the constitution to physicists.
Just as the U.S. Declaration of Independence begins
with “We hold these truths to be self-evident” so the
physicists declares the Second Law to be self-evident
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“It [Second Law] is the alphabet of the language of
physics. The English language loses its richness if the
alphabet ‘B’ is removed. Some mathematical models
lose their accuracy because the Second Law was
violated,” Emeagwali explained.
He, in a manner of speaking, demonstrated that prior
mathematical models were “unconstitutional” and his
enforced the Rule of Law, specifically, the rule of the
second law of motion in all fluids that flows
underneath the Earth’s surface.
The Second Law of Motion is an absolute that had
always existed and is true for all times and places. It
was discovered 350 years ago by Isaac Newton, not
invented. Newton put his Second Law into words
while Emeagwali scientized the motion of fluids
underneath the Earth’s surface by incorporating the
Second Law. He reformulated the Second Law into
abstract mathematical symbols for an infinite set of
points within the Earth’s interiror and then into
algorithms for a finite set that can be stored within a
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supercomputer. Formulas similar to Emeagwali’s
eighteen equations can be used to simulate the birth
of the universe and the motion of fluids in distant
galaxies. It is because the motion of fluids underneath
the Earth’s surface can be mathematicized – as well as
the motion of inanimate objects in our universe –
of such phenomenal physics-inspired equations that
mathematics was dubbed the “Queen of the Sciences.”
Because mathematical equations can embody a-priori
knowledge of laws of physics some have conjectured
that we can conceptually predict the motion of all
objects in our universe by solving the appropriate set
of partial differential equations. In fact, 90 percent of
supercomputer cycles were consumed in solving
differential equations.
“The journey to my discoveries was a 15-year
marathon, not a 15-day sprint,” he said.
His 65,000 processors, 24 million equations
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and 3.1 billion calculations were three world records,
in 1989, that garnered international headlines. That
breakthrough – achieved by weaving together 41
discoveries in mathematics, physics and computing won him the 1989 Gordon Bell Prize, which is the
equivalent in the supercomputer industry of the Nobel
Prize.
Perhaps, only one in a million scientists can boast of
making a breakthrough discovery. Are we
approaching the end of knowledge? There’s a story,
perhaps apocryphal, about Charles H. Duell, a former
Commissioner of the U.S. Office of Patents in 1899
who tendered his resignation to Congress because
“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”
His predecessor, Henry Ellsworth, wrote to Congress
in 1843: “The advancement of the arts, from year to
year, taxes our credulity and seems to presage the
arrival of that period when human improvement must
end.”
Fast forward a century, a scientist was hired to read
all the journals in his specialty and write a monthly
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report on the new discoveries. He said: “Often I am
tempted to write only two words: ‘Nothing
happened.’”
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Artist’s rendition Emeagwali’s discovery that the
collective power of 65,000 weak processors (chickens)
are more powerful than a 400 million dollar
supercomputer (an oxen). This new knowledge was
the crucial turning point that inspired the reinvention
of supercomputers to utilize thousands of processors.
© 1989
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Emeagwali’s Theorized Internet
Theorizing the Internet
If history were to repeat itself, the supercomputer of
today will become the computer of tomorrow. And the
supercomputer of today will become the Internet of
tomorrow, or vice versa. The latter prediction is based
on the fact that the Internet comprises millions of
computers that are interconnected, like a
supercomputer, but occupies the space of the entire
Earth’s surface.
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Emeagwali’s Theorized Internet
Artist’s rendition of the HyperBall network invented
by Emeagwali.
The supercomputer spawned the Internet by creating
the need to invent a network that connects
supercomputer scientists to their supercomputers.
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Emeagwali’s Theorized Internet
In fact, the supercomputer and the Internet are
powered by similar technologies. The supercomputer
is powered by thousands of processors interconnected
as a hypercube, while the Internet is powered by
millions of computers interconnected as a hyperball.
The supercomputer is a hypercube because a
hypercube topology is easier to program while the
Internet evolved to a hyperball because the Earth is
spherical.
The network that is the heart of the Internet is shaped
like an irregular hyperball. Emeagwali invented the
regular hyperball network and in 1988 using a
hypercube supercomputer powered by 65,536
processors to establish the world record of 3.1 billion
calculations per second.
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Emeagwali’s Theorized Internet
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Emeagwali’s Theorized Internet
Books on the History of the Internet (including the
above) credited Emeagwali for theorizing a HyperBall
supercomputer network, which we now know as the
Internet.
In the 1970s, Emeagwali theorized that 65,000
computers around the Earth could forecast the
weather. That theoretical supercomputer, with 65,000
nodes, is known today as the Internet. For the
audacity of his theorized Internet, the book “History
of the Internet” and CNN called him one of the fathers
of the Internet.
Polls rank Emeagwali as the modern scientist most
searched-for on the Internet and the readers and
editors of New African voted him history’s 35th
greatest African and the greatest scientist of African
descent.
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Hard Lessons from History
Lyrics of the Earth’s Fluids
Emeagwali's 3.1 billion calculations per second was
used to solve one of the twenty most difficult
problems in supercomputing, the simulation and
recovery of oil and gas from underground reservoirs.
The latter discovery was accomplished by weaving
together 41 discoveries in physics, mathematics (nine
partial differential equations) and supercomputing
(nine algorithms, networks, etc). Each discovery
builds satisfactorily on the last, until at the 41st
discovery – 3.1 billion calculations – which was like
climbing a peak of understanding.
Emeagwali’s Networks
Three of the twelve progressively complex hypercube
communication paths used by Emeagwali to harness
the power of 65,536 processors. Each red dot
represents the physical position of each of his 4096
computational nodes. Emeagwali programmed a 12th
order network with 4096 computational nodes. The
image above is for the 5th, 6th and 7th order paths,
respectively.
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Hard Lessons from History
For the preceding 18 equations and algorithms, the
petroleum industry regards Emeagwali as an
“unorthodox innovator [who] has pushed back the
boundaries of oilfield science” (Upstream, January
27, 1997). Emeagwali contributed to the body of
knowledge used in reservoir simulators --- tools used
to determine the best strategies for injecting water
into an oilfield to eject oil and gas out of that field.
The simulation of huge oilfields was classified in the
1980s by the United States Government as one of the
twenty most difficult problems in the supercomputing
field. Emeagwali won the 1989 Gordon Bell Prize for,
in part, solving the preceding problem by successfully
encoding Newton’s Second Law of Motion --- a set of
factual statements that describe reality --- as nine
(partial differential) equations used for “seeing” inside
an oilfield. Because his new equations incorporated
inertial forces, they were more truthful, more accurate
and will enable the geologist recover more oil.
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Hard Lessons from History
An oil rig
The Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics
(SIAM News, May 1990) wrote that “his
[Emeagwali's] calculation is of real importance and…
solves problems faster...,” and the Institute of
Electrical and Electronics Engineers (Software, May
1990) stated that “the amount of money at stake is
staggering.”
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Hard Lessons from History
Philip Emeagwali developed 18 equations and
algorithms for supercomputers. © emeagwali.com
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Emeagwali’s HyperBall Theorized Internet
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The Answer is in the Wind
The Answer is in the Wind
Emeagwali’s Theorized Internet
[Excerpt from a speech delivered by Emeagwali at an
information technology conference in Ottawa, Canada
© 2005]
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The Answer is in the Wind
The supercomputer is perceived as a new technology
but the fundamental idea that drives it is as old as
humanity. This fundamental concept is simple - a
large problem is made small and solvable when it is
shared amongst thousands of brains, processors or
computers. Or “many hands make light work.”
Supercomputers utilize thousands of processors
because a thousand processors are generally a
thousand times more powerful than a single
processor. But a few years ago, this idea was a
mystery. We did not fully understand how to apply
this idea to harness the power of thousands of
processors. Because we named it a “supercomputer”
we first think of “computing” when the word
“supercomputer” is mentioned.” We focused on
computing, but that wasn’t the problem.
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This is a figure of the topology of my supercomputer
communication space. The entire 4,096 nodes that I
used cannot be seen by the human eye. The lines
represent the information pathways of my 4096
supercomputer nodes of my twelve-dimensional
hypercube supercomputer. Each node (symbolically
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The Answer is in the Wind
represented by a point) has twelve communication
channels (represented by a line) emanating from it.
The problem was about communication between and
within supercomputers. And my focus was on
communicating. You can have a hundred of the
greatest minds in the world in one room and working
on the same problem, but if they don’t communicate,
it is no different than having any one of them working
the problem alone.
