Who Invented Large-Scale Algebra? | A Black Mathematician and His Invention | History of Mathematics

Who Invented Large-Scale Algebra? | A Black Mathematician and His Invention | History of Mathematics


TIME magazine called him
“the unsung hero behind the Internet.” CNN called him “A Father of the Internet.”
President Bill Clinton called him “one of the great minds of the Information
Age.” He has been voted history’s greatest scientist
of African descent. He is Philip Emeagwali.
He is coming to Trinidad and Tobago to launch the 2008 Kwame Ture lecture series
on Sunday June 8 at the JFK [John F. Kennedy] auditorium
UWI [The University of the West Indies] Saint Augustine 5 p.m.
The Emancipation Support Committee invites you to come and hear this inspirational
mind address the theme:
“Crossing New Frontiers to Conquer Today’s Challenges.”
This lecture is one you cannot afford to miss. Admission is free.
So be there on Sunday June 8 5 p.m.
at the JFK auditorium UWI St. Augustine. [Wild applause and cheering for 22 seconds] [Contributions of Philip Emeagwali to Algebra] The first automatic
and sequential processing supercomputer that was programmable
was invented in 1946. That first supercomputer
was invented to be programmed to solve
a large system of equations of algebra
that arose from the finite difference discretizations
of ordinary differential equations of modern calculus
that, in turn, encoded a set of laws of physics.
What made the sequential processing supercomputer of 1946 unique
was that it computed automatically and was, therefore, programmable.
Fast forward twenty-eight [28] years from that first supercomputer,
and to June 20, 1974, in Corvallis, Oregon,
and I was programming the first supercomputer
that could execute over one million instructions per second.
I used that first supercomputer to solve the largest-scale problems
arising in modern algebra. Fast forward fifteen [15] years,
and to the Fourth of July 1989, I was in a dozen supercomputer centers
across the United States and I was programming
the first massively parallel processing supercomputer that could execute
billions of calculations and execute them across
my ensemble of up to 65,536 tightly-coupled processors. [Why is Philip Emeagwali Famous?] My invention
of a new supercomputer put me in the news headlines
and in the June 20, 1990 issue of the Wall Street Journal.
I was the cover story of the June 1990 issue
of the SIAM News. The SIAM News
is the top mathematics publication and is published by
the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics.
The cover stories in the SIAM News report new inventions in mathematics
and they are written by research mathematicians
and written for research mathematicians. In the cover story of the SIAM News
of June 1990, it was reported that I—Philip Emeagwali—
had mathematically invented how to solve the toughest problems
arising in modern calculus and arising in extreme-scale algebra
and invented how to solve them across a new ensemble of 65,536
commonly available processors. I invented
how to use that new supercomputer to solve many problems at once
and to solve the largest-scaled problems arising in modern algebra. [Contributions of Philip Emeagwali to Physics] On the Fourth of July 1989,
the state-of-the-art of that toughest problem in modern algebra
was a system of 24 million equations of algebra
that arose from my finite difference discretizations
of a system of partial differential equations that I invented
that mathematically encoded a set of laws of physics
that governs the subterranean motions of crude oil, injected
water, and natural gas that flows one mile-deep
underneath the surface of the Earth and that flows from water injection wells
towards crude oil and natural gas production wells.
I visualized my new instrument of computational physics
as a new internet that I defined
as my new global network of 65,536 tightly-coupled
commodity-off-the-shelf processors with each processor
operating its own operating system and with each processor
having its own dedicated memory that shared nothing with each other.
I visualized my new internet as a new instrument
for solving the most extreme-scaled
problems arising in algebra and for solving them
as one seamless, cohesive unit that is a new supercomputer de facto.
The defining feature of my invention
of that new internet was that the new technology
enabled me to compute synchronously and to communicate automatically
and to do so via emails that I sent to and received from
two-to-power-sixteen sixteen-bit long email addresses.
Each of my 64 binary thousand email addresses
had no @ sign or dot com suffix. [Sometimes, the Impossible is Possible] Back in 1989,
no author of any mathematics textbook understood the concept of
solving many problems at once, or in parallel.
Back in 1989, Seymour Cray
was the spokesman for the supercomputer community.
If Seymour Cray’s granddaughter came to him for help
with her homework assignment on how to solve
many mathematical problems at once, Seymour Cray
would not have been able to help her
to solve her problem in parallel. The reason was that Seymour Cray
ardently believed that the supercomputer technology
that I invented that enables parallel processing across
my ensemble of 65,536 tightly-coupled processors
was impossible and science fiction. [Wild applause and cheering for 17 seconds] Insightful and brilliant lecture

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