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This is a figure of the topology of my theorized
Internet comnunication space.
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The Answer is in the Wind
I invented the HyperBall network because prior ones
were planar networks covering only parts of the
United States. The Internet has converged to my
HyperBall "world wide" network covering the entire
Earth.
In the 1990s, the vector supercomputer was
reinvented as a hypercube supercomputer. In a few
decades, the supercomputer will "disappear" into the
Internet and, in essence, converge to a hyperballshaped computing and communicating device. Then
we will say that the supercomputer is the network, or
that the HyperBall network is the supercomputer, or
that the HyperBall network is the Internet.
My HyperBall network was originally invented for
communication between computers and within
computers. Communication between computers is
called the Internet and that within a computer is
called supercomputing.
Because we like to put a human face on the invention
Internet, we ask: Who is the father of the Internet?
So: “Who invented the Internet?”
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The Answer is in the Wind
My answer, perhaps not so romantic as some would
wish is that no one individual invented the Internet.
In reality, the Internet has many fathers, as well as
mothers, uncles, and aunts.
And the Internet was not born at one place or time. It
grew organically and incrementally.
The invention of the Internet followed different trails
that are non-intersecting, although they converge into
what appears to us to be a single technology, the
Internet.
We use this collective noun to refer to all the bits and
pieces that make information move the way it does
these days.
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The Answer is in the Wind
The above thermometer can only measure past
temperatures. My mathematical equations can
compute or “measure” tomorrow’s temperature.
I program a supercomputer to use my mathematical
algorithms to transform today’s data – temperature,
wind speed, humidity, etc. --- into tomorrow’s
weather. In a sense, it enables the meteorologist to
operate a thermometer that measures tomorrow’s
temperature.
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The Answer is in the Wind
The above weather vane measures past wind strengths
while my partial differential equations provides the
forecast seen on television.
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The Answer is in the Wind
The above barograph keeps a daily record of the
atmospheric pressure while my equations forecasts
tomorrow’s pressure.
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The Answer is in the Wind
This system of handwritten mathematical equations is
the engine that drives weather forecasts distributed by
meteorological agencies.
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The Answer is in the Wind
In 1920s, a science fiction writer conjectured that the
state of the atmosphere with respect to temperature,
wind, pressure can be forecasted by employing
64,000 "human computers" to solve the governing
system of mathematical equations. These equations
(see above) are codified laws of physics that act as a
virtual thermometer, wind vane, barometer and
various weather instruments. Unlike physical weather
instruments, "mathematical instruments" could be
used to forecast future weather.
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The Answer is in the Wind
I visualized each of my 64,000 beams of search light
as having the shape of either a hexagonally or
pentagonally prism.
I was inspired by the idea of harnessing 64,000
human computers. I commenced this research project
in May 1975 at Oregon State University on how to
harness 64,000 digital computers. That research
project led to my discovery of the HyperBall network
and my reformulation of the HyperBall as a
Hypercube. I won the 1989 Gordon Bell Prize for
using a 64 binary thousand processors interconnected
as a Hypercube, which was inspired by the 64
thousand human processors conceived in the 1920s.
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The Answer is in the Wind
I tessellated the entire Earth's atmosphere with
64,000 prisms of light.
Finally, I tessellated the outer boundary to create my
HyperBall.
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The Answer is in the Wind
New knowledge builds upon old knowledge and the
names of most contributors were lost in the mist of
antiquity.
For instance, I developed nine algorithms which I
implemented as 24 million algebraic equations. My
work therefore builds upon the knowledge of the
ninth century Persian mathematician Muhammed idn
Musa Al-Khwarizmi who published an influential
book Al-jabr wa'l muqabalah. The words “AlKhwarizmi” and “Al-jabr wa'l” were corrupted to
algorithm and algebra, respectively.
I could not have solved 24 million algebraic equations
without building upon the knowledge developed 1680
years before Christ was born by an African
mathematician named Ahmes who wrote the oldest
mathematics textbook with solutions of equation.
There were many discoveries and inventions that I
built upon to make my mine.
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The Answer is in the Wind
Equally important is that I did not solve these
problems during a flash of genius nor did I make my
discoveries through serendipity or the proverbial luck
of working on the right topic “at the right time.” They
occurred over a fifteen year period with the
inspiration coming from interaction between
mathematics, physics and supercomputer science.
Because I devoted 15 years to acquiring a deep
understanding of seven subspecialties which is the
baseline knowledge for solving these problems. I
knew a lot that is knowable in those fields, I developed
a gut instinct on how to solve problems and that I was
working on an important problem, I was able to see
the importance of inertial forces and how the new
equations will lead to faster calculations more clearly.
The journey to my discovery was a marathon, and I
would have failed if I had sprint as if it was a hundredyard dash. The process of conducting scientific
research is a science on its own, and a sense you need
to be an alchemist of some sort to become a good
chemist.
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The Answer is in the Wind
Contrary to what many thought, I did not rely
exclusively on brute mathematical force to derive my
18 equations and algorithms.
It was my knowledge of physics that helped me
discover that inertial forces were missing in the
century-old equations used by mathematicians and
petroleum scientists.
My nine mathematical discoveries called - partial
differential equations - are
symbolic codification of Newton’s Second Law of
Motion. With my knowledge of the laws of physics, I
re-introduced the inertial forces and discovered my
nine equations for mathematicians and nine
algorithms for computer scientists.
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The Answer is in the Wind
Emeagwali continued his research in his HyperBall
International network for weather forecasting in this
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The Answer is in the Wind
building (8060 13th Street, Silver Spring, Maryland)
which was the office of the United States National
Weather Service from 1982-86.
A rainstorm is governed by the laws of motion
described in introductory physics textbooks. The
Second Law of Motion is codified as partial
differential equations to be solved on a
supercomputer.
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The Answer is in the Wind
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The Answer is in the Wind
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A Romance in Sixteen Dimensions
Original communication paths of Emeagwali’s
HyperBall as an Earth-sized supercomputer and
theorized Internet. We now think of it as the practical
Internet
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A Romance in Sixteen Dimensions
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A Romance in Sixteen Dimensions
A Romance in Sixteen Dimensions
Emeagwali on the Hypercube
Excerpt from a lecture delivered at NASA Ames ©
1990]
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A Romance in Sixteen Dimensions
The above is are illustrations of the information
pathways of my hypercube supercomputer showing
the Two, 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, and 7-dimensional hypercube
configurations, respectively. Also, the six figures
illustrate the doubling procedure that I used to
generate my 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, and 128 computational
nodes, respectively. My procedure can be generalized
so that higher dimensional hypercube networks can
be constructed from lower dimensional ones.
Each hypercube is constructed by moving the next
lower hypercube along an additional direction. For
example, the 7-dimensional hypercube was
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A Romance in Sixteen Dimensions
constructed by moving the 6-dimensional hypercube
along the seventh dimension.
Most people think a hypercube is a cube of four (and
higher) dimensions. As a network topologist, I define
a point as a zero-hypercube, a line segment as a 1hypercube, a square as a 2-hypercube, and a cube as a
3-hypercube, and so on.
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A secret that lead to the success of my programming
of 3.1 billion calculations per second was that the
hypercube topology enabled me to concretely and
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mentally visualize the name, location and 12-nearest
neighbors of each of my65,536 processors that were
arranged as 4096 clusters of 16-processors which
were configured as a 12-dimensional hypercube.
It seemed like magic. What I did was to project our
three-dimensional world onto a 12-dimensional
hypercubic space.
The fourth dimension is that beyond 'Length, Height,
Width.' The fifth and higher dimensions are similarly
derived. You can put a square inside a cube, but not
vice-versa. Similarly, I projected a three-dimensional
problem into an imaginary 12-dimensional space to
enable me distribute my problem between the
processors of my 12-dimensional hypercube
computer.
I plotted sixteen hypercube graphs by connecting the
vertices of the next smaller graph. The links of my
hypercube computer correspond to the edges of my
associated hypercube graph.
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Then I colored my graphs so that I could see the
twelve independent paths of my twelve-dimensional
hypercube. I use these independent paths to deliver a
message between any two processing nodes that are
the farthest possible distance apart.
Finally, I identified every node in my hypercube
computer by a unique binary number which consists
of 0's and 1's.
I generated 4096 12-digit numbers which will fill up
50 pages with only zeroes and ones. As a
mathematician, I visually examine the patterns in two
12-digit binary numbers 000 001 000 000 and 010
001 000 000 tell they are nearest neighbors, while
000 111 000 000 and 000 000 111 000 are a distance
of 6 communication channels apart.
I had to know who’s who and where each processor is
located before I could command it to obey my
instructions.
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The above diagram demonstrates the information
pathways of my hypercube supercomputer with 32
nodes. The 32 pink dots represent 32 computing
nodes, and the five lines, emanating to and from each
node, represent communication channels. I
programmed a supercomputer with 12 bi-directional
communication channels emanating to and from each
node to solve some of the problems described by the
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U.S. government as the most difficult in
supercomputing.
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The communication paths of my eight-dimensional
hypercube.
Each processor (symbolically represented by a point)
has eight communication channels (represented by a
line) emanating from it.
I was pleased when it made the headlines that I
programmed 65,536 processors to perform the
world’s fastest computation (i.e. 3.1 billion
calculations per second in 1988).
Yet, I never set out to establish a world computing
record. My calculations made the headlines because it
had, at that time, been widely believed that it would
be impossible to program thousands of processors to
outperform conventional supercomputers.
Although many people remember my supercomputer
calculations, my research was never on
supercomputers, per se. It was on the kernel of
knowledge that powers both the supercomputer and
the Internet. My focus was on the conceptual
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A Romance in Sixteen Dimensions
foundation of the next-generation Internet, namely
computation and communication.
In the 1980s, the debate among supercomputer
manufacturers was:
“Is it practical to use thousands of processors?”
The IBM and supercomputer giants said: “no.” I
answered “yes” and I was proven right.
The essence of my research was to demonstrate that
thousands of inexpensive processors could
outperform any supercomputer. In other words, I
wanted to create the knowledge that supercomputers
should utilize thousands of processors. I added new
knowledge that is incorporated inside all
supercomputers. Since my discovery - in part - opened
and prepared the new technology for
commercialization, I am considered a pioneer in
supercomputing.
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My wife (Dale) and I at the Gordon Bell Prize award
ceremony that recognized my contribution to
supercomputing. [Cathedral Hill Hotel, San
Franscisco, California. February 28, 1990]
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Emeagwali's 18 Equations That Couldn't Be Solved
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Emeagwali's 18 Equations That Couldn't Be Solved
Eighteen Difficult to Solve Equations
(Emeagwali’s Eighteen Equations, E3, pronounced “E
cube”)
Philip Emeagwali was praised by Upstream - an international oil and
gas industry publication - as an “unorthodox innovator [who] has
pushed back the boundaries of oilfield science.”
CNN extolled him for using “his mathematical and [super]computer
expertise to develop methods for extracting
more petroleum from oil fields.” The Society of Industrial and
Applied Mathematics
(SIAM News, May 1990) wrote that “his [Emeagwali's] calculation is
of real importance and …
solves problems faster...,” and the Institute of Electrical and
Electronics Engineers (Software, May 1990)
stated that “the amount of money at stake is staggering.”
The reservoir simulator - mathematical codification of
the laws of motion - is a tool for smarter, deeper and
cleaner oil production. Reservoir simulators help
determine optimal strategies for injection water into
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an oilfield and ejecting oil and gas out of it.
Petroleum geologists use it to “see” inside an oilfield
with greater clarity. In state-of-the art practice, water
is injected into a reservoir to produce more oil. In
next-generation reservoir simulators, inertia could be
injected to more accurately "see inside" the oilfield.
Emeagwali’s eighteen equations will enable geologists
to see inside an oilfield with greater clarity.
The simulation of huge oilfields was classified in the 1980s by the
United States Government as one
of the twenty most difficult problems in the supercomputing field.
Emeagwali explains:
While the mathematics behind my 18 equations and
algorithms is complex the fundamental idea is simple.
Using an advanced form of calculus, called partial
differential equations, I codified the well-known
Newton’s Second Law of Motion as 18 equations and
algorithms. That is, my equations are the factual
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statements described by the Second Law of Motion
expressed in algebraic symbols. Algorithms based
upon the latter factual statements can be iterated
(projected) into the future to forecast tomorrows
weather or determine the amount of oil that can be
recovered.
An algorithm is a precise rule specifying how to solve
an equation. It can be loosely compared to a culinary
recipe, although algorithms are generally repetitive
and more complex.
Consider the quadratic equation which we all studied
in school:
The algorithm for solving it is “X equals negative b,
plus or minus square root, b squared minus 4ac, all
over 2a.”
Similarly, I reformulated my nine partial differential
equations, into nine difference equations (the
corresponding algorithm) for solving them at 24
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million places within the Earth and at thousands of
different times. (Unlike a single quadratic equation, it
will take you forever to solve 24 million algebraic
equations.) The end result is that my nine algorithms
are repeated about a trillion times by a
supercomputer. I invented these algorithms because
they make my equations solvable on a computer.
This is when it pays to be a jack-of-all-trades scientist
who can coordinate between different subjects. A
mathematician can only formulate the equations with
the assistance of a physicist. It takes a computer
scientist to formulate the algorithms and solve them
on a supercomputer. Neither the mathematician,
physicist or computer scientist understands what the
results signify, or how it affects flows along the little
oil streams and rivulets underneath the Earth’s surfce.
It takes a geologist to ask and answer the question:
“What does it all mean?”
To a layperson, my equations appear to be a strange
hieroglyphics of numbers and symbols. However, it
connects physics and mathematics because my 18
formulas build on the four dominant forces within an
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oil field, namely pressure, gravitation, viscosity and
inertia (acceleration).
Your weight is a measure of the acceleration force
exerted by the Earth upon your body. If you stand on
a bathroom scale inside an elevator (amusement or
roller coaster ride) your weight
increases (decreases) as you
travel upward (or downward).
Do you recall feeling lighter as
the elevator goes downward?
Previously, petroleum
geologists assumed that the
amount of acceleration forces
(oil weight) when oil flows towards and upwards of an
oil well are negligible. Using the elevator analogy, I
proved that acceleration forces could not be ignored
within an oil field.
Utilizing advanced mathematical methods and
incorporating inertial forces, I developed a more
powerful set of 18 supercomputer formulas that will
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increase the amount of oil recovered. Because, I
include inertia, my equations were not longer
“parabolic” as the conventional ones. Instead, they
became hyperbolic which made them more suitable
for supercomputer programming.
The U.S. government called it one of the twenty most
difficult problems in supercomputing. The petroleum
industry purchases ten percent of all supercomputers
to increase the amount of oil recovered.
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Emeagwali's 18 Equations That Couldn't Be Solved
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If you accelerate upwards inside an elevator by 10
m/s2, your weight will double. If you decelerate by 5
m/s2, you lose half your weight. If I cut the elevator
cable and you will become weightless and cannot pour
a glass of water for a brief moment. I incorporated
this knowledge in the 18 equations I discovered.
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The old petroleum reservoir models implies that the
weight of oil remains constant as it travels towards
and upwards of an oil well (or elevator).
From my perspective as a mathematical physicist, the
Earth’s atmosphere is a reservoir of air, the ocean is a
reservoir of water and an oil field is a reservoir of
petroleum. Newton's Second Law of Motion states
that the forces within any reservoir of fluid (air, water
or petroleum) are unbalanced and that the
acceleration produced within the reservoir is
proportional to the force impressed.
The inertial forces are incorporated by weather
forecasters but are ignored by petroleum geologists.
First, I demonstrated that petroleum geologists were
violating Newton's Second Law of Motion – which is
applicable throughout the universe - and then I
mathematically codified and incorporated this
universal law as new system of partial differential
equations that could be used to recover more oil.
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An Opera With 65,000 Processors
An Opera With 65000 Processors
Because as a mathematician I think in the abstract, I
could wear the hats of a meteorologist, geologist or
nuclear weapon designer. My equations are
abstraction of a weather-field, oilfield or nuclear
explosion site which allows me to fast forward into the
future and see and understand these phenomena with
greater clarity, focus, and a fresh dimension.
My final calculations were conducted on an
experimental machine belonging to the Los Alamos
National Laboratory, the birthplace of the atomic
bomb and also the headquarters of supercomputing.
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An Opera With 65,000 Processors
An artist's rendition of a nuclear explosion. A nuclear
blast is simulated by using a supercomputer with
thousands of processors to solve a complex and
coupled system of partial differential equations. These
equations are symbolic expressions of the laws of
physics and chemistry.
Fundamentally, the mathematical equations used in
nuclear explosions and weather forecasting are
similar, except that one is classified and the other
non-classified.
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An Opera With 65,000 Processors
For example, weapon designers, meteorologists, and
geologists perform similar calculations: temperature,
pressure, and density during a Hiroshima nuclear
explosions, Earth’s atmosphere or petroleum
reservoir, respectively. The physical difference is that
a nuclear explosion takes place in an instant (or what
mathematicians describe as small time and space
scales) while a petroleum reservoir is operated for
about 20 years. Also, the goal is to ensure that the
conditions within a nuclear weapon are extreme. It is
the extreme temperatures and pressures of a nuclear
weapon that obliterates everything within its path.
As a mathematical physicist, I know that since a
nuclear explosion is about motion and therefore, must
be governed by the same laws of motion that govern
flows within the Earth's atmosphere and oilfields. In
other words, my discovery was a valid proof-ofprinciple for nuclear weapons designers that
thousands of processors could be harnessed to
simulate nuclear blasts.
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An Opera With 65,000 Processors
Emeagwali invented 18 equations and algorithms for
supercomputers. © emeagwali.com
First, I used an advanced form of calculus called
partial differential equations to codify Newton’s
Second Law of Motion.
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An Opera With 65,000 Processors
Second, I solved them within an imaginary twelvedimensional mathematical universe called
hypercubes.
Geometers define the fourth dimension of the
hypercube as that beyond “Length, Height, and
Width.” The fifth and higher dimensions are similarly
derived.
In a theoretical sense, I mentally hopped into a
twelve-dimensional geometrical universe to solve a
three-dimensional physical problem. My approach
may seem counterintuitive to a layperson, but
mathematicians understand that it is sometimes
easier to “escape into” higher dimensions. Science
fiction writers, use this logic to describe how a person
can escape a homicidal gunman by running into the
fourth dimension. Similarly, a surgeon in a fourth
dimensional world, which encompasses our universe,
can operate inside your intestines and remove
cancerous cells without cutting. One of the secrets to
my success was that my twelve-dimensional
hypercube supercomputer provided extra
communication paths for my information to travel.
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An Opera With 65,000 Processors
In performing my calculations, I divided a huge
oilfield into 65,536 smaller oilfields and then
distributed these problems to 65,536 processors that
were networked together as a 12-dimensional
hypercube supercomputer with 16 processors at each
of its 4,096 nodes. Its graph is obtained by replacing
each node of the 12-dimensional hypercube
supercomputer by a 16-vertex two-dimensional mesh.
The graph of the 16-processors at each computational
node of my hypercube supercomputer.
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An Opera With 65,000 Processors
Emeagwali used the laws governing the motion of
planets to compute the motion within oil reservoirs.
He is a trained astronomer and his first professional
job offer was as an “astronomer” for the U.S. Naval
Observatory.
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This I Remember
This I Remember
TIMELINE: Philip Emeagwali
1921. James Nnaemeka Emeagwali (father of Philip)
born in May in Onitsha, Nigeria.
1938. Agatha Emeagwali, née Balonwu, (mother of
Philip) born on August 7 in Onitsha.
1954 Chukwurah Emeagwali born on August 23 in
Akure, Nigeria.
1955 Baptized as “Philip”
1960 Enrolls in 1st grade in January. Nigeria gains
independence from Britain on October 1.
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This I Remember
1962 Philip (far right) in family photo taken on
December 24 in Uromi, Nigeria.
1966 Nigerian military overthrows elected
government. Civil uprising with 30,000 dead.
1967 Nigerian-Biafran war begins in May. One
million died in 30-month war.
1968 Emeagwali family fled Onitsha for the fourth
and final time.
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This I Remember
1969 Emeagwali conscripted into the Biafran army in
August, sent to Oguta war front.
1970 Biafran army defeated in January. Emeagwali is
discharged from the Biafran army.
1973 Emeagwali wins a mathematics scholarship to
study in the U.S.
1981 Marries Dale Brown on August 15 in Baltimore,
Maryland. Continues scientific research at National
Weather Service.
1983 Obtains U.S. permanent residency “Green
Card” visas for his 35 closest relatives.
1987 Programs 65,536 electronic brains, called
processors to perform the world’s fastest calculation.
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This I Remember
1989 Wins the Gordon Bell Prize alone, the
equivalent in the supercomputer industry of the Nobel
Prize.
2000 Bill Clinton extols Emeagwali as “one of the
great minds of the Information Age.”
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This I Remember
2004 New African magazine poll ranks Emeagwali
as history’s greatest scientist of African descent.
2005 Philip, Dale and Ijeoma Emeagwali, June 8.
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The Invisible Second
World’s Fastest Calculation
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The Invisible Second
The Invisible Second
In 1987, Emeagwali programmed 65,536 electronic brains, called
processors, at the Los Alamos National Laboratory
(the birthplace of the atomic bomb) to perform the world’s fastest
calculation. Emeagwali explains:
I was asked to share today the story behind my
supercomputer discovery. It would require several
books to tell the whole story, but I will share a short
one that I have never told anyone.
The journey of discovery to my supercomputer was a
titanic, one-man struggle. It was like climbing Mount
Everest. On many occasions I felt like giving up.
Because I was traumatized by the racism I had
encountered in science, I maintained a self-imposed
silence on the supercomputer discovery that is my
claim to fame.
I will share with you a supercomputing insight that
even the experts in my field did not know then and do
not know now. In the 1980s, supercomputers could
perform only millions of calculations per second and,
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The Invisible Second
therefore, their timers were designed to measure only
millions of calculations per second.
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The Invisible Second
But I was performing billions of calculations per
second and unknowingly attempting to time it with a
supercomputer timer, which was designed to measure
millions of calculations per second. I assumed my
timer could measure one-billionth of a second. It took
me two years to realize my timer was off a thousand
fold. I was operating beyond a supercomputer’s
limitations, but I did not know it. The supercomputer
designers did not expect their timers to be used to
measure calculations at that rate.
I almost gave up because I could not time and
reproduce my calculations which, in turn, meant I
could not share them, two years earlier, with the
world. After years of research, my supercomputer’s
timer was the only thing stopping me from getting the
recognition I deserved. I realized the timer was wrong,
but I could not explain why. I spent two years mulling
over why the timer was wrong. It took two long and
lonely years to discover why I could not time my
calculations.
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The Invisible Second
My 3.1 billion calculations per second, which were
then the world’s fastest, were simply too fast for the
supercomputer’s timer.
Emeagwali reprogrammed, in a virtual sense, his
supercomputer timer tick interval to enable him
measure one trillionth of a second.
What I learned from that experience was not to quit
when faced with an insurmountable obstacle – and
that believing in yourself makes all the difference. I
learned to take a step backward and evaluate the
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The Invisible Second
options: Should I go through, above, under, or around
the obstacle? Quitting, I decided, was not an option.
Indeed, the old saying is true: When the going gets
tough, the tough get going.
Looking back, I learned that most limitations in life
are self-imposed. You have to make things happen,
not just watch things happen. To succeed, you must
constantly reject complacency.
I learned I could set high objectives and goals and
achieve them. The secret to my success is that I am
constantly striving for continuous improvements in
my life and that I am never satisfied with my
achievements.
The myth that a genius must have above-average
intelligence is just that, a myth. Geniuses are people
who learn to create their own positive reinforcements
when their experiments yield negative results.
Perseverance is the key. My goal was to go beyond the
known, to a territory no one had ever reached.
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The Invisible Second
I learned that if you want success badly enough and
believe in yourself, then you can attain your goals and
become anything you want in life.
The greatest challenge in your life is to look deep
within yourself to see the greatness that is inside you,
and those around you.
The history books may deprive African children of the
heroes with whom they can identify, but in striving for
your own goals, you can become that hero for them –
and your own hero, too.
I once believed my supercomputer discovery was
more important than the journey that got me there. I
now understand the journey to discovery is more
important than the discovery itself; that the journey
also requires a belief in your own abilities.
I learned that no matter how often you fall down, or
how hard you fall down, what is most important is
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The Invisible Second
that you rise up and continue until you reach your
goal.
It’s true, some heroes are never recognized, but what’s
important is that they recognize themselves. It is that
belief in yourself, that focus, and that inner conviction
that you are on the right path, that will get you
through life’s obstacles.
If we can give our children pride in their past, then we
can show them what they can be and give them the
self-respect that will make them succeed.
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The Invisible Second
Emeagwali (with 65,000 processor supercomputer in
the background), Cambridge, MA. 1990
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The Answer Has Changed
The Answer Has Changed
TIMELINE: Supercomputer & Internet
The word “computer” was coined 600 years ago but
the computer has been reinvented over and over.
Hence the terminology is the same but the technology
is different. Actually, reinventing computers is a
process that has been going on for thousands of years.
The abacus, a computing device invented two
thousand years ago by the Chinese, was reinvented as
a Table of Logarithms. Then the logarithm was
reinvented as a slide rule. The slide rule was
reinvented as a mechanical computer which was
succeeded by the digital and parallel computers,
respectively.
Therefore, computers have been progressively refined
and reinvented from manually-operated abacus to a
more complex machine that is powered by thousands
of processors.
The supercomputer was not invented at a particular
time and place. It had existed for millennia. It was
reinvented as a vector supercomputer in the 1970s
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The Answer Has Changed
and then reinvented as a parallel supercomputer in
the 1990s. The parallel supercomputer existed in the
1980s as an “experimental machine” but
demonstrating that it was more powerful than any
(vector) supercomputer led to its upgrade to a
production machine. Today, all supercomputers are
designed as a parallel computer.
In fact, since the supercomputer of today was the
computer of yesterday, we might be witnessing the
reinvention of the computer.
How do we define the reinvention or turning point. A
re-invention must go through three goes through
three stages of acceptance. The first is the “it will not
work” stage. IBM's top computer designer, Gene
Amdahl, believed that it is not feasible to use
thousands of processors to solve one practical
problems. His skepticism was described in his famous
“Amdahl's Law.” In 1989, 64,000 processors to
forecast the weather was considered impossible. The
second is the “even if it works it will not be useful.”
Seymour Cray, founder of the largest supercomputer
manufacturing company argued that thousands of
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The Answer Has Changed
weak processors will not work as well as a handful of
powerful vector processors. Finally, the re-invention
gains acceptance and those who rejected it reclaims it
as “it was our idea.”
The turning point was the discovery that 65,000 of
the weakest processors work faster together than the
most powerful vector processors. It was this discovery
that inspired supercomputer manufacturers to
incorporate thousands of processors in their
machines.
During a 20th anniversary alumni reunion, a father
decided to audit a supercomputer programming
course he previously took. That day, the professor
decided to give a surprise quiz. After reading over the
test, the father raised his hand, looking upset he
queried:
“These are the same questions you gave me as a
student.”
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The Answer Has Changed
“That's true,” said the professor.
“The questions are the same, but the answers are
different,” he continued with a chuckle.
“How can that be?” the visitor queried.
“The supercomputer has been reinvented, the
question is been directed to the 65,000-processor
supercomputer and the answers have changed.”
The visitor nodded his head in agreement and
conceded. The answer to the question “Who invented
the supercomputer?” changes each time the
supercomputer is reinvented. Because the computer
has been reinvented over and over, the answers have
changed over and over.
Take for example, the supercomputers of the 1940s
which were powered by one processor. The
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The Answer Has Changed
supercomputers of the 1990s were reinvented and
powered by up to 65,000 processors.
The question: “How do you program a
supercomputer?” will have a different answer in 1970
and 1990. In 1970, the computer weather forecast was
executed on a one-processor supercomputer. Today,
the Earth’s atmosphere is divided and re-distributed
to thousands of processors.
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The Answer Has Changed
The above teletype model 33 keyboard and punch tape
terminal was the first “computer” that Emeagwali
programmed in 1974. It was invented in 1962 but used
thru the 1970s as input and output devices for
mainframe computers.
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Emeagwali took his first computer programming
course in 1974 at Western Oregon University (Photo:
Philip Emeagwali, March 28, 1974)
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The Universal Timeline of Computing
Timeline of Computing
469 B.C. The oldest computing equipment, the
Abacus, invented in China.
An Abacus computing equipment
200 B.C. The water clock invented in the Nile
Valley of Africa. This technology inspired the
development of early computers.
100 A.D. Mathematician Heron describes the first
sequence control, a technique that made it possible
to predict an output for a given input which, in turn,
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laid the foundation for computer programming or the
prediction of an output for a given input.
476 A.D. The number zero introduced by Indian
mathematician Aryabhatta. The Internet and a
supercomputer only understand two numbers: 0 and
1.
800 A.D. Muhammed idn Musa Al-Khwarizmi
publishes his influential book Al-jabr wa'l
muqabalah. The words “Al-Khwarizmi” and “Al-jabr
wa'l” were corrupted to algorithm and algebra,
respectively.
1398 The word "compotystes" is coined by the
writer Trevisa to describe a person that calculates
time. It corrupted to “computer.”
1621 The second oldest computing equipment, the
slide rule, is invented.
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1922 Lewis Richardson wrote that “64,000
computers would be needed to race the weather for
the whole globe.” In 1975, Emeagwali theorized the
latter as an interconnected HyperBall
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supercomputer, which is roughly equivalent to the
Internet, but implemented it as a hypercube in 1987.
1946 The supercomputer was invented as a single
electronic computer.
1970s The Internet was invented as a dozen
interconnected supercomputers around the United
States.
1980s The Internet was reinvented as millions of
interconnected computers around the world.
1990 The supercomputer was reinvented as
thousands of interconnected computers.
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Orations for Emeagwali
A Commencement Oration
Son of Africa,
supercomputer pioneer,
a visionary father of the Internet,
we honor you.
We heed Kwame Nkrumah’s warning that,
“socialism without science is void”
in honoring you
for crowning Africa
with shining scientific discoveries.
Nnamdi Azikiwe said,
“Originality is the essence
of true scholarship.
Creativity is the soul
of the true scholar.”
You exemplify both.
Your discovery
inspired the reinvention
of computers into supercomputers
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and helped spawn the Internet.
You discovered a formula
that enables supercomputers
powered by 65,000 electronic brains
called "processors"
to perform
the world’s fastest calculations.
You theorized
that 65,000 computers around the Earth
could forecast the weather.
This theoretical supercomputer,
with 65,000 nodes,
is known today as the Internet.
For the audacity
of your theorized Internet,
the book “History of the Internet”
and CNN called you
“a father of the Internet.”
You reformulated
Newton’s Second Law of Motion
as 18 equations and algorithms;
then as 24 million algebraic equations;
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and finally
you programmed
and executed those equations
on 65,000 processors
at a speed of 3.1 billion calculations per second
to solve one of the twenty
most computation-intensive scientific problems.
Your 65,000 processors,
24 million equations
and 3.1 billion calculations
were three world records
that garnered international headlines,
made mathematicians rejoice,
and caused your fellow Africans
to beam with pride.
When you won
the 1989 Gordon Bell prize,
the “Nobel Prize of Supercomputing,”
then-president Bill Clinton called you,
“one of the great minds of the Information Age.”
The New African magazine readers
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ranked you as
history's greatest scientist
of African descent.
Mr. Chancellor,
for his groundbreaking discoveries
and for the sheer force of his mind,
I ask you
to confer
the degree of Doctor of Science,
honoris causa,
upon PHILIP EMEAGWALI.
Excerpted from a commencement oration delivered
by a university president in June 2005.
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Clinton Extols Emeagwali as a “Great Mind”
Excerpted from a televised speech delivered by Bill
Clinton (as president) on August 26, 2000. © The
White House
One of the great minds of the Information Age is a
Nigerian American named Philip Emeagwali. He had
to leave school because his parents couldn't pay the
fees. He lived in a refugee camp during your civil war.
He won a scholarship to university and went on to
invent a formula that lets computers make 3.1 billion
calculations per second. (Applause.) Some people call
him the Bill Gates of Africa. (Laughter and applause.)
But what I want to say to you is there is another Philip
Emeagwali -- or hundreds of them -- or thousands of
them -- growing up in Nigeria today. I thought about
it when I was driving in from the airport and then
driving around to my appointments, looking into the
face of children. You never know what potential is in
their mind and in their heart; what imagination they
have; what they have already thought of and dreamed
of that may be locked in because they don't have the
means to take it out.
That's really what education is. It's our responsibility
to make sure all your children have the chance to live
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their dreams so that you don't miss the benefit of their
contributions and neither does the rest of the world.
It's in our interest in America to reach out to the 98
percent of the human race that has never connected to
the Internet.
Bill Clinton walking towards the National Assembly of Nigeria
with his daughter, Chelsea, in Abuja, Nigeria August 26, 2000 to
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deliver speech in which he extolled Philip Emeagwali “as one of
the great minds of the Information Age.”
Bill Clinton in Abuja, Nigeria.
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Ikenga for Philip Emeagwali
By OBU UDEOZO, 14th February, 2002
our landscape is a catwalk of songs;
praise singing explodes
on every tongue.
trumpets and cymbals
more sonorous than April thunder
escort long drums and flutes
in their intoxicated tunes.
our native land
is a glow with melodies …
nno, aka ikenga
elephants float
on your right thumb
to compel the spotlight upon us;
truth cracked
after your tessellated models
tore the digital divide:
their fresh Ayatollah of malice;
truth cracked,
when your chicken over oxen theory
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defied the deified Seymour Cray
to deliver the crown of science
upon the African Sun
this hemisphere
is a Christmas of trumpets
our laughter season.
God who planted
the onyx stone of Gad
within us,
is redeeming that pledge
of our sunrise.
II.
our folks
are summoned
across the four winds
for a steaming fiesta
over Chineke's smile upon us;
so,
aka Ikenga
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astride the surrealist oche ekwu
may courtiers rain you comfort
with peacock feathers.
our fatherland
is drunk with songs.
what Psalms
shall we engineer
for him who
beyond seven seas and seven terrains
captured the daybreak of foreign gods.
your Papacy in science
radiates in alien tongues.
what algorithms
of dance steps
shall unravel
this immanence of our race?
Philip Emeagwali,
your Madison Square Garden feat
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over fractious fraternity
at the hot horizons of knowledge
redeemed the millennial eclipse
of our ravaged soul.
III.
your connection machine,
and honey-combed logic
in massive parallelism
awoke drybones
our God's gift
which vindicates Nwagu Aneke
that the children of Cush
shall outshine the first born;
but they slapped
conspiracy across your paths,
padlocks and platinum gates
saluted your dreams.
yet your Chi
lit your anointed breath
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for the Onitsha pilgrim
whose pocket betrayed
even at home
to pluck the gold medal
of the computer age;
a tale Bill Clinton
sprayed to a world agape;
a sugared tale in our innocent ears …
your trainloads of prizes
and caravan of honours
across the globe
a dizzying statistic
that at last,
God has poured
His Sovereign Spirit
upon all flesh.
our current godlike mode
of fecundity and genius
across the globe
is God's incomprehensible equity
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upon all mankind;
whether Black or Yellow or Blue …
Philip Emeagwali,
aka Ikenga
astride the surrealist oche ekwu
may courtiers slake your thirst
with divine wine.
mythic king
of our bloodline
we polish our music with lightening
and erect anthems
sky high
at our Maker's altar for a wonder child
and proof
that the lamb and leopard
shall chew divine grass
in Mount Zion
at the appointed feast
of our
Christ and Redeemer King.
- Amen -
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OBU UDEOZO is a professional painter, poet and
clinical psychologist. He lives in Jos, Nigeria.
The ikenga statue is found in sacred shrines of the
Igbo-speaking people of southeastern Nigeria. The
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ikenga is believed to possess a protective spirit and
provides success and achievement. The word "ikenga"
translates to "man's life force" or "place of strength."
Emeagwali Had An Idea
By Wina Marche @2002
Dr. Emeagwali had an idea.
to him it was very clear
that bees planned and constructed
honeycombs that can't be obstructed
by inefficiency. So, he thought
a computer made that way ought
to be powerful, efficient, fast.
It was and better that the past!
His 65,000 processors fit a design,
you might say, that bees would divine.
3.1 Billions per second calculations!
To the Doctor citations and acclamations!
His world's fastest computer now
predicts the weather's when, and how.
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We'll know of future global warming
and when and where the earth is storming
Dr. Philip, how does he do this?
Wouldn't it be intellectual bliss
to have a similar needed skill
and be the first person to fill
a world wide technological need!
Father helped Dr. Philip to succeed.
Father's decision when Philip was age
nine was worthy of a genius or sage.
His decision- Philip would every day
solve 100 math problems - no work, no play.
Today Philip believes the daily drills
increased his mediocre math skills.
We should salute his father's decision
that shaped a mind for creative precision.
Father Emeagwali was a visionary
who understood the "necessary".
1989, for Philip was the year,
the outstanding year, of his career.
He won the Gordon Bell Prize, known
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as the Nobel of computing. A milestone
his supercomputer invention, helps the field
of petroleum by a better gas yield
and will eventually lower gas costs
thus less unrecovered gasoline losts.
Dr. Emeagwali's computer invention
may some day mean more attention,
power, for personal computer users
with more options and more choosers.
He is husband, father, achiever
research scientist, a modern believer
in technology, and the hope for more
young students to open the computing door.
Wina Marche is the author of "Poetry of AfricanAmerican Invention."
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King god Philip Emeagwali
- A "Living Hero Moment"
Hoteph Beloved Ones:
Ancestral greetings, blessings, loving, and light
throughout all creations and above.
King god Philip Emeagwali
Because of the honor you give to the Afrikan Carbon
Family, because of the progress that you seek, because
of your resolution to lead the Afrikan people back to
their righteous mind-set not abandoning them there,
because of the seen and unseen power in you, you fall
into the position of "A Living Hero," and this is the
moment.
King god Emeagwali helped give birth to the
supercomputer, the technology that spawned the
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Internet.
King god Philip Emeagwali is credited for inventing a
formula that allows supercomputers powered by
thousands of processors to perform billions of
calculations per second -- a discovery that made
international headlines and inspired the reinvention
of supercomputers.
The supercomputer comprises of thousands of
networked computers and the Internet also comprises
of millions of networked computers. The
supercomputer spawned the Internet.
Emeagwali's 1970s hypothesis on 64,000 networked
computers around the Earth led to his programming
of 64,000 processors inside a big box to perform 3.1
billion calculations per second, a world record in
1989. For the latter achievement, he won the 1989
Gordon Bell Prize, which is the “Nobel prize of
supercomputing.”
Born in 1954 in a remote Nigerian village, Emeagwali
was declared a child math prodigy. His father
nurtured his skill with daily arithmetic drills. In 1967,
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the civil war in his country forced him to drop out of
school at age twelve. When he turned fourteen, he was
conscripted into the Biafran army. After the war
ended, he completed his high school equivalency by
self-study and came to the United States on a
mathematics scholarship at age nineteen.
emeagwali.com
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emeagwali.info
emeagwali.ws
As true Afrikan Queen goddesses, it is our duty to
eloquently equip our Afrikan King gods/Queen
goddesses with the most vital and essential tools and
weapons that will strengthen our Afrikan male/female
Warriors on the Front-line.
The eloquent words from the Queen goddesses lips,
are to:
encourage
equip
motivate
For Iron Sharpens Iron.
A nation will rise no higher than its woman, and the
profound eloquent words from the Queen goddesses
lips to a Warrior (male/female) lighten his/her load,
which frees him/her up to do battle.
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King god
Philip Emeagwali, as you enter any
room, may your presence always have the appearance
of a gazelle, like a Stag on the mountain.
May the wisdom that comes forth from your lips, from
your heart, a love which consumes with fire for the
Afrikan Carbon Family, terrify
nations, and shake kingdoms with truth.
I plea with you Mighty Warrior
Philip Emeagwali.
Let no people, place or thing, cause you to miscarry or
abort your mission.
Carry your mission to its full term. I plea with you My
Beloved brother
Philip Emeagwali to do nothing
to cause an interruption for your love for the Afrikan
Family.
I do not need to look for you among the flocks of other
men.
To you My Beloved brother
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Philip Emeagwali,
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continue to, excite the hearts, souls, and mind of the
people (with truth) like a mare excites the stallions of
Pharaoh's chariots.
I plea with you Mighty Warrior
Philip Emeagwali,
to continue to ride on in majestic to victory for the
defense of truth and justice. Your strength will win us
great victories, and Afrika Will BE BORN AGAIN.
Afrika is for the Afrikans.
May these words continue to fill you with energy,
power, and Spirit for the struggles to come, and there
are many.
For if we get tired of racing against men (oppressors),
how can we race against horses. If we cannot stand up
in open country (america/Diaspora), how will we
manage in the jungle (Afrika). Many have joined in
the attacks against us. Let harmony (which confuse
the enemy), with understanding be the shield that
protects you.
I know a King god when I see one, and I know how
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and when to BOW.
King god Philip Emeagwali
I AM my brothers and sisters Keeper.
Honorable Marcus Garvey. Up! Up! You mighty ones.
You can accomplish what you WILL.
And, WE WILL WIN. WE WILL WIN. WE WILL
WIN.
I KNIGHT ALL Mighty Warriors with the only tools
and weapons I have, and that is the power and
weapon of Eloquent Words.
I speak to you from THEE Frontier of THEE Future
on THEE Outskirts of THEE City of Eternity, and
from THEE Chambers of Thee Holies of Holies, where
Spiritual secrets resides.
Afrika! Afrika! Afrika! Afrika! Afrika! Afrika! Afrika!
Afrika! Afrika!
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Here is loving you.
Hoteph
goddess IsIs Akkebal/Iya of Afrika (Holy Spirit
lover)
Mother of ALL Goddesses
Goddess Of Afrika
Being THEE Change THEE World Needs To See
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E PLURIBUS UNUM
A Father of the Internet, Philip Emeagwali
By Margaret Aghadiuno @2003
Once a refugee standing on long lines awaiting his
meal,
Sleeping in bombed-out shelters, willing himself to
survive war,
From logarithms and slide rules to batches of punch
cards,
Emeagwali learned the Fortran lingo at the speed of
light;
Propelled by an ethereal sense of vocation and vision,
Demonstrating like a lion his proclivity to seek
and to conquer those challenges most abstruse and
exacting,
With bold, daring, unprecedented and intrepid
thinking;
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Denied funds and easy access to research facilities,
Ostensibly because his research was not deemed
"serious"
By those who failed to see his scintillating
accomplishments,
He tapped deeply into the unmapped boundaries of
science;
Treated less than an equal, working without pay or
perquisite,
Doors were constantly shut by those surprised he was
not white,
The tanned color of his skin condemned by peers as a
stigma,
With belief in the putative ignorance of Africa;
He took the thorny path to dispel the myth of error,
Their aberration of a science genius from Africa;
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Where others found a wall replete with obfuscating
visions,
He unravelled an untapped vastness of possibilities;
With sedulous focus, perception and unique
enterprise,
A lone, assiduous research into the matrix of science,
He beat the odds to break all the barriers of time,
space and depth,
With only his wife Dale's unwavering belief in her
Philip;
Building on Richardson's fantasy on human
computers,
He simulated and surpassed the computational speed
of the elite supercomputers once placed out of his
reach,
With revolutionary equations deemed "impossible";
He harnessed the power of 65,000 processors,
To perform the fastest computations ever known to
man,
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Billions and billions of calculations per second he
solved,
For which feat Emeagwali received the Gordon Bell
prize;
With genius unparalleled since Einstein, Newton,
Equiano,
He extrapolated the mystery of constellations,
From observing the natural geometries and patterns,
In the efficient construction of bees' honeycombs;
He extended the barriers of interference and
diffraction,
and expanded the vectorial form of Navier-Stokes
equations,
Resolving heuristical arguments and algorithms,
Momentum equations, convective motions, Cray’s
polemic;
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Like a soaring eagle he continues his path to glory;
Undeterred by bias, rejection or discrimination,
He developed the theory of a computer hyperball,
With his tessellated models for parallel computing,
And the counter-intuitive hypercube paradox,
Mass equations, helicity, chirality, dualityHe unified the laws of nature, physics and geology
Testament to a great mind that defies imagination;
A father of the internet, and a true son of the earth,
He's the apotheosis of modern African genius.
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Margaret Aghadiuno is a linguist, poet and writer.
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Oscar Winner Denzel Washington Implored to
Star as Emeagwali
Open Letter by a Screen Writer.
Hollywood, September 22, 2003
Washington (right) earned Oscars and starred in the films
“Training Day,” “Glory,” “Philadelphia,” “The Manchurian
Candidate,” “Malcolm X” and “The Hurricane.”
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Dear Mr. Washington:
My name is Tiana Boulet. I am writing you because I
think this project deserves someone with the
magnitude of your talent and the stature of your
celebrity. Please bear with me. I don't think you'll
regret it.
When I read this man's story, I cried for him, for me,
for people of color, and for anyone who has felt
oppressed by injustice and discrimination.
I'll call our protagonist Emmy. Emmy was raised in
Nigeria, with eight siblings. His family subsisted on a
dollar a day. At age 15 he had to drop out of school
because the family was too poor to continue his
education. He was conscripted into the army as a
child soldier to fight the Biafran civil war. His father
was brutally beaten simply for possessing a
newspaper that the Biafran's viewed as being
subversive.
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Emmy was motivated by poverty, and his
environment, to value education, because he saw it as
his only way out. This view was likely fostered by his
father, whose edict was: "No work, no play, 100 math
problems a day."
Emmy took a high school equivalency test, and the
SAT test to enter college.
He passed with high scores. He took a correspondence
course at the University of London, because they
charged no tuition. Securing a scholarship, he decided
he wanted to be educated in the United States.
He ended up taking computer science, and was stuck
with the tedious task, relegated to him by others not
wanting to do it, of programming mainframe
computers. Stuck in this tedious job, he became
expert at it.
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Within the next five years he developed a
mathematical formula to string 64,000 far flung
computer processors around the earth to forecast the
weather globally. He was inspired by a meteorologist,
Lewis Frye Richardson (1881-1953), who had
fantasized 64,000 human computers (or clerks)
networked around the globe to predict the weather.
Even Frye considered his idea science fiction. Emmy
was born within the year after Frye died, but Emmy
believed he could make it possible by designing a
scheme to use electronic computers.
Oh, did I forget to tell you that Emmy's college
classmates gave him the nickname "Calculus," and
that the 100 math problems his father gave him had to
be done in one hour, programming his mind to be
razor sharp and lightning swift.
Emmy felt that if his mind could be programmed to
make calculations so swiftly, he could program
computers to make calculations even faster, for the
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desired effect he wanted. That's where he got the idea
to accelerate computer speed by duplicating many
times over the traditional way a computer works.
Traditionally, a computer has one processor and one
memory. But Emmy used 64,000 processors, each
with a memory of its own, thereby, enormously
accelerating computer speed to a record 3.1 billion
calculations per second.
What would this mean in the world of computing? It
meant naysayers had been proved wrong, and this
unlikely experimenter, whose ideas had been frowned
on and labeled impractical, ridiculous, and frivolous,
had risen above the condescension of the
traditionalist elitist, and was demonstrating what they
were saying was impossible–-that 64,000 computers
could be tied together. Today, 64,000,000 computers
are tied together. It meant that Emmy had solved one
of the 20 most difficult problems in the computing
field. It meant that now supercomputers could
network worldwide, with a brevity and speed that
would transform the world. It meant a radical change
of thought and application for computer scientists and
giant computer companies, and is now the standard
technology for supercomputers (costing 30 to 100
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million dollars a piece), and this technology will
eventually extrapolate to the personal computer
sitting on your desk. It meant that multimillionaire
computer entrepreneurs, and anyone collaterally
earning their millions with computers–-such as the
Petroleum Industry--can do so more efficiently.
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While the computer scientist were laughing at Emmy,
claiming his formula must be flawed, or he must be
mistaken in his calculations, Emmy had developed an
international network that was tantamount to, and
predated, the World Wide Web. But it was
unrecognized–-an idea before its time-–and
dismissed as trivial. Now, though, he's experimenting
on a World Wide Brain, that will futuristically eclipse
the World Wide Web.
Since 1989, when Emmy won the Gordon Bell Prize,
the computer science world's Nobel Prize, the
Business world is looking back at Emmy's global
network creation, and finally bestowing upon this
genius his deserved honor, and labeling him, "A
Father of the Internet."
As Emmy puts it, someone said that an overnight
success in Hollywood takes 15 years in the making.
Emmy said he spent five years being laughed at, five
years struggling without pay, and the next five years
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living off of $750 a month for research. He had
previously applied for research funding from IBM, but
had been denied.
During the years that Emmy was trying to convince
the world of what he had, and doors were continually
being closed to him. White computer scientists were
being supported, and advancing with that support.
Twenty-five years ago, for five years, he worked
unpaid for the United States National Weather Service
Research Laboratory, while white co-workers were
paid.
Now an IBM designer claims that he reinvented the
computer because he has used only four processors to
reach the 3.1 billion calculations per second. Wonder
where he got the idea!
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Emmy made an interesting point, he brought out what
minorities unilaterally know, the white authors are
paid to write about white people, because that's who
the white people want to hear about. In essence,
historians are paid not only for what they write about
history, but also for what they don't write.
In an interview with the National Society of Black
Engineers, Emmy was asked if he thought that the
connection between the words genius and computer
dissuade many blacks from going into that field
because they don't feel they are smart enough to do
that. Emmy said he would remind those people who
feel that they aren't smart enough, that the
mathematicians and famous inventors of the past
graduated at the bottom of their class, including Isaac
Newton and Albert Einstein.
Emmy's high speed processor formula is not limited
to the world of computers. At present, he is working
with petroleum companies, his formula allowing them
to "see" oil reserves, and giving them the ability to
extract more oil resources than was previously
possible.
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Unfortunately, advances in science and technology are
not always used for constructive reasons. In
December of 2000 Saddam Hussein sought to use
Emmy's invention to more accurately target his
seemingly innocuous war weapons–-Play Stations
loaded with germs for biological warfare.
I can't fully explain why I cried when I read his story,
except to say that when I was growing up, there was
relatively only one black face on television–-Bill
Cosby's, and there were no blacks on commercials.
The degree of invisibility in the media, and the
stereotypes conveyed when we did see ourselves was
traumatizing to the psyche. And what hurts even now,
is that even though blacks are highly represented on
commercials now, other minorities still aren't, and it's
excessively difficult for blacks and other minorities to
sell a screenplay. It seems discouragingly hopeless at
times. Thank you so much for doing Antwone Fisher,
and giving opportunity where there was none. What I
enjoyed most was the content of his character,
persevering in the face of adversity, and letting it mold
him into a better person.
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It's just good to know that there are people, right now,
today, using their gifts and abilities, in spite of the
misconceptions, jealousies, scathing criticisms,
hardships, and discrimination they face on a daily
basis.
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Biafran refugees fleeing in Umuahia Oct 1968. Emeagwali was a Biafran
refugee and child soldier.
People like these lift our moral and make the world
seem brighter. We need to know about them. Emmy, a
child prodigy, mathematical genius, civil-oceancoastal-marine engineer/astronomer, inventor, and
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his contribution to the world, deserves recognition. If
the rights can be procured, I would like to write his
story, and I would like you to play him. Will you?
If you'd like to know more about him, his name is
Philip Emeagwali, and his website is at:
Emeagwali.com. And if you'd like to see some of my
work, my website is at
http://www.geocities.com/tmboulet.
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Mr. & Mrs. Denzel Washington
Also, Mr. Washington, I'm an unknown aspiring
screenwriter, with just a high school education. So you
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may not want to trust me to handle such a project. I'm
not sure I trust myself. But even if you get someone
else to write Emmy's story, please do it. I think the
world would like to learn about, who some call, "the
black Bill Gates". I can't wait to see it!
I called him Emmy, because I read his story on his
website, and about six hours later, I was moved to
write you about it, but my internet service was
interrupted that same day, and I couldn't remember
how to spell his name, and couldn't get back on the
internet to find out. So, coming from memory, some
points could be inaccurate. I tried to faithfully convey
what I read on his site, but quite frankly, I'm
intellectually unable to comprehend some of the more
technical aspects. The breadth of this man's
achievements alone, run into eight pages. I hope, I've
encapsulated the essence of his achievements.
One night, years ago, I caught a movie a little after it
had begun, and I couldn't turn it off, because the
young black man on it was so fascinating. And even
though everyone on the movie was looking down on
him, his beautiful smile, and charismatic personality
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glittered. I thought, can't they see he's gorgeous,
charming, witty? He shines so brightly the world is
going to notice him. That was "Carbon Copy," and a
few years later you exploded on the scene. Just like I
could identify your talent when I saw it. I can identify
talent in myself, I just need someone to help me open
the door, so it can shine.
Thank you for reading this.
Sincerely,
Tiana Boulet
P.S.
Though you are the one that I would most like to play
this role, I'm going to have to ask others,
simultaneously as well, because I've written to other
actors about other screenplays in the past, and never
so much as received a response. It may never have
even gotten into their hands. So I can't wait for a
response from you that may never come.
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Webmistress’ Note:
The above is one of several letters, scripts and proposals we’ve
received from Hollywood and Nollywood. We are sharing this
letter to share our inside story with you.
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CHRONOLOGY - Emeagwali’s Eighteen Equations
1680 BC The African mathematician Ahmes wrote
the oldest mathematics textbook with solutions of
equation.
325 BC Euclid, “a father of geometry” was born in the
Valley of River Nile, Africa. He published The
Elements, the second most reprinted book in history.
800 AD Muhammed idn Musa Al-Khwarizmi
publishes his influential book Al-jabr wa'l
muqabalah. The words “Al-Khwarizmi” and “Al-jabr
wa'l” were corrupted to algorithm and algebra,
respectively.
1621 Johann Kepler’s “The Epitome of Copernican
Astronomer” banned by the Catholic Church.
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Kepler's laws of planetary motion laid the foundation
to the universal laws of motion.
1666 Sir Isaac Newton formulates the universal laws
of motion and gravitation and co-invented calculus.
1759 Leonhard Euler synthesized the techniques of
calculus and Newton’s Second Law of Motion to
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obtain the first partial differential equations
governing frictionless fluid flow.
1845 George Stokes improved upon Euler’s and
Navier’s (1822) work, by rederiving the Navier-Stokes
equations.
1856 Henry Darcy formulates "Darcy's Law," the
foundation of petroleum reservoir simulation.
1946 The modern electronic computer is invented,
making it practical to develop petroleum reservoir
simulators.
1989 Emeagwali reformulates Newton’s Second Law
of Motion as 18 equations and algorithms; then as 24
million algebraic equations; and finally programming
and executing those equations on 65,000 processors
at a world-record speed of 3.1 billion calculations per
second.
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Emeagwali discovered 18 equations and algorithms
for supercomputers. © emeagwali.com
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Reproductions of documents needed for student
projects including audio and video streams of
speeches and readings. Our goal is to develop an
interactive scrapbook that will be experienced rather
than consumed.
We also have rare photographs, rare memorabilia,
and facsimiles of handwritten mathematical equations
posted at http://emeagwali.com/photos/forpublishing.html.
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The Ant Nebula
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Photos
Photos
The Emeagwali Family
(L-R) Francis Ndaguba Emeagwali, Edith Chinwe
Emeagwali, James Nnaemeka Emeagwali, Martin
Ikemefuna Emeagwali, Agatha Iyanma Emeagwali,
Charles Emeagwali, Florence Onyeari Emeagwali,
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Photos
Philip Chukwurah Emeagwali (Agbor Street, Uromi,
Nigeria. December 24, 1962)
Emeagwali (in dark shirt and 2nd from right of last
row of five students) in his last year at a selective allboys catholic school. At the time this photo was
taken, the students in this photo also know Emeagwali
as “Calculus” because he was good in the subject and
considered a math whiz. This photo was taken about a
year after the Nigerian-Biafran civil war ended. The
harsh post-civil war economy forced many students to
drop out of school. Within shouting distance is the
residence of a young up-and-coming bishop named
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Photos
Francis Arinze. (Photo: Christ the King College,
Onitsha, Nigeria. 1971)
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Photos
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Photo taken at the time Emeagwali completed his
high school equivalency by self-study (i.e. passing the
entrance examination to the University of London),
obtaining near perfect scores in mathematics and
physics parts of the SAT and Achievement Tests, an
achievement that enabled him to come to the United
States on a mathematics scholarship at age nineteen.
[Emeagwali also studied for a year towards the
bachelors degree in mathematics as an external
student of the University of London but abandoned it
after he won a scholarship to the United States.]
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Photos
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Photos
Philip and Dale Emeagwali at the Gordon Bell Prize
award ceremony, Cathedral Hill Hotel, San
Franscisco, California. February 28, 1990. (Three
months later, the became proud couple parents to
their first child, Ijeoma. In 1996, Dale Emeagwali was
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Photos
voted the Scientist of the Year by the National
Technical Association for her contributions to cancer
research.)
Emeagwali in his supercomputing lab at which he
discovered that the power of thousands of processors
could be harnessed to solve the most difficult
problems in science and engineering, which were
described by the United States’ government as the “20
grand challenges.” (Photo from: Detroit Free Press,
Page 1E, May 29, 1990)
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Photos
Emeagwali and a hypercube supercomputer in the
background
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As a National Lecturer for the Association for
Computing Machinery and a Distinguished Visitor of
the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Computer Society, Emeagwali lectured in several
universities on his new 18 equations and algorithms
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Photos
(Photo: May 9, 1996, The Science Museum of
Minnesota, Saint Paul.)
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Poster Pack
Posters
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Poster Pack
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Poster Pack
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Poster Pack
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Poster Pack
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Poster Pack
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Poster Pack
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Poster Pack
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Poster Pack
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Poster Pack
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Poster Pack
Take a cybertour through our Internet historic website
which averages one million visitors a month!
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Poster Pack
